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Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation, and Youth Violence are Changing America's Suburbs Hardcover – June 30, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As a media-stoked panic about immigrant youth gangs flared across the U.S. in the 1990s, national violent crime rates were actually plummeting, suggesting that reports of internationally networked Central American gangs invading idyllic American suburbs masked more than it revealed. Moreover, the image anticipated the post-9/11 panic over foreign terror cells that dovetailed with a renewed backlash against undocumented Latino immigrants. In this engrossing case study of suburban gangs in Long Island's Nassau County, investigative journalist Garland demystifies the sensationalist rhetoric and simplistic media coverage stemming from the economic and demographic transformation of suburbia. Garland humanizes her subject through long-term, in-depth interviews with current and former gang members; extensive footwork across the U.S. and Central America; and a formidable command of relevant foreign and public policy decisions. While offering a detailed look inside such notorious gangs as Mara Salvatrucha and its self-styled affiliates, Garland makes a persuasive case that her subjects' attraction to gang life had less to do with what gangs offered than with what America did not. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Sarah Garland has reported on crime and immigration for the New York Times, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, and the Village Voice. Originally from Kentucky, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 18 and up
  • Grade Level: 11 and up
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; 1 edition (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568584040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568584041
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,441,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ramos on July 15, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I was fairly impressed by how the author explained the combination of historical, economic, and cultural conditions that can propel young kids into the gang life. I was a teenager in El Salvador during the civil war years; and I vividly remember the frustration and anger of those who spent years fighting a war only to realize that better economic and educational opportunities would never materialize. The book does not fully address the ineffectiveness of Central American government to plan for the re-integration of former combatants or even displaced citizens into a new society. Most post-war Central American governments were immediately concerned with rebuilding entire financial system, improving technical infrastructures, and competing in a new globalized world. It was not surprising that government were less concerned with the immediate needs for societal development.

You will get more out of the book if you don't expect a comprehensive analysis of the socio-economic and geopolitical conditions that contributed to the proliferation of criminal gang enterprises in the US or in Latin America. However, the book does a decent job in two areas. First, it humanizes the gang problem with a number of anecdotal episodes that illustrate the sad, tragic and violent lives of gang members. Second, it reiterates the fact that the gang problem is a difficult one to resolve. That is because reforms to current immigration and political issues would be difficult to address in a political climate where there is a growing number of competing priorities. Also, the author explains that there must be true multilateral efforts among governments because this is no longer a regional but a growing global concern.
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By Dan Fenner on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The author portrays various gang members and troubled teens in great detail, giving us the chance to understand just how the teenagers end up in such difficult situations. I enjoyed the book very much.
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By Yolanda Ballantyne on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those people who would like to understand why and how youngsters get involved in gangs, this is a must-read book. I found it to be informative.
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