A New York Times Bestseller "A rich portrait of the urban poor, drawn not from statistics but from vivid tales of their lives and his, and how they intertwined." —The Economist "A sensitive, sympathetic, unpatronizing portrayal of lives that are ususally ignored or lumped into ill-defined stereotype." —Finanical Times 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. Sudhir Venkatesh’s latest book Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy—a memoir of sociological investigation revealing the true face of America’s most diverse city—is also published by Penguin Press.
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Sudhir Venkatesh the young sociologist who became famous in Freakonomics (Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?) describes his time living with the gangs on the Southside of Chicago and answers another question: what's it like to live in hell? In the Robert Taylor Homes projects on Chicago's South Side, Sudhir befriends J.T., a gang leader for the Black Kings. As he slowly gains J.T.'s trust, one day, in order to convince Sudhir of his own CEO-like qualities, J.T. makes him leader of the gang... Why does J.T. make his henchmen, the 'shorties', stay in school? What is the difference between a 'regular' hustler and a 'hype' - and is Peanut telling him the truth about which she is? And, when the FBI finally starts cracking down on the Black Kings, is it time to get out - or is it too late?
Sudhir Venkatesh the young sociologist who became famous in Freakonomics (Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?) describes his time living with the gangs on the Southside of Chicago and answers another question: what's it like to live in hell? In the Robert Taylor Homes projects on Chicago�s South Side, Sudhir befriends J.T., a gang leader for the Black Kings. As he slowly gains J.T.�s trust, one day, in order to convince Sudhir of his own CEO-like qualities, J.T. makes him leader of the gang... Why does J.T. make his henchmen, the �shorties�, stay in school? What is the difference between a �regular� hustler and a �hype� � and is Peanut telling him the truth about which she is? And, when the FBI finally starts cracking down on the Black Kings, is it time to get out � or is it too late?
The best-selling author of Gang Leader for a Day takes his next sociological study to Manhattan, where he travels through the underground economy utilized by prostitutes, madams, drug dealers, immigrants, hedge fund traders, hipster artists and nannies.
The overall goal of the research in this book was to understand gang phenomenon in the United States. In order to accomplish this goal, the author investigated gangs in different cities in order to understand what was similar in the way all gangs behaved and what was idiosyncratic to certain gangs. The research for this book took place over ten years and five months from 1978 to 1989 and will give the reader a comprehensive overview of gang behavior in the United States in that time period.
Joined by award-winning Mexican journalist Luis Nájera, leading organized-crime author Peter Edwards introduces a motley assortment of millennial bikers, gangsters and Mafia whose bloody trail of murders and schemes gone wrong led to the arrival in Canada of the world's most dangerous criminal organizations: the drug cartels of Mexico. A man watching the Euro Cup on a restaurant patio is shot dead on a busy Sunday afternoon in Toronto. Another dies in a sidewalk ambush just outside a bus-tling college campus. Two men in a Vancouver hotel lobby are gunned down in an attack that sends an American soccer star scrambling for cover. In Mexico, a Canadian is killed at a Nuevo Vallarta coffee shop, his death barely registering amidst the terrifying death tolls of President Calderón’s war on drugs and the cartels’ response; while a Montreal cop is beaten within an inch of his life in a Playa del Carmen nightclub. An infamous heckler from an NBA Toronto Raptors game turns up dead in a bullet-riddled car in a midtown lane-way. Throughout the 2010s, these and other disparate acts of violence entered the public awareness like iso-lated tragedies—but there was nothing isolated about them. In this masterly investigation, veteran journalists Peter Edwards and Luis Nájera introduce readers to the common cause of a near-decade of chaos. Meet the Wolfpack, millennial-aged gangsters from across the spectrum of Canada’s underworld. Vying to fast-track their way into the criminal void left by the death of Montreal godfather Vito Rizzuto, the Wolfpack sought advantage in a steady supply of cocaine from El Chapo Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel, among the deadliest and most far-reaching of criminal organizations. The juniors had just stepped into the big leagues. This is the roiling landscape of The Wolfpack, a brilliant examination of a time of criminal disruption and rapid adaptation, when one gang’s unchecked ambition unwittingly gave away the most hotly contested corner of the Canadian underworld without a fight. Brazen criminal disruptors or entitled upstarts looking to get rich without paying their dues--whatever you think of them, you will never forget the Wolfpack.
