Gang Leader for a Day

Sudhir Venkatesh, Author, Stephen J. Dubner, Read by, Reg Rogers, Read by , read by Reg Rogers. HarperAudio $34.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-157113-8

In the late 1980s and 1990s, “rogue sociologist” Venkatesh infiltrated the world of tenant and gang life in Chicago's Robert Taylor Home projects. He found a complex system of compromises and subsistence that makes life (barely) manageable. Venkatesh excellently illustrates the resourcefulness of impoverished communities in contrast to a society that has virtually abandoned them. He also reveals the symbiotic relationship between the community and the gangs that helps sustain each. Reg Rogers reads with great emphasis and rhythm. His lilting, cadence and vocal characterization of tenants is enjoyable. Rogers's first-person narrative establishes a deep intimacy with the reader. Venkatesh reads the final chapter, but he lacks the subtly and nuance that Rogers projects throughout his reading. The insubstantial author interview on the last disc mostly covers material already discussed in the book. Simultaneous release with the Penguin Press hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 5, 2007). (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 01/01/2008
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-162922-8
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Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-162923-5
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