Youth Gangs in American Society by R. Shelden, S. Tracy & W. Brown

Critical review of work on origins of gangs, responsibility for, drugs, crime.

In their book Youth Gangs in American Society, authors Shelden, Tracy, and Brown (1997) take a sociological approach to the subject of youth gangs, their origin, development, and potential future. The book has a good deal of information about the gang culture, but the interpretation of the authors places more blame on society than on the offenders and fails to convince as to its view of the origin and nature of the gang problem in society today.

The authors rightly note that there was no gang problem until the mid-nineteenth century, and the problem of delinquency was noted among various urban groups as the nation became more industrialized and presumably as the population became more condensed in the cities. The gang problem today, of course, is much greater and has become an epidemic in our cities, to the…