Gang Leader for a Day: Book summary and reviews of Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

Gang Leader for a Day

A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

by Sudhir Venkatesh

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh X
Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
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Book Summary

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.

In Hollywood-speak, Gang Leader for a Day is The Wire meets Harvard University. It's a brazen, page turning, and fundamentally honest view into the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in what is tantamount to anurban war zone. It is also the story of a complicated friendship between Sudhir and JT-two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Venkatesh writes of his harrowing, exhilarating fieldwork with the great pride and insatiable curiosity of a seasoned news reporter. A dark, revealing expose." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Gang Leader for a Day is not another voyeuristic look into the supposedly tawdry, disorganized life of the black poor. Venkatesh entered the Chicago gang world at the height of the crack epidemic and what he found was a tightly organized community, held together by friendship and compassion as well as force. I couldn't stop reading, and ended up loving this brave, reckless young scholar, as well as the gang leader J.T., who has to be one of the greatest characters ever to emerge from something that could be called sociological research." - Barbara Ehrenreich.

"Gang Leader for a Day is an absolutely incredible book. Sudhir Venkatesh's memoir of his years observing life in Chicago's inner city is a book unlike any other I have read, equal parts comedy and tragedy. How is it that a naive suburban kid ends up running a crack gang (if only for a day) on his way to becoming one of the world's leading scholars? You have to read it to find out, but heed this warning: don't pick up the book unless you have a few hours to spare because I promise you will not be able to put it down once you start." - Steven D. Levitt, co-author, Freakonomics.

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