Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
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... show more
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 "The achievement of Gang Leader for a Day is to give the dry statistics a raw, beating heart." --The Boston Globe "A rich portrait of the urban poor, drawn not from statistics but from viivd tales of their lives and his, and how they intertwined." --The Economist "A sensative, sympathetic, unpatronizing portrayal of lives that are ususally ignored or lumped into ill-defined stereotype." --Finanical Times
Publish date: December 30th 2008
Pages no: 320
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, Social Issues
So wow. Still important look at living in the "projects". Part of the entertainment is watching the author be brave enough to chronicle his own mistakes in his study, but it is a great in depth look.
first covered in Freakonomics, Venkatesh is a grad student who wandered into a top Chicago crack gang and then ended up covering their story over seven years. incisively written, a good ending, and nice unity of prose.knew a u/chicago guy who once allowed a gang member to sleep over in the lounge fi...
This is a really good overview of gang life in Chicago's projects and of the political and social corruption that exist all over Chicago to this day.I recommend this book to everyone - especially people who grew up privileged and sheltered, and people who say ignorant things like "you should have to...
I liked this book, even though it was extremely distressing. It left me with a powerful and lingering sense of "Now what?" I plan to read more about other housing projects and then see what I can do to get involved.
I got this for a class I'm taking with Professor Venkatesh. We only read the first three chapters for class, so I figure I'll read the rest once the semester's over. What I read so far, though, was very, very good.Also, so far his class is great.