Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Gang Leader For A Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes To The Streets"

Gang Leader For A Day by Sudhir Venkatesh is just awesome!! Sudhir tells the story of J.T., a Chicago gang leader of the BK's, the project that they run and the people in the projects that their lives are affected by. It's just so fascinating!! You will get hooked on page 1 and will find it hard to put it down. I hated to see it end. This is a must read book for sure.

Gang Leader For a Day by Sudhir Venkatesch is a fascinating book about a sociology student doing research in a low-income project in Chicago to find out how it feels to be black and poor and how they survive. He started with a questionnaire, but after getting laughed at and challenged to hang out with the people and see how things are, he abandons his questionnaires and hangs out with a gang for several years. This is non-fiction, based on actual experiences of the author who also talked to others in the community to find out their view of the gang and how they live. The funniest part was when J.T., the gang leader let the author be the gang leader for a day so he would find it wasn't at all as easy as he thought and his respect and admiration for J.T. increased. It was surprising to see that the gang was actually a well-run drug business. It's primary purpose was selling cocaine and keeping "peace" in the neighborhood, not fighting with other gangs or stirring up trouble. Whenever there was a fight or someone would get hurt, no one ever called the cops. They'd call on the gang members for help instead. No ambulance would go to the projects.

It gives insight into the role gangs play in the neighborhood, how community leaders cooperate with the gangs, how hopeless some peoples' lives can be and the ineffectiveness of the police and government agencies. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see how life in the low-income projects is, at least in some places. Very educational and a good read!

 (Karen's Review 4/24/08: Fascinating, Educational, great insight)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I have to say that this does sound really interesting. I wouldn't mind reading it. In fact, I think I'll check-out a copy from the library. Thanks for the tip :)


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