PELICAN BOOKS A802
FIRST PRINTING 1967
FIRST PUBLISHED IN HARDBACK BY COLLIER-MACMILLAN 1962
COVER PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER BARKER
When in June 1957 a fifteen-year-old polio victim was beaten to death by the Egyptian Kings gang in a New York park, a new kind of 'killing for kicks' violence had burst upon the American scene. The author of this book entered the world of two New York gangs, the Dragons and the Balkans, to discover the youths' real motives, hidden from the police, from other social workers, and even from themselves. His investigations reveal that the violent-gang member is a displaced person, unable for various social and psychological reasons to associate with others, within a gang or outside it. The gang itself emerges as a loose grouping, more a vehicle for its members' fantasies and desires for status than a well-oiled criminal machine. Traditional methods of gang control, which have accepted the power of the gang on its members' own valuation and attempted to divert it to more worthwhile ends, may be merely aggravating the problem. Professor Yablonsky himself suggests some totally new methods of control, based upon the revolutionary Synanon experiments in group control.