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?
New York is a city of highs and lows, where wealthy elites share the streets with desperate immigrants and destitute locals. Bridging this economic divide is New York’s underground economy, the invisible network of illicit transactions between rich and poor that secretly weaves together the whole city. Sudhir Venkatesh, acclaimed sociologist at Columbia University and author of Gang Leader for a Day, returns to the streets to connect the dots of New York’s divergent economic worlds and crack the code of the city’s underground economy. Based on Venkatesh’s interviews with prostitutes and socialites, immigrants and academics, high end drug bosses and street-level dealers, Floating City exposes the underground as the city’s true engine of social transformation and economic prosperity—revealing a wholly unprecedented vision of New York. A memoir of sociological investigation, Floating City draws from Venkatesh’s decade of research within the affluent communities of Upper East Side socialites and Midtown businessmen, the drug gangs of Harlem and the sex workers of Brooklyn, the artists of Tribeca and the escort services of Hell’s Kitchen. Venkatesh arrived in the city after his groundbreaking research in Chicago, where crime remained stubbornly local: gangs stuck to their housing projects and criminals stayed on their corners. But in Floating City, Venkatesh discovers that New York’s underground economy unites instead of divides inhabitants: a vast network of “off the books” transactions linking the high and low worlds of the city. Venkatesh shows how dealing in drugs and sex and undocumented labor bridges the conventional divides between rich and poor, unmasking a city knit together by the invisible threads of the underground economy. Venkatesh closely follows a dozen New Yorkers locked in the underground economy. His greatest guide is Shine, an African American drug boss based in Harlem who hopes to break into the elusive, upscale cocaine market. Without connections among wealthy whites, Shine undertakes an audacious campaign of self-reinvention, leaving behind the certainties of race and class with all the drive of the greatest entrepreneurs. As Shine explains to Venkatesh, “This is New York! We’re like hummingbirds, man. We go flower to flower. . . . Here, you need to float.” Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy chronicles Venkatesh’s decade of discovery and loss in the shifting terrain of New York, where research subjects might disappear suddenly and new allies emerge by chance, where close friends might reveal themselves to be criminals of the lowest order. Propelled by Venkatesh’s numerous interviews and firsthand research, Floating City at its heart is a story of one man struggling to understand a complex global city constantly in the throes of becoming.
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.
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.
"On the street with gangs in three world cities - Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, and Capetown - Hagedorn discovers that many of them have institutionalized as a strategy to confront a hopeless cycle of poverty, racism, and oppression. The mhilistic appeal of gangsta rap and its ethic of survival "by any means necessary," he argues, provides vital insights into the ideology and persistence of gangs around the world. Proposing how gangs can be encouraged to overcome their violent tendencies, Hagedorn appeals to community leaders to use the urgency, outrage, and resistance common to both gang life and hip-hop to bring gangs into broader movements for social justice."--BOOK JACKET.
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.
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.
This classic history of crime tells how Chicago’s underworld earned-and kept-its reputation. Recounting the lives of such notorious denizens as the original Mickey Finn, the mass murderer H. H. Holmes, and the three Car Barn Bandits, Asbury reveals life as it was lived in the criminal districts of the Levee, Hell’s Half-Acre, the Bad Lands, Little Cheyenne, Custom House Place, and the Black Hole. His description of Chicago’s infamous red light district-where the brothels boasted opulence unheard of before or since-vividly captures the wicked splendor that was Chicago. The Gangs of Chicago spans from the time “Slab Town” was settled to Prohibition days. The story of Chicago’s golden age of crime climaxes with a dramatic account of the careers of the “biggest of the Big Shots”: Big Jim Colosimo, Terrible Johnny Torrio, and the elusive Al Capone.