Plot summary[ edit ] The novel begins with a quote from Anabasis upon which the novel is based. Throughout the novel, the character Junior reads a comic book version of the story. It is the evening of July 4. Gangs from all over the city, signaled by a Beatles song on the radio, head to the meeting place at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
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Yurick was fascinated by the fact that tough governments have been able to stamp out political movements but have not been able to wipe out gangs. Yurick interviewed many New York gang members and observed their activities. He found that some gangs stretched back generations. There were gangs in New York of every ethnic type ranging from those that are very small to those that have several hundred members.
At this point in Anabasis, a mercenary Greek army found themselves stranded thousands of miles from the sea, surrounded by rivals.
Yurick felt that this forced march was an essential element for his gang story. A Guggenheim Fellow, Yurick has written for many major magazines and taught in various universities. The Warriors has parallells with his earlier book, Fertig, about a system of shared blame and institutions.
The book was rejected 27 times before being published. If you have never read The Warriors by Sol Yurick, do it. The movie is only very loosely based on the book and adds a great deal of things that were not included in the book, such as the fights with all the different gangs of the city. In fact, after the meeting in the Bronx, only the run-in with the Orphans has a parallel in the book except they are a Puerto Rican gang called the Borinquen Blazers.
In the book the cops are the biggest barrier the gang faces in getting back to Coney. The essence of the story is the same as the book in that it follows a group of seven gang members from the Coney Island Dominators on their way up to Van Cortlandt Park for a meeting called by Ismael Rivera of the Delancey Thrones. The gang members attending the conclave get restless, start fighting, and someone shoots Ismael causing everyone to flee. The novel follows the Dominators in their struggle to get home but gives a large focus on one gang member in particular, Hinton, who is similar to the character of Rembrandt in the movie.
However, unlike the movie, the Dominators never get framed for the murder and are simply battling and struggling to make their way home through enemy territory which is full of cops. The character of Ajax in the movie is the equivalent of Lunkface in the book and is perhaps the character that most resembles their literary counterpart.
Let me give you some examples: In the book The Dominators hide out in the graveyard after escaping the conclave just like The Warriors, but in the book many of them are scared about being in the graveyard and worry about the ground opening them up around them or that they will be attacked by ghosts.
In another pivotal part of the book, one of the characters gets separated from the rest of the gang and finds himself in the subway playing the Sheriff shooting duel arcade game determined to beat it to prove how strong he is and to show that he can fight just as good as the other members of his street family.
In the movie, the Sheriff game can be seen in the background in one of the subway scenes Yurick believes that Hill had actually filmed the scene but then later cut it and there are production photos evidencing this. Again, when you see this in the movie you will always remember the scene depicted in the book.
The Youth Board also play a large role in the book. The book is certainly a deep resource of material for fans of the movie and also answers some of the questions most frequently asked by fans such as why the gang did not drive or get a lift home and why they did not just take their colours off.
This latter point is contested at several times throughout the book by lower rank members of the gang who are worried that it makes them an easy target. Hector, who plays the equivalent of Swan, insisted that they keep their badges on to show their solidarity and because every cop or gang would come down on them regardless.
As evidenced by the afterword in the book, Yurick was never happy about how the movie turned out, despite it being a sell-out success, as it never reflected his story. Having read the book and seen the movie I can see why he felt that way.
Yurick spent many hours spying on gangs from a hired beat-up panel van that he drilled holes in so he could see and overhear how real gangs in the city behaved so had good first hand experience as to how Cyrus would have perhaps spoke. The Warriors by Sol Yurick is a more realistic portrayal of how the movie would have played out in real life. Yurick also frames his book with two quotes from Anabasis by Xenophon which is the book he read that gave him the inspiration for The Warriors.
In the afterword Yurick also muses that the movie everyone knows and loves was nearly never made as he was less than 24 hours away from signing the movie rights to another producer that wanted to create a movie version that almost exactly followed the events of the book. At the eleventh hour Lawrence Gordon offered a more lucrative deal so Yurick took it.
If you view the book as a companion to the movie that fills in a lot of gaps and that provides a lot more background to the gang and its members, then I think you will almost certainly enjoy it. I did. How does it compare to the movie? Other than what I have outlined above, the novel is far more gritty and is a more realistic tale of urban life in New York City in the s.
The movie elects to use some things from the novel such as the radio DJ and the lines of command in each gang, but it omits many things. The book is called The Warriors as this is the collective name Yurick gave to all the gangs in the city.
They pinned their ensignia to their hats a Mercedes Benz 3-point star pin. All the gang members are of black, Puerto-Rican and hispanic descent.
There were seven members on the expedition and not nine. Vermin was second-in-command, Ajax third. Cleon was not killed but made it back to Coney ahead of the rest of the gang. The Warriors were more violent and killed and raped on their journey. Their journey closely follows the New York map. Many gangs brought guns and weapons to the conclave and were fighting.
Cyrus was shot twice. They called their Youth Board worker to give them a lift. They waited for him to arrive, got jittery and left. There was a replacement bus service but it was too busy due to races at Yonkers. The Warriors showed The Orphans newspaper clippings and not the other way around.
There are seven members of the gang in the novel and they all assume positions in a family.