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2 Burnside American Studies- Gangs

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

by

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets Cover

ISBN13: 9781594201509
ISBN10: 1594201501
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Sudhir Venkatesh's work was featured prominently in Freakonomics; here his research is fleshed out and humanized, telling his remarkable and unusual story. For seven years, Venkatesh was granted unprecedented access to one of Chicago's most notorious gangs, the Black Kings, taking notes, doing interviews, and even looking at their account records. Although his naïveté is almost unbelievable at times (he grew up in a very sheltered environment), Venkatesh's bravery and honesty were his ticket to the innermost circles of the workings of this drug operation. A sociological study like no other, Gang Leader for a Day is a fascinating glimpse into an illegal world that is not so different from the world of legitimate businesses. (Note: if you're a fan of the first season of The Wire, this book is definitely not to be missed.)
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics, Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh managed to gain entre into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment. When Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty.

A first-year grad student hoping to impress his professors with his boldness, he never imagined that as a result of the assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under JT's protection, documenting what he saw there. Over the next seven years, Venkatesh got to know the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials. From his privileged position of unprecedented access, he observed JT and the rest of the gang as they operated their crack-selling business, conducted PR within their community, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex organizational structure.

In Hollywood-speak, Gang Leader for a Day is The Wire meets Harvard University. It's a brazen, page turning, and fundamentally honest view into the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in what is tantamount to an urban war zone. It is also the story of a complicated friendship between Sudhir and JT — two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

Review:

"Venkatesh's research provides groundbreaking insights into the corporate-like hierarchy of drug dealers." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Although riveting, Mr. Venkatesh's venture into rogue sociology counts as something of a period piece." New York Times

Review:

"Venkatesh writes of his harrowing, exhilarating fieldwork with the great pride and insatiable curiosity of a seasoned news reporter. A dark, revealing expose." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Gang Leader for a Day is not another voyeuristic look into the supposedly tawdry, disorganized life of the black poor. Venkatesh entered the Chicago gang world at the height of the crack epidemic and what he found was a tightly organized community, held together by friendship and compassion as well as force. I couldn't stop reading, and ended up loving this brave, reckless young scholar, as well as the gang leader J.T., who has to be one of the greatest characters ever to emerge from something that could be called sociological research." Barbara Ehrenreich

Review:

"Gang Leader for a Day is an absolutely incredible book. Sudhir Venkatesh's memoir of his years observing life in Chicago's inner city is a book unlike any other I have read, equal parts comedy and tragedy. How is it that a naive suburban kid ends up running a crack gang (if only for a day) on his way to becoming one of the world's leading scholars? You have to read it to find out, but heed this warning: don't pick up the book unless you have a few hours to spare because I promise you will not be able to put it down once you start." Steven D. Levitt, co-author, Freakonomics

Review:

"This extraordinary book features the fascinating research of a brilliant young sociologist. Sudhir Venkatesh spent several years closely interacting with crack-selling gang members and struggling poor residents in a large and very dangerous public housing project in Chicago. His riveting portrait of day-to-day life in this poor community, including the challenges confronting parents in a drug-infested and violent social environment, is disturbing. But, Gang Leader for a Day is rich with original information and insights on poor families, drug dealers and even the police. It will leave an indelible impression on readers." William Julius Wilson, Harvard University Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser Professor

Review:

"Whether you enjoy fiction, history, or biography you'll be drawn to Venkatesh's gripping retelling of his experiences in the Robert Taylor Homes. Gang Leader for a Day poignantly reminds us that there continue to be separate and unequal Americas that ultimately impact us all." Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

First introduced in Freakonomics, here is the full story of Sudhir Venkatesh, the sociology grad student who infiltrated one of Chicago's most notorious gangs

The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh managed to gain entrance into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

When Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty. A first-year grad student hoping to impress his professors with his boldness, he never imagined that as a result of the assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under JT's protection, documenting what he saw there.

Over the next seven years, Venkatesh got to know the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials. From his privileged position of unprecedented access, he observed JT and the rest of the gang as they operated their crack-selling business, conducted PR within their community, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex organizational structure.

In Hollywood-speak, Gang Leader for a Day is The Wire meets Harvard University. It's a brazen, page turning, and fundamentally honest view into the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in what is tantamount to an urban war zone. It is also the story of a complicated friendship between Sudhir and JT-two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

Synopsis:

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 Chicagos 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 JTs 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 gangs 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

Sudhir Venkateshs latest book Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New Yorks Underground Economy--a memoir of sociological investigation revealing the true face of Americas most diverse city--was published in September 2013 by The Penguin Press

 

 

About the Author

Sudhir Venkatesh is professor of sociology and African American Studies at Columbia University in New York. He has written extensively about American poverty. He is currently working on a project comparing the urban poor in France and the United States. His writings, stories, and documentaries have appeared in The American Prospect, This American Life, the Source, and on PBS and National Public Radio.

Table of Contents

Gang Leader for a Day Foreword by Stephen J. Dubner

Preface

One: How Does It Feel to be Black and Poor?

