Writing family history is a notoriously fraught enterprise. The reputations of the dead, the memories of the living and the artifacts that threaten both combine to make it a problematic literary task that most writers avoid—or else disguise in fiction.
This book inaugurates a new series, Oxford Studies in World Christianity, to be edited by Lamin O. Sanneh. The “pillars” of Sanneh’s subtitle not only provide the themes for this book but also anticipate works of greater depth and specificity to come later in the series.
At first glance, Sudhir Venkatesh’s Gang Leader for a Day looks something like a spin-off television show. Venkatesh was featured in Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s bestselling Freakonomics as the sociologist who befriended gang leaders and got revealing economic information from them.