|Title||Vampires, dragons, and Egyptian Kings: Youth gangs in postwar New York|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1999|
|Journal||URBAN HISTORY REVIEW-REVUE D HISTOIRE URBAINE|
|Keywords||Book reviews, Canada, Crime, History, Juvenile gangs|
In the context of postwar New York, poor Puerto Rican, African-and European-American adolescent males had restricted means of creating a masculine identity. It is here that illustrates the agency of impoverished adolescent boys. As products of mid-twentieth-century economic and social conditions that closed off legitimate avenues for manhood, this generation of adolescents sought out gangs as a way to forge a masculine identity and gain "power, prestige and female adulation." (107) Using gang members’ autobiographies, interviews with former members, and gang workers’ notes, Schneider is able to explore the central role that masculinity played in these gangs. Schneider is undoubtedly correct in asserting the importance of masculinity; however, as an analytical tool masculinity here is under-utilized, leaving the impression that masculinity is simply an explanation for and description of young men acting tough. As an explanation for rape and murder, masculinity is unsatisfactory. Schneider might have shown us how masculinity, like other identities, is historically specific and relational. We also need to know more about the girls associated with gangs; Schneider might have found Anne Campbell’s The Girls in the Gang especially helpful.