The Insane Chicago Way is the untold story of a daring plan by Chicago gangs in the 1990s to create a Spanish Mafia-and why it failed. John M. Hagedorn traces how Chicago Latino gang leaders, following in Al Capone's footsteps, built a sophisticated organization dedicated to organizing crime and reducing violence. His lively stories of extensive cross-neighborhood gang organization, tales of police/gang corruption, and discovery of covert gang connections to Chicago's Mafia challenge conventional wisdom and offer lessons for the control of violence today. The book centers on the secret history of Spanish Growth & Development (SGD)-an organization of Latino gangs founded in 1989 and modeled on the Mafia's nationwide Commission. It also tells a story within a story of the criminal exploits of the C-Note$, the "minor league" team of the Chicago's Mafia (called the "Outfit"), which influenced the direction of SGD. Hagedorn's tale is based on three years of interviews with an Outfit soldier as well as access to SGD's constitution and other secret documents, which he supplements with interviews of key SGD leaders, court records, and newspaper accounts.
The result is a stunning, heretofore unknown history of the grand ambitions of Chicago gang leaders that ultimately led to SGD's shocking collapse in a pool of blood on the steps of a gang-organized peace conference. The Insane Chicago Way is a compelling history of the lives and deaths of Chicago gang leaders. At the same time it is a sociological tour de force that warns of the dangers of organized crime while arguing that today's relative disorganization of gangs presents opportunities for intervention and reductions in violence.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 155 x 23 mm
"This is an important book, reminiscent of Sutherland's Professional Thief, Ianni's Black Mafia, and other personal, insider studies of professional and organized crime and criminals. Hagedorn skillfully combines information and insights from multiple sources with scholarly analysis to reveal the nature of organized crime as it evolved during the late twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. His account of relationships between street gangs of this period and Chicago's Outfit, the legacy of Al Capone and others, is especially important."--James F. Short, Jr., coauthor of Juvenile Delinquency and Delinquents
"The Insane Chicago Way is quite original and advances our knowledge on gangs in a number of ways. Most criminologists draw a clear separation between organized crime and street gangs, but Hagedorn shows--in a highly compelling account--how Chicago gangs in the 1990s attempted to emulate the mafia. In doing so he paints a new picture of street gangs as they exist in our neighborhoods--not simply as reflections of other forces but as quasi-institutions, major historical agents in the development of violence and violent traditions."--David Brotherton, author of Banished to the Homeland