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Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streetsby Sudhir Venkatesh
Synopses & Reviews
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
First introduced in "Freakonomics," here is the full story of Sudhir Venkatesh, the sociology graduate student who infiltrated one of Chicago's most notorious gangs.
In this "riveting"(The New York Times) work of nonfiction, a sociologist infiltrates the world of Chicago's crack-dealing gangs
First presented in Freakonomics, the story of a young sociologist who embedded himself in Chicago's most notorious gang and captured the world's attention. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh gained entrance into the lives of a group of drug-dealers and went on to witness-and participate in-events that have rarely been described in print. A brazen, page-turning, and fundamentally honest view of the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in an urban war zone, it is also an emotional and complicated look at the friendship that develops between the sociologist and a gang leader, two ambitious men a universe apart.
About the Author
Sudhir Venkatesh is professor of sociology and African American studies at Columbia University. His writings, stories, and documentaries have appeared in The American Prospect, and on PBS and National Public Radio’s This American Life.
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