Two: First Days on Federal Street

Three: Someone to Watch Over Me

Four: Gang Leader for a Day

Five: Ms. Bailey's Neighborhood

Six: The Hustler and the Hustled

Seven: Black and Blue

Eight: The Stay-Together Gang

Author's Note

Acknowledgments

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Deborah Fochler, February 17, 2008 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
A riveting account of one young mans entry into the gangs which are so prevalent in our society today. A must read for every parent, teacher and young person.
If we are ever to rid our society of this needless violence, we must first understand why our children find this lifestyle so appealing. You must understand the problem before you can solve it. This book raises as many questions as it answers but it is truly riveting.
A "I cant bear to read but I have to" book. This young man needs to be congratulated on such an undertaking; this book has the potential to save many lives if people will use this knowledge to save our children from a life on the streets.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594201509
Subtitle:
A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
Author:
Venkatesh, Sudhir
Publisher:
Penguin Press HC, The
Subject:
Social Scientists & Psychologists
Subject:
Gangs
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Sociologists
Subject:
Criminology
Subject:
Sociology - Urban
Subject:
Scientists & Psychologists
Subject:
Gangs -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Subject:
Chicago (Ill.) Social conditions.
Subject:
Biography-Sociologists
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20080110
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.54x6.56x1.08 in. 1.22 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Gangs
History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime
History and Social Science » Sociology » Gangs
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets Used Hardcover
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$15.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594201509 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Sudhir Venkatesh's work was featured prominently in Freakonomics; here his research is fleshed out and humanized, telling his remarkable and unusual story. For seven years, Venkatesh was granted unprecedented access to one of Chicago's most notorious gangs, the Black Kings, taking notes, doing interviews, and even looking at their account records. Although his naïveté is almost unbelievable at times (he grew up in a very sheltered environment), Venkatesh's bravery and honesty were his ticket to the innermost circles of the workings of this drug operation. A sociological study like no other, Gang Leader for a Day is a fascinating glimpse into an illegal world that is not so different from the world of legitimate businesses. (Note: if you're a fan of the first season of The Wire, this book is definitely not to be missed.)

"Review" by , "Venkatesh's research provides groundbreaking insights into the corporate-like hierarchy of drug dealers."
"Review" by , "Although riveting, Mr. Venkatesh's venture into rogue sociology counts as something of a period piece."
"Review" by , "Venkatesh writes of his harrowing, exhilarating fieldwork with the great pride and insatiable curiosity of a seasoned news reporter. A dark, revealing expose."
"Review" by , "Gang Leader for a Day is not another voyeuristic look into the supposedly tawdry, disorganized life of the black poor. Venkatesh entered the Chicago gang world at the height of the crack epidemic and what he found was a tightly organized community, held together by friendship and compassion as well as force. I couldn't stop reading, and ended up loving this brave, reckless young scholar, as well as the gang leader J.T., who has to be one of the greatest characters ever to emerge from something that could be called sociological research."
"Review" by , "Gang Leader for a Day is an absolutely incredible book. Sudhir Venkatesh's memoir of his years observing life in Chicago's inner city is a book unlike any other I have read, equal parts comedy and tragedy. How is it that a naive suburban kid ends up running a crack gang (if only for a day) on his way to becoming one of the world's leading scholars? You have to read it to find out, but heed this warning: don't pick up the book unless you have a few hours to spare because I promise you will not be able to put it down once you start."
"Review" by , "This extraordinary book features the fascinating research of a brilliant young sociologist. Sudhir Venkatesh spent several years closely interacting with crack-selling gang members and struggling poor residents in a large and very dangerous public housing project in Chicago. His riveting portrait of day-to-day life in this poor community, including the challenges confronting parents in a drug-infested and violent social environment, is disturbing. But, Gang Leader for a Day is rich with original information and insights on poor families, drug dealers and even the police. It will leave an indelible impression on readers."
"Review" by , "Whether you enjoy fiction, history, or biography you'll be drawn to Venkatesh's gripping retelling of his experiences in the Robert Taylor Homes. Gang Leader for a Day poignantly reminds us that there continue to be separate and unequal Americas that ultimately impact us all."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
First introduced in Freakonomics, here is the full story of Sudhir Venkatesh, the sociology grad student who infiltrated one of Chicago's most notorious gangs

The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh managed to gain entrance into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

When Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty. A first-year grad student hoping to impress his professors with his boldness, he never imagined that as a result of the assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under JT's protection, documenting what he saw there.

Over the next seven years, Venkatesh got to know the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials. From his privileged position of unprecedented access, he observed JT and the rest of the gang as they operated their crack-selling business, conducted PR within their community, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex organizational structure.

In Hollywood-speak, Gang Leader for a Day is The Wire meets Harvard University. It's a brazen, page turning, and fundamentally honest view into the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in what is tantamount to an urban war zone. It is also the story of a complicated friendship between Sudhir and JT-two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

"Synopsis" by ,
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 Chicagos 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 JTs 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 gangs 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

Sudhir Venkateshs latest book Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New Yorks Underground Economy--a memoir of sociological investigation revealing the true face of Americas most diverse city--was published in September 2013 by The Penguin Press

 

 

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