cover of book

The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago
by Frederic Milton Thrasher
University of Chicago Press, 1963
Paper: 978-0-226-79930-8 | Cloth: 978-0-226-79929-2
Library of Congress Classification HV6439.U7C4 2012
Dewey Decimal Classification 364.10660977311


While gangs and gang culture have been around for countless centuries, The Gang is one of the first academic studies of the phenomenon. Originally published in 1927, Frederic Milton Thrasher’s magnum opus offers a profound and careful analysis of hundreds of gangs in Chicago in the early part of the twentieth century. With rich prose and an eye for detail, Thrasher looked specifically at the way in which urban geography shaped gangs, and posited the thesis that neighborhoods in flux were more likely to produce gangs. Moreover, he traced gang culture back to feudal and medieval power systems and linked tribal ethos in other societies to codes of honor and glory found in American gangs. Thrasher approaches his subject with empathy and insightfulness, and creates a multifaceted and textured portrait that still has much to offer to readers today. With handsome images that evoke the era, this unabridged edition of The Gang not only explores an important moment in the history of Chicago, but also is itself a landmark in the history of sociology and subcultural theory.

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