Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.95
  • Save: $6.61 (37%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Code of the Street: Decen... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Average used book. Guaranteed Shipping & World Class Customer Support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City Paperback – Abridged, September 17, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, Abridged
"Please retry"
$11.34
$8.00 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$16.99

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$11.34 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City
  • +
  • The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Total price: $24.14
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As sociologist Elijah Anderson shows in the detailed and devastating Code of the Street, the senseless crime in the inner city represents a complex, though ultimately self-defeating, set of social mores. These mores, called "codes," stress a hyperinflated sense of manhood through verbal boasts, drug selling, sexual prowess, and--ultimately--violence and death. "At the heart of the code is the issue of respect," Anderson writes, "loosely defined as being treated 'right' or being granted one's 'props' (or proper due) or the deference one deserves." Anderson reveals a world where unemployment is rampant, teenage pregnancy is common, and social and educational achievement is viewed as "acting white." Although Anderson states that racism is a major factor for this condition, he notes that this type of behavior is further exacerbated by modern economic and political forces, and that it has existed as far back as ancient Rome.

As an African American himself, Anderson moves through the middle- and lower-class Philadelphia neighborhoods with ease, interviewing a variety of subjects, all of whom deal daily with consequences of urban decay--from the high-achieving young woman who had to reject her poorer relatives to better herself, to the former delinquent who tries to go straight after returning from prison. For Anderson, these are the true heroes of Code of the Street: people who overcome the temptations of the streets to help create a better space for the next generation. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Not content to sugarcoat problems or to stockpile blame, Anderson (Streetwise and A Place on the Corner) takes a piercing look at the complex issues surrounding respect, social etiquette and family values in the multicultural neighborhoods along Philadelphia's Germantown Avenue. A major artery of the city, the street reflects the vast social and economic difficulties confronting many of the nation's urban centers. The book soars above other, similar studies when the author takes on the so-called "code of the street" in black areas. A journalist and professor of social sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, Anderson explores the differences between the "decent" families and the "street" families that form the spine of the communities, stressing the daily pressures that shape their choices and goals. He presents candid interviews with such residents as Diane, a principled single mom with four sons, battling valiantly to keep her family out of the trap of despair; Don, an aging gypsy cab driver and churchgoer; and Maggie, a dutiful mother who falls victim to drugs. Some of the book's most compelling chapters deal with the high cost of the drug culture and violence to the inhabitants of the inner city. Alternating between straightforward narrative and interviews, and without pandering to racial stereotypes, Anderson uncovers the confrontation between hard-working families struggling against tremendous odds to preserve their dreams of a better life for their children and the code of the streetA"the thug life"Athat is often the worst enemy of African-American communities. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Code of the Street
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (September 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393320782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393320787
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. S. Jones on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elijah Anderson has done an outstanding job of explaining the sociological, economic, and geographical factors that contribute to the mentality commonly seen among young men in the inner city and the violence that can emerge as a result.

As a young black man that grew up in a two parent home in suburban Maryland, I was extremely confused when I left my small town for middle school. It was there that I was first exposed to black children with less fortunate financial backgrounds, single parent homes, and low value of education and order. As Anderson explains, even in the suburban regions of Maryland adjacent to D.C. inner city attitudes, styles, trends, and even volatility can be seen in young blacks as a result of 'cultural diffusion'. A phenomenon which has a peculiar property of moving up the socioeconomic ladder in the black community.

