Greg Donaldson


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American Studies | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Urban Studies and Planning


In Brownsville’s twenty-one housing projects, the young cops and the teenagers who stand solemnly on the street corners are bitter and familiar enemies. The Ville, as the Brownsville–East New York section of Brooklyn is called by the locals, is one of the most dangerous places on earth—a place where homicide is a daily occurrence. Now, Greg Donaldson, a veteran urban reporter and a longtime teacher in Brooklyn’s toughest schools, evokes this landscape with stunning and frightening accuracy.

The Ville follows a year in the life of two urban black males from opposite sides of the street. Gary Lemite, an enthusiastic young Housing police officer, charges recklessly into gunfire in pursuit of respect and promotion. Sharron Corley, a member of a gang called the LoLifes and the star of the Thomas Jefferson High School play, is also looking for respect as he tries to survive these streets.

Brilliantly capturing the firestorm of violence that is destroying a generation, waged by teenagers who know at thirty yards the difference between a MAC-10 machine pistol and a .357 Magnum, The Ville is the story of our inner cities and the lives of the young men who remain trapped there. In the tradition of There Are No Children Here, Clockers, and Random Family, The Ville is a vivid and unforgettable contribution to our understanding of race and violence in America today.



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