- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691074542
- ISBN-13: 978-0691074542
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,845,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Vampires, Dragons, and Egyptian Kings: Youth Gangs in Postwar New York
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"A comprehensive and tantalizing picture of the street gang culture that was part of the New York City mythology from the '40s to the '70s. [Schneider] knows his way around the streets and does a particularly good job of making sense of the drug plague that ended the original postwar gang culture. . . . Schneider's understanding (if not affection) for the gang style informs the work throughout. Vampires, Dragons, and Egyptian Kings is a sharp book about a peculiar moment in the New York life--one that seems strangely antiquated as we approach the new millennium."--Martin Jackson, Village Voice
"[Schneider's] study of Manhattan youth gangs in the years after World War II blends academic disciplines with the author's recollections of the events he traces.Fascinating history."--Booklist
"Superb. This is a marvelous piece of work: beautifully written, nicely organized, thoroughly researched, consistently insightful."--New York History
"Drawing on countless sources meticulously noted, [Schneider] offers reasons for the emergence of gangs, shows us their particular culture, assesses intervention programs, and traces their decline in the 1960s and resurgence in the 1970s. Throughout, he augments his scholarly research with excerpts from interviews with former gang members."--Library Journal
From the Back Cover
"A very strong analysis of gangs in postwar New York City. Schneider's historical approach to understanding gang activities is innovative.... This is a well-written and interesting book that should appeal to a wide audience."--Ruth Horowitz, New York University
"In this marvelous and fascinating book, Eric Schneider tells the real West Side Story. With a wide array of sources-including interviews with former gang members-he locates the post-war history of New York City's gangs in the multiple transformations of the city's social ecology, economy, ethnic and race relations, institutions, and culture."--Michael B. Katz, University of Pennsylvania
"Drawing on an extraordinary range of primary and secondary materials, Eric Schneider has produced an incisive and compelling history of youth gangs in New York City."--Ellen Dwyer, Indiana University
"An original and imaginative work both of historical significance and narrative power. It is thoroughly grounded in the scholarly literature. . . . At the same time, it is so well written and contains so many remarkable stories that it will be accessible to general readers as well."--Margaret Marsh, Rutgers University
"This is the kind of book we need to regain our sanity about young people and violence."--Carl Nightingale, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"Schneider succeeds in offering an insightful analysis of youth gangs, linking the methods of social history with those of sociology, anthropology, and criminology. This book is well worth the attention of a wide readership."--David Wolcott
Top customer reviews
He does cover aspects of street gangs beyond the historical/social such as descriptions of their own arcane culture and bebop-inspired lingo, the concepts of masculinity and the importance of honor to most boppers (an honor that appears to be impossibly out of reach to most working class male youth in mainstream society, both then and now). There's also a fine conclusion in which Schneider compares today's gangs to those back then and how the older gangs were (in his view, at least) a kind of de facto rebellion against mainstream society and values. Today's gangs, by contrast, are defined more as economic entities and micro-capitalist organizations than their honor- and turf-bound ancestors.
Vampires, Dragons and Egyptian Kings is an excellent analysis of the history and culture of New York City at a particular time in it's development and this book is sure to enthrall anyone interested in youthful reprobates in general and those that inhabited New York in particular.
to East Harlem, a neighborhood described in the book.
I grew up on East 112st during 50's and 60's.
Not too many books have truely taken me back
as this one has.
I see Mr Schneider's work as highly accurate
written to keep the reader's interest.
An absolute must for anyone that has grown up
in the inner city during that era.