Gang Leader for a Day

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, Feb 5, 2009 - Social Science - 320 pages
27 Reviews

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?

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RajivC - LibraryThing

This is a remarkable book, and i am glad that I picked it up. To start with, I am amazed by his courage, and his gumption. In breaking the rules, I think that he earned a lot. He also learned a lot ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theWallflower - LibraryThing

Non-fiction. I can't remember why I had this story on my "to-read" list in the first place, besides that maybe it was an intriguing idea. A sociologist entrenches himself in a Chicago gang and learns ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2009)

Sudhir Venkatesh spent a decade living with the Black Kings gang in Chicago's south side. His research later became famous in Freakonomics (Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?) He is now Professor of Sociology and African-American studies at Columbia University.