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Dead End Kids: Gang Girls and the Boys They Know Paperback – September 25, 2000


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Dead End Kids: Gang Girls and the Boys They Know + Youth Gangs in American Society
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299158845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299158842
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As this strong but flawed study of gang girls in Kansas City shows, gangs are as pervasive and dangerous in the heartland as on the coasts. Fleisher's street ethnography follows the life of a girl called Cara over several years, but 38 other "major players" move in and out of Cara's life, and the sheer number clouds the narrative. Gang girls are usually from lower socioeconomic backgrounds; were often abused as children, then by male gang members as young adults; and live lives shattered by drugs, assaults, unplanned pregnancies and sporadic police contact. The author hung around with gang members, listening, recording and trying to tiptoe the line between objective observer and sympathetic participant. His accomplishment as a researcher is impressive. The best street ethnographies, however, like Elliott Liebow's Tally's Corner, have been more selective in presentation of material. Tragedies are emotionally diluted for readers after the same victimization occurs to a girl seven times. Also, conversations transcribed in dialect seem forced and phonetic word spellings become intrusive at times. Fortunately, the author's skill as a researcher consistently prevails. A final chapter advances the methodology of street ethnography and places the study in a broader perspective. Fleisher, a cultural anthropologist, criminal ethnographer and former administrator in the Federal Bureau of Prisons who now teaches criminal justice sciences at Illinois State, clearly cares about his subjects. When he writes, "What truly matters to me is the actual resolution of these problems and the material improvement of kids' lives," it is believable.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ethnographer Fleisher spent a year hanging out with the Fremont Hustlers, a youth gang in Kansas City, Missouri, recording their comings and goings for this interesting look at gang culture. Fleisher focuses on the girls who form the social center of the gang. Openly carrying a tape recorder and notebook, Fleisher slowly won acceptance that led members to reveal troubled family backgrounds, the organization of the gang's drug trade, the topography of their turf and battles, and their painful personal struggles. With an entree provided by Cara and Wendy, teenage girls involved with gang members, Fleisher was able to make himself a part of the "chill house," home base of drug dealing and gang activity. Fleisher's firsthand account is right there when the Fremont Hustlers prepare to face down a rival gang, a threat that never materializes but brings Fleisher closer to gang members. He aptly describes the economic and social pressures that contribute to gang formation, youth violence, teen pregnancy, and other social ills plaguing U.S. cities. Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By skipper on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I write this review merely to respond to allegations that Fleisher is irresponsible. First of all, before you make that claim, enroll in one sociology course. Research like this is vital to understanding how humans operate, and without such research (not just about gangs, but about many aspects of life) policy recommendations would not be accurate, and problems would not be addressed appropriately. Had Fleisher reported all of the crimes that occurred during his time there, his research would have ended. As it is, there is very little research done on girls in gangs. Second, if you had completed the book, you would have seen that Fleisher did have a friend report what he saw with Amy and RoniRo (p 247 -- second full paragraph.) Third, he didn't approve of the gang girls choices to sell drugs -- he said he understood it. Granted that is a choice that most people cannot understand, but after witnessing all that he did, how can you blame him for being disenfranchised?

Clearly, much more research needs to be done on girls in gangs, as this was a study confined to one city. But Fleisher has done a fabulous job explaining the motivations and lifestyles of girls in Kansas City, and purported to do nothing more. Before you so harshly criticize a writer, please make sure that you fully understand what you are discussing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I rarely ever come across "page turners" when it comes to reading sociology works -- but I was not able to put Dead End Kids down. This book is a real gem because it does two great things -- 1) puts one rawly in touch with other's lives, and 2) sets forth social policy suggestions based on the research. Having stumbled across this book in the library by random, I now plan to reading more of Fleisher's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Next Generation on November 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The author handled the situations almost perfectly and I applaud him for that. Being a reformed gang member I was suprised that he even got these kid to trust him enough not to think he was the feds. People complain about how he allowed them to smoke and deal drugs but if he had tried to stop them he would have been dead.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By marcuse on June 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you feel the author of this book was irresponsible, then you have something coming. Go to college and understand how important research like this is. Then you will understand why is was important for him to preserve the culture in order to study it. The whole pretense of research, especially an ethnography, is that people trust you so you can study the truth and show your findings to the rest of the world. He found a lot in this research and this wouldn't have happened if he "told" on them.
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