Gang Leader For A Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes To The Streets
ISBN: 014311493X
EAN13: 9780143114932
Language: English
Pages: 320
Dimensions: 0.8" H x 8.4" L x 5.5" W
Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Format: Paperback
Select Format Format: Paperback Select Conditions Condition: Good


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Book Overview

A New York Times Bestseller

Foreword by Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics

When first-year graduate student Sudhir Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he hoped to find a few people willing to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty--and impress his professors with his boldness. He never imagined that as a result of this assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade embedded inside the projects under JT's protection. From a privileged position of unprecedented access, Venkatesh observed JT and the rest of his gang as they operated their crack-selling business, made peace with their neighbors, evaded the law, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex hierarchical structure. Examining the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, and often corrupt struggle to survive in an urban war zone, Gang Leader for a Day also tells the story of the complicated friendship that develops between Venkatesh and JT--two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

Riveting.--The New York Times

Compelling. dramatic. Venkatesh gives readers a window into a way of life that few Americans understand.--Newsweek

An eye-opening account into an underserved city within the city.--Chicago Tribune Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (14)

  |   14  reviews
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   As a Chicago Native, This Book Intrigued Me
As a person who has lived in Chicago my whole life, this book was intriguing from the beginning. I still remember when the Robert Taylor houses were demolished and some of the tenants were displaced near my hometown of Skokie, so that learning about their previous life was fascinating and humbling. I drive for Uber in Chicago and when I talk to people, especially University of Chicago students, I usually recommend this book.
   fascinating and depressing
A sociology graduate student stumbles into a relationship with a mid-level manager in a growing corporation, not overly exciting. Thus opens an insight into how people actually survive in the ghetto. This book really opens one's eyes about how stacked the deck is and how humans adapt and survive. We should maybe unstack the deck a little? It is read by :
   True story
Though this is a true story, I think his naivity saved him from harm. His observations of life in the projects were interesting from a socio-political view. This is an interesting read definately.
   Read for Sociology Course; Hard one to set down
In fact, it is a non-fictional novel! Its story line is so important and paints each intuitive character with precision. What Sudhir Venkatesh intended to be an objective experiment in humanistic profiling turned into a demographic adventure where Sudhir forms many everlasting bonds.
If you wanna know what is like Gang Life, this is the book to look into. This experience of dude is something you are not going to find elsewhere.
   Five stars
As someone interested in poverty, gang and sociological research, I doubt that I could have found a more interesting read.
   One hell of a story
The story was sad, true, funny-the reality behind it was magnificent. The story was enjoyable for me. The book is a must read book - there was no disappointment.
   Amazing experience for aspiring Sociologists
This is an interesting writing for students of sociology who want an insight into writing narratives. Equally interesting is general reading, which appeals to anyone. It is an experience so different and we wonder how life has such distinct meanings for many. The book stands as a mirror into the lives of the depressed sections in the United States. At times, it is mighty frightening. There were places where the narrative seemed a little dragging. The book remains an incredible piece of art at the end, however. Sudhir, thank you for the wonderful work.
   You want to read this book. You need to read this book.
grew up next to this lifestyle and saw a great deal, so much was familiar. I wish that everyone could understand these truths about economic neighborhoods and how criminality is a career choice and a poor system. There are amazing businessmen in the Hood if you can look beyond the nature of business. Before you try to make policy or render aid, understand the lay of the land and the people you are trying to help.
   Felt like I was there
Sudhir was also naive and brave at the same time. The experiences he wrote about were rich in detail, especially when it came to those he met. I learned a lot about Robert Taylor Homes and the struggles that the tenants went through. And also the beauty that can come from such a sad situation. It reinforced the idea that the bad guys are not always good and the good guys are not always bad. There is a grey area filled with those who do what they must. I look forward to some of his other works ''.