In this revelatory book, Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighborhood on Chicago's Southside, to explore the desperate and remarkable ways in which a community survives. The result is a dramatic narrative of individuals at work, and a rich portrait of a community. But while excavating the efforts of men and women to generate a basic livelihood for themselves and their families, Off the Books offers a devastating critique of the entrenched poverty that we so often ignore in America, and reveals how the underground economy is an inevitable response to the ghetto's appalling isolation from the rest of the country.
Herbert Asbury presents here a vivid and startling account of New York gangdom from its beginning in Revolutionary times to comparatively recent days. Here are the stories of the great gangs which terrorized the city and at times menaced its very existence—from the Bowery Boys and the Dead Rabbits to the Gophers and the Eastmans. Kid Dropper, Dopey Benny, Gyp the Blood and Owney Madden are a few of the gangster luminaries described, not to mention such female evildoers as Gallus Mag and Sadie the Goat. Nor have the underworld’s lesser lights been overlooked; for these pages are crowded with a host of gang warriors, pickpockets, tong leaders, murderers, politicians, gamblers, prostitutes, dive-keepers and a few would-be reformers. Mr. Asbury has created such a rich, factual background for this chronicle of crime and gangsterism that the book gains considerable stature as a revealing picture of New York City’s history through a century of frenzied growth and expansion. Whether you read it as such or merely for amusement, it is a swift, exciting experience.
Street gangs are a major concern for residents in many inner-city communities. However, gangs’ secretive and, at times, delinquent tendencies limit most people’s exposure to the realities of gang life. Based on eighteen months of qualitative research on the streets of Indianapolis, Real Gangstas provides a unique and intimate look at the lives of street gang members as they negotiate a dangerous peer environment in a major midwestern city. Timothy R. Lauger interviewed and observed a mix of fifty-five gang members, former gang members, and non-gang street offenders. He spent much of his fieldwork time in the company of a particular gang, the “Down for Whatever Boyz,” who allowed him to watch and record many of their day-to-day activities and conversations. Through this extensive research, Lauger is able to understand and explain the reasons for gang membership, including a chaotic family life, poverty, and the need for violent self-assertion in order to foster the creation of a personal identity. Although the book exposes many troubling aspects of gang life, it is not a simple descriptive or a sensationalistic account of urban despair and violence. Steeped in the tradition of analytical ethnography, the study develops a central theoretical argument: combinations of street gangs within cities shape individual gang member behavior within those urban settings. Within Indianapolis, members of rival gangs interact on a routine basis within an ambiguous and unstable environment. Participants believe that many of their contemporaries claiming gang affiliations are not actually “real” gang members, but instead are imposters who gain access to the advantages of gang membership through fraud and pretense. Consequently, the ability to discern “real” gang members—or to present oneself successfully as a real gang member—is a critical part of gangland Indianapolis. Real Gangstas offers an objective and fair characterization of active gang members, successfully balancing the seemingly conflicting idea that they generally seem like normal teenagers, yet are abnormally concerned with—and too often involved in—violence. Lauger takes readers to the edge of an actual gang conflict, providing a rare and up-close look at the troubling processes that facilitate hostility and violence.
An award-winning journalist’s dramatic account of a shooting that shook a community to its core, with important implications for the future On the last evening of summer in 2013, five shots rang out in a part of northeast Denver known as the Holly. Long a destination for African American families fleeing the Jim Crow South, the area had become an “invisible city” within a historically white metropolis. While shootings there weren’t uncommon, the identity of the shooter that night came as a shock. Terrance Roberts was a revered anti-gang activist. His attempts to bring peace to his community had won the accolades of both his neighbors and the state’s most important power brokers. Why had he just fired a gun? In The Holly, the award-winning Denver-based journalist Julian Rubinstein reconstructs the events that left a local gang member paralyzed and Roberts facing the possibility of life in prison. Much more than a crime story, The Holly is a multigenerational saga of race and politics that runs from the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter. With a cast that includes billionaires, elected officials, cops, developers, and street kids, the book explores the porous boundaries between a city’s elites and its most disadvantaged citizens. It also probes the fraught relationships between police, confidential informants, activists, gang members, and ex–gang members as they struggle to put their pasts behind them. In The Holly, we see how well-intentioned efforts to curb violence and improve neighborhoods can go badly awry, and we track the interactions of law enforcement with gang members who conceive of themselves as defenders of a neighborhood. When Roberts goes on trial, the city’s fault lines are fully exposed. In a time of national reckoning over race, policing, and the uses and abuses of power, Rubinstein offers a dramatic and humane illumination of what’s at stake.