"A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture", by John M. Hagedorn, Univ. Minnesota Press, MN 2008. ISBN 978-0-8166-5066-8, (HC) 198/143 pgs. 9 Chapters, Foreword(Mike Davis) 7 pgs., Intro. 12 pgs., Notes 36 pgs., Index 18 pgs. 9 1/4" x 6 1/4". Inveiglements are limited to "A Rose in the Cracks of Concrete" (a short one stanza poem), Chicago district map, 2 B&W ghetto photos.
Author is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Univ. Ill. & is previously published on the subject of gangs. This is a scholarly article, well researched, indexed and abundantly referenced on the broad subject of gangs, internationally, but with especial reference to those in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Capetown. The author explores the origin of gangs - how they evolved, becoming institutionalized gangs, Community-based, & then de-industrialized with Globalization and depression providing a worsening of economy wherein there is an ever-increasing loss of jobs and economic opportunities not helped by the current "Information Age". The author documents his observations with descriptions of the earliest Irish gangs in America (Chicago, New York, etc.) that formed strong political alliances with City mayors, Police Departments, etc. and eventually controlled cities and politics.
Throughout this work the author's theme is that gang's very existence arises largely on a racial basis (hence permanent) and only secondarily to other issues such as poverty. The author claims gangs are a reaction that includes anger and outrage to a cultural class struggle for personal edification or recognition, a home or turf, and economic survivability via jobs and wages - a reaction to social exclusionism or alienation. Specific details are provided on the Black Panther Party, AIG, BGD, the ALKQN, CLV, LSD, and SACs (HAA). Also, the author clarifies the essence of hip-hop and of gangsta rap and the need to understand certain cultures via their music to garner their outrage, directionless rage and urgency.
Unfortunately, the author seemingly advocates the alleviation of gang problems via socialistic means and appears to be excessively lenient with the Mara Salvatrucha/MS-13 - stating they are an American creation having fled to the US and are now trapped in barrios and merely doing what poor kids everywhere do and after getting into trouble are deported by U.S. immigration Service which the author feels is a violation of their basic human right to have a life free of terror and resist deportation.
Nonetheless, the book, taking pot shots at various elected officials for their strict on crime policies and attitudes, has a lot to offer - and Hagedorn argues for the need to provide recreation, education, jobs, and cultural programs more than prisons. The author embeds a dour note stating "the future of the world will be determined on the streets of our cities", that to me is a veiled threat to get our attention; and he concludes that he can only say `De mortuis nil nisi bonum,' something echoing from the Ivory Tower.