Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line
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 entrée into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.
Sudhir Venkatesh, while a graduate student in sociology, accidentally finds himself befriending a gang leader, JT, at the height of the crack epidemic. The gang leader gives him an unprecented look at both life in the gang, and life in the projects for everyone where it is a majo ...more
However, he brought up a lot of important issues but m ...more
And the title—“Gang Leader for a Day”—makes it sound like you’r ...more
It's a fascinating peak into "real people" in the Robert Taylor housing projects, and it would be depressing (so many instances in which people accept such horrible injustice as just t ...more
There are several points that made this book ridiculous:
1. There is a strong current of homoeroticism between Sudhir and JT that is unresolved and clouds his ability to view JT and his work objectively
The book presents an enthralling inside look at life in Chicago's now defunct Robert Taylor Homes during the height of the crack epidemic of the late 80s to mid 90s. The primary focus is on the author's almost unfettered access to the Black Kings (a street gang resp ...more
Good cops. Bad cops. Drugs. Prostitution. Building Maintenance. Gang Turf. Soul Food. This book has it all. Through his experiences Mr. Professor paints a picture of the realities of what it means to live in the projects, how it feels to be black in a ne ...more
I can hear all the academic minded screaming "NO, NO, NO" you cannot become a part of what you are studying. To them I say this book is a shining example of wh ...more
Gang Leader for a Day is a gritty read - not for the gentle of heart - yet it is very accessible and easy to read, though you won’t want to plow through it in one sitting. It provides just what the back blurb promises: a look into the Chicago Projects and into a world most of us literally cannot imagine - nor would most of us want to. You’l ...more
What do people know about the people who lived there? Almost nothing.
People in America need to know more about the lives of poor people. In this book, Sudhir Venkatesh recounts his six years of spending time with gang leaders, community leaders, and families at the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago. He stumbles into his situation by encountering a group of young black men in ...more
Unlike most sociologists, Venkatesh values the personal story over the story of data. That might make him a "bad" sociologist, but it offers the average reader honest insight into what is one of the most misunderstood aspects of American socioeconomics: the urban housing projects. If, like me, you didn't grow ...more
One of the most popular chapters in Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's book Freakonomics centers on the economics of a Chicago street gang. So you can imagine people were excited when they got word of Gan ...more
When Sudhir Venkatesh arrives at the University of Chicago to work on a PhD in sociology, he decides to leave Hyde Park and "go exploring" in the Projects. He ends up pulled into studying in very close detail the lives of gang members, hustlers, pros ...more
His most recent book is Gang Leader for a Day (Penguin Press). Gang Leader received a Best Book award from The Economist, and is currently being translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, Italian, Polish, French and Portuguese. His previous wor ...more
Share This Book
Oh Yeah?" he said, handing me one of the beers. "What else you going to do? You can't fix nothing , you never worked a day in your life. The only thing you know how to do is hang out with niggers like us."
I nearly choked on my beer when he summarized my capacities so succinctly - and, for the most part accurately.”