Books: Hoods and Hustlers

A white journalist tells the story of a black gang member. It's hard to tell who's being conned

Subtitled Five Years Inside the Franklin Avenue Posse (a reference to an Afro-Caribbean street gang in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y.), Douglas Century's Street Kingdom (Warner Books; 415 pages; $25) charts a turbid interracial friendship between two ambitious young men.

One is the author, a Canadian-born Ivy Leaguer whose resume lists work on the Forward, the English-language version of New York City's aged Yiddish daily. The other protagonist, schooled at New York State's best correctional institutions, has an arrest record that includes assault, drug dealing and firing a machine pistol from a speeding car.

Century's dangerous acquaintance answers...

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