Nasty Brutish and Short

Mark Totten’s new bookNasty Brutish and Short: The Lives of Gang Members in Canada (James Lorimer Publishing) (To order click here to email us)

An expert takes us inside – The dark world of gangs in Canada

United Nations, Red Scorpions, the Crazy Dragons, Fresh Off the Boat, Indian Posse, Native Syndicate, Mad Cowz, Bloods, Jamestown Crips, Bo-Gars, Crack Down Posse, African Mafia, Galloway Boys, Malvern Crew, Manitoba Warriors, and North Preston’s Finest. These are some of the gangs active in Canada today. Dr. Mark Totten has spent fifteen years learning all about these gangs and the young men and women who belong to them. He has interviewed over five hundred gang members across the country, traced their lives from infancy to adulthood, and explored the roots of their involvement in crime and their reliance on violence.

This book offers a groundbreaking picture of the reality of gangs in Canada. Much of what Dr. Totten has to say is at odds with popular ideas. His research and clinical work leads him to believe that breaking through the circumstances that produce young criminals is far more difficult than most people think. For most individuals caught up in gang life, exiting that world is next to impossible—in fact, the most common way out is an early death from violence or suicide. This book opens the door on a way of life unknown to most Canadians.

Dr. Mark Totten’s research and social work focuses on gangs, sexual exploitation, family violence, and mental health. He has worked on major research studies in these areas, funded by such agencies as the Department of Justice Canada and the National Crime Prevention Centre. A well-known expert witness on gangs for both Crown and Defence Counsel, he has written many books, academic articles, and government reports. Daniel Totten is a graduate student in psychology at Carleton University.