What I appreciate about Mr. Anderson's book most is that it has finally helped me to answer the question of 'WHY', which has tormented me for almost 15 years. Why have I found myself to be different than many of my black peers as a young man and an adult when all I wanted was a good education, a good job, and to live a decent life. EVERY person, Black or White who has found themself glaring at the low socioeconomic black community and wondering what is wrong, or quoting Bill Cosby Rhetoric while watching a group of hoodlums bully any and everyone off of the sidewalk, or turning up your nose at a pregnant 19 year old girl yelling at her toddler as she mopes down the sidewalk... YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. Understanding is the beginning of dealing with what has become everyone's problem.
8 Comments 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a black man just in case many of you did not know this. I enjoy being a black man and would not want to be anything else. Of course I also love being autistic so yeah I'm weird. Anyways I have many friends of different ethnic backgrounds and they ask me to explain the inner city codes of the street. You need to know I am clueless about the inner city urban life of today. The inner city West Side Baltimore neighborhood of Rosemont that I called home over 50 years ago is not the ravaged war torn Rosemont that exists today. My inner city Rosemont childhood home was a strong mesh of neighbors who watched out for each other, owned our homes, had nice cars and children that knew and practiced respect with every adult they encountered. Drugs were somthing bad kids used in nasty neighborhoods we were insulated from experiencing when I grew up.

I grew up in nice places to volunteer and nice hospitals that took our private insurance. I went to hospitals filled with people like me who were autistic nerds and geeks who were clueless about society in general. About inner city urban street thug life and the mentally that goes with it we knew nothing. Towards the time I became an adult drugs were only just beginning to destroy my childhood home turning it from a secluded enclave to a drug infested hell hole. In my day the code of the street was being a good person, respectful honest and hard working.

I am no better than the thugs of the street but, I am indeed a different type of black man than those I see infesting urban ghettos. I regularly ride the horrilble public transit bus system in Baltimore, Maryland. I earn a spectacular living but I am also unable to drive due to my autism and many other disabilities.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Code of the Street corrects the myth, held by many, that the inner city underclass does not want to work. The book has helped me to discuss with my two foster girls, the difference between decent and street people how to recognize the game. I read passages to them and we discuss, in depth, the issue. I urge all parents, especially foster parents, to read this book. I had repeatedly observed the Code but like a jigsaw puzzle, not understanding how it all connected. Thanks to Mr. Anderson, he enabled me to see the picture entirely as it exists.
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I am so impressed with this book I can't believe it. Every page provided a new insight. As a white person I gained a whole new perspective on...well, everything, it seems like. Mr. Anderson does such a great job of giving an "inside look" into the inner city world, you really come away understanding a whole lot more.

I appreciated that Anderson laid the facts out without playing the blame game. His writing is objective but also compassionate; you can really see *individuals,* not just "black people." I closed the book thinking, "Well, I can't change everything, but with this knowledge I can sure make changes in myself, and at least that's a start." It takes a great book to provide that kind of power and inspiration. Just for that alone, I think every white person should read this book.

So, Bravo, Mr. Anderson! Please continue to write on the subject!
1 Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Anderson has several points to make in this somewhat dense and redundant book. These points are important enough, however, for it to be a must-read for everyone interested in understanding 'why "they" live like that.'

The first point is that most people in the inner-city are 'decent' -- they adhere to the mainstream middle-class values of hard work and playing by the rules. The 'street' element, is in the minority. However, it is a situation in which the minority rules. Even people who are or strive to be 'decent' must know the code of the street, and in some situations be willing to abide by it, if they want to be able to survive.

The second point is that most of society is unwilling or unable to distinguish the 'decent' from the 'street'. We put the entire community into the same negative category of 'street.' There are plenty of people -- especially young men -- who are, Anderson argues, 'going for bad' just as a defense posture. The problem is that once these people adopt the appearance, language, and demeanor of the 'street,' many outsiders no longer recognize or accept them as decent. They can't get a legitimate job, so they turn to drugs or other criminal activity to earn a living. They're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

The third point is that the code of the street emerged because industry abandoned American cities, and people who could afford to move out to the suburbs did, leaving behind a wasteland where even law enforcement is seen as unresponsive and unhelpful. The inner city is like the Wild West, in which vigilante justice fills the void left by law and order. The code of the street is a necessary alternative -- if you can't count on the police to protect you, then you have to be able to protect yourself.
Read more ›
1 Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City