Nasty, Brutish, and Short: The Lives of Gang Members in Canada

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James Lorimer & Company, Mar 27, 2012 - Social Science - 296 pages

An expert takes us inside the dark world of gangs in Canada.

Dr. Mark Totten has spent fifteen years learning all about these gangs and the young men and women who belong to them. He has interviewed over 500 gang members across the country, traced their lives from infancy to adulthood, and explored the roots of their involvement in crime and their reliance on violence.

Nasty, Brutish and Short offers a groundbreaking picture of the reality of gangs in Canada. Much of what Dr. Totten has to say is at odds with popular ideas. His research leads him to believe that breaking through the circumstances that produce young criminals is far more difficult than most people think. For most individuals caught up in gang life, exiting that world is next to impossible -- in fact, the most common way out is an early death from violence or suicide. This book opens the door on a way of life unknown to most Canadians.


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My brothers son recently joined a gang, We never understood why and once my wife handed me this book, I understood. Mined you, that my brother was abusive and such, I have no idea where my nephew is now,
But am hoping that one day he will understand that he can live better.

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Not only was this the most intriguing book I have ever read but it is full of such amazing facts and research! Koodos to mark Totten. I am a sociologist as well and have explored the life of gang members in Canada but not as well as Dr.Mark Totten has shown in his writings. Not only will this unleash an unknown world to living beings in Canada today, but It will open eyes and encourage the helpful to find the helpless. I Give this Five stars! 


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

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About the author (2012)

DR. MARK TOTTEN's research focuses on gangs, sexual exploitation and trafficking, crime prevention, mental health, child maltreatment and family violence, bullying and harassment, corrections and policing, and gender identity. He has worked on eight major studies in this area during the past fifteen years, in research funded by public agencies like the Department of Justice Canada and the National Crime Prevention Centre. Many of his projects involve partnerships with Aboriginal and ethno-racial communities.

In 2011-2012, he collaborated with groups in Ontario and Western Canada in the development and evaluation of multi-year gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies.

Mark Totten is past Director of Research at the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (1987-2007) and has worked with high-risk children, youth, adults, and families for over thirty years. A well-known expert witness for both Crown and Defence Counsel on gangs and criminal subculture, he has written many books, academic articles, and government reports, including Guys, Gangs and Girlfriend Abuse (2000), When Children Kill: A Social-Psychological Study on Youth Homicide (2002), and Promising Practices for Addressing Youth Involvement in Gangs (2008).

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