Washington Post Review

August 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

The Washington Post Review of Gangs:

Don’t believe the fun-loving depictions of gang warfare in “West Side Story” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” — thug life ain’t all jazz hands and high kicks. Newsweek staffer and first-time author Sarah Garland offers a softshoe-free view of real-life Scarfaces in “Gangs in Garden City,” a comprehensive history of the transition of Nassau County, N.Y., from idyllic Long Island retreat to posse-plagued demilitarized zone.

In muscular, Hemingway-esque prose, Garland weaves an economic and social history of Latino gangs in suburbia around unrelentingly bleak personal narratives of gang members, including one Salvadoran war refugee whose isolation drove him to the notorious Mara Salvatrucha (a.k.a. MS-13) crew: “If he could trust anyone to watch his back and not to betray him, it was these men. . . . They had been cannon fodder, and they had survived.” Though immigration hawks and jingoists demonize gang members, MS-13, like the Mafia and innumerable other ethnic gangs that predate the modern metropolis, is fed by America’s patchwork immigration policy, poor urban planning, need for cheap labor and race hatred as much as it is by flawed individuals. Gangs are not inevitable.

— Justin Moyer

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Washington Post Review at By SARAH GARLAND.

meta

%d bloggers like this: