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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

30 Day Writer's Challenge | Day 17

"High octane," "an eye-opening experience," "through sheer persistence, [Venkatesh] unravels a complex, intertwined system of political and economic relationships."   ---The New York Times
"This new book offers an exceptionally intimate, sometimes revelatory view of life in the projects."  ---Salon.com
"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 
   I am only half way through this book and I must say, it is incredibly eye opening.  This man takes a complete leap of faith into a world completely different from his own.  He interjects himself into a world that is dangerous to outsiders, but to those inside, it's their way of life.
Sudhir Venkatesh is a sociology student at the Univesity of Chicago.  He is asked by one of his professors to help him do research on disenfranchised populations.  The sociological view of gangs.  Instead he becomes "involved" with a local gang and while being led around by the leader, he compiles this amazing book.  Yes, there is still drug involvement.  But the book discusses how  a community that is lacking any sort of police assistance - or any assistance at all - benefits from the gang's business involvement.  At a basic level, it's all about how a community helps everyone.
This is a book I have to read for my Criminology class.  At first, I was thinking it was going to be a book quoting studies and jibber jabber.  Instead, it is filled with Sudhir's day to day life and his involvement with the Black Kings.  It's outstanding.  It has definitely challenged me to think more about certain lifestyles before I judge them.
I challenge everyone to read this and hopefully gain an inside perspective of a "gang" community.

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