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

by Penguin Books

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  • Penguin Books
  • 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

    "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 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--was published in September
    2013 by Penguin Press


    Bestsellers in African-American & Black