Cerebral Shangrila

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Gang leader for a Day - Book Review

Its one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. In fact I still consider it too incredulous to be true.

Sudhir Venkatesh, now a professor of Sociology at Columbia University, writes about the years he spent as a research student in the slums of Chicago studying crime, gangs and poverty ( amongst black people). I first heard of Sudhir when I read the book " Freakonomics".

In this book, he recounts the seven years he spent at the Robert Taylor homes project and his friendship with J.T ( A gang leader) and his gang.
The book is riveting, with never a dull moment, and is an honest assessment of the ground realities in the poor slums of Chicago. The characterization is excellent, the tone is neither condescending nor salutory and the author grabs you by your collar deep into the lives of gang wars and poverty.

I still think the tale is too good to be true.

P.S : Its amazing that a Vegetarian survived for seven years, practically living every day in that slum !

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  • Hi,

    Sudhir's account of the time he spent in the Ghetto's in Chicago were part of the book Freakanomics. For sure it was interesting to read that chapter in that book. Look forward to reading the book.


    By Blogger Sriram, at 5:37 AM  

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