Do or Die by Leon Bing

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Do or Die is the first insider account of teenage gangs--the lives, loves, and battles of children who kill--from the only journalist ever allowed inside this closed and dangerous world.

This is no West Side Story. Welcome to a world where teenagers wear colostomy bags and have scrapbooks filled with funeral invitations; where a young man, after being shot in the chest, drives himself to the hospital; where another youngster, caught in crossfire, uses his girlfriend as a human shield; where teenage gangsters are kidnapped, tortured, and held for six-figure ransoms; where kids hum the latest movie's theme music while killing people. It's a world of clickheads, sherms, bangers, ballers, and mummyheads; a world where the strongest feelings of family come from other gang members; a world where the most potent feelings of self-worth come from murder.


About Leon Bing

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Published May 20, 1992 by Harper Perennial. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Bing alternates interviews with kids jailed at youth ``camps,'' and later at Soledad Prison, with ones drawn from the mean streets of South Central L.A., and sifts into the stories a history of the gangs (begun in the late 1960's by one Raymond Washington, who organized ``a little gang of kids'' ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Bing profiles archrival Los Angeles teenage gangs the Crips and the Bloods in a harrowing docuchronicle--which received a PW boxed review in cloth--that should be read by all concerned with the future of urban America.

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Entertainment Weekly

Once ''down for the 'hood'' — pledging loyalty to whichever gang prevails on their block — the young black kids portrayed by journalist Léon Bing in her evocative Do Or Die are pretty much doomed.

Aug 09 1991 | Read Full Review of Do or Die


Also the book makes clear that the number of murders committed by these gangs—including murders of innocent bystanders—has risen each year since the Crips and Bloods first surfaced more than 40 years ago.

Sep 23 1991 | Read Full Review of Do or Die

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