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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Journey Into the Projects
Some time ago The Economist ran an article about the market for drugs, describing the sophisticated marketing strategies adopted by sellers - entry level products, loss leaders, special offers - in order to reel in the punters. Only at the end did the piece carry the reminder that oh, by the way, all of this is also illegal.

In a reversal of the process, Sudhir...
Published on 20 July 2008 by Steve Keen

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I find it difficult to believe that someone involved in a masters program in sociology could have such a shallow and unworldly view of the people he is researching or should that be exploiting. This book says little and says it simply - The Corner and The Wire cover the same ground in a more challenging and apparently insightful manner.
Published on 20 Feb 2009 by Woodjay


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4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you are studying Sociology!, 27 July 2010
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day (Paperback)
This book has been read by Sociology teachers and set for work on research methods but it is appealing to the general reader who is interested in the less sensational aspects of gang life. The writer seems very naive in his work, but he does demonstrate the ethical and practical dilemmas of research and he makes it more than accessible to non-specialist readers. If you are looking to be outraged and and you want a thrill a minute, this is not the book for you. If you want a (perhaps slightly dated) look at the underlying social fabric of gang life, it's an informative start. It is, I feel, of greater interest to the would-be sociologist than the general reader, but if you are studying any social science it's a very good background read. Don't think though, that research in this country would be undertaken in the same way. I'm amazed at the hands off attitude of his tutors and the non-systematic nature of his research.
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5.0 out of 5 stars review of 'gang leader for a day', 5 Dec 2009
By 
Ms. Carly J. Skillett (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day (Paperback)
very interesting and thought provoking read. in depth study with real-life being put very much into perspective!
highly recommended
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an eye-opener! Totally compelling, 2 Sep 2008
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line (Hardcover)
At the beginning of `Gang leader for a Day', Sudhir Venkatesh is an incredibly naive Sociology student with a great deal of curiosity. Becoming frustrated with the dryness of his chosen subject and wanting to focus on `people' rather than statistics, he heads into the Chicago projects with a backpack full of questionnaires to go through with gang members. With what we later learn, he was lucky he wasn't killed. Sudhir meets the charismatic gang leader, JT, who for whatever reason takes him under his wing and gives him privileged access to life in the projects and gang activity (he does appear to think that Sudhir is writing his biography which might be why he is so co-operative.) Sudhir goes on to mix with the gang and other people in the projects for several years, becoming a trusted sounding-board for many.

This was an absolutely incredible book. Not only do we meet interesting people and learn how they cope with such a brutal way of life; we also learn about the role of the researcher and the way they interact with the subjects of their research. There are times when Sudhir admits to being naive or when he feels uneasy that he has stept over a line and all this is included in the book. One of the most eye-opening things for me was the section about the writing group that Sudhir set up for young women. To hear some of the stories and what these women do to survive was incredible. I could be incredibly naive, but the chapter about the Police was pretty shocking too.

I thought this was a wonderful book. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 1 Aug 2014
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day (Paperback)
Brought as a good read for personal statement.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 Feb 2009
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line (Hardcover)
I find it difficult to believe that someone involved in a masters program in sociology could have such a shallow and unworldly view of the people he is researching or should that be exploiting. This book says little and says it simply - The Corner and The Wire cover the same ground in a more challenging and apparently insightful manner.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two sittings, 21 April 2008
I read this in two sittings. Need I say more! An excellent insight into life in the projects - and a compelling read too.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it in Freakanomics, 20 April 2009
By 
susie (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day (Paperback)
Anyone who has ever watched The Wire : Complete HBO Season 1 [DVD] will recognise the street scenes described in Gang Leader for a Day - just swap Baltimore for Chicago. There's drug dealing, prostitution, fixers and gang wars. It's not the ideal place for a middle class student to spend his days and, like other reviewers have mentioned, I cannot believe how incredibly naive Venkatesh was. I am convinced that there is more information that he knows which he hasn't shared with his readership for fear of incriminating himself/others.
While it gives a great insight into life in the projects in America and is a good, quick read, it is all a bit too neat. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, the book that first highlighted this research, is a much better read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely astonishing, 18 Mar 2008
By 
Bamber (Manchester) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line (Hardcover)
One of those books that manages to change the way you see the world around you. Not to be missed.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An extremely naive book, 26 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line (Hardcover)
I was disappointed with this book, it wasn't even as good as Freakonomics. Sudhir comes across as extremely naive both on entering the projects and even after spending time with them. Its very thin on documentary evidence (like the often discussed gang's full accounts) and its unpleasant to read of Sudhir's complacence in certain situations. Watch a few Al Pacino films instead, you'll learn more about gangs and in a less sycophantic way.
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Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Crosses the Line by Sudhir Venkatesh (Hardcover - 7 Feb 2008)
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