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Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Always Running Paperback – Feb 9 1994

151 customer reviews

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Paperback, Feb 9 1994
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The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (Feb. 9 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671882317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671882310
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,997,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

As the preface of this admirable but ultimately disappointing memoir states, Rodriguez, an award-winning poet and publisher of the small press Tia Chucha, decided to document his youth as an East Los Angeles gang member in an effort to steer his teenaged son, Ramiro, away from the gang that he recently joined. A member of various Latino gangs based in and around the South San Gabriel Valley during the late 1960s, Rogriguez participated in random acts of violence, and was imprisoned on several occasions for the crimes he committed. Unfortunately, he offers frustratingly little detail behind the facts of his life and activity in the gangs. Rodriquez presents colorful characters and highly charged events, such as shootings, Mexican funerals, rapes and arrests, but his writing style renders much of that rich material forgettable.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Suzanne Ruta

"Entertainment Weekly"

Every spiky anecdote from a life of guns, razors, uppers, downers, glue, heroin, sex, and early death supports this former gang member's view of the violence as collective suicide. That Rodriguez's memoir takes place...before the '92 L.A. riots only makes this beautifully written and politically astute account more compelling.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Nov. 14 2002
Format: Paperback
When someone makes charges of "blaming" his environment on Luis Rodriguez, I can only wonder what book they were reading and what kind of background this person has in order to level such a charge.
First, there can be no doubt that conditions that exist in such areas as East LA and surrounding areas for those of Mexican heritage aren't even comparable to those in, say, Beverly Hills. So, "taking responsibility "for one's own actions only goes so far. Things aren't ëqual "much less "fair" in America, and this is evident. Just look at how we have a privileged person in the White House.
Second, and related, Rodriguez does nothing of the sort in terms of äbsolving himself because of the conditions in his youth. It's interesting that instead of seeing Rodriguez's story as one of transcendence, this reader instead focuses on a negative, conservative viewpoint, rather than the positive, very human story of transending. It all depends upon what one's reference points are.
Stories such as Rodriguez's and Piri Thomas's, Malcolm's, Claude Brown's... are inspirational. They point the way for others in similar situations and show that with the help and attention of others in the community, young people in bad situations can go far, much further than those with narrow minds who sit back and see negativity in transcendent examples.
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Format: Paperback
I've read an interview with Luiz Rodriquez after reading this fascinating book. I just wanted to point out - this book didn't help his son Ramiro - he ended up in jail for attempted murder. Luiz said people critisize him for that but he believes that if this book can help others, it's not written in vain. I think this is a great, honest, realistic book. You can tell the author put his entire soul into it. I like his transitions and analysis. I liked the part where he started talking about love, moved on to young girls getting pregnant and then, as a result of it, the ruined lives of unwanted, unloved kids. We never really think that all the evil in the world can be an outcome of love.
"The babies wail for feeding, for touch and the internal knowledge of being special, wanted. If it doesn't come as soon as they commence the bleeding, they ache for what they never had, with an emptiness which is never filled"
I think it was his major pain throughout the entire life - that "emptiness which is never filled".
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By Leyla mumin on April 18 2002
Format: Paperback
Book Review
Always Running
By: Luis Rodriguez
Reviewed by: Erick Villalvazo
Have you ever thought about being in a gang? Well, in the book "Always Running" it tells how life in a gang can be so dangerous. When Luis came to the United States he was an immigrant and he had trouble finding friends. He was so desperate and lonely that he made friends with teens in the Lomas gang. Later on he got jumped into the Lomas gang and after so many fights, shootings and trouble he wanted to get out of the gang but his friends wouldn't let him.

When Luis was thirteen he was already in a gang. In school Luis was involved in many fights. He was suspended from school many times and was expelled once. He was also involved in many shootings. Many of his friends died in drive-by shootings from rival gang members.
By being in the gang Luis was in trouble all the time. He was in jail many times. His mom was tired of visiting him in jail. His mom tried to help him by talking to him but he just wouldn't listen. Nobody could change his mind.

When Luis was seventeen he began to think about the future. That's when he realized that being in the gang wouldn't have no future for him. Then he decided to get out of the gang. He didn't hang out with his friends anymore and decided to change for good.

The life lesson of this book is not to join a gang. It only gives you trouble and you might get killed or end up in jail. If you are thinking about joining a gang I think you should read this book first so that you learn what can happen to you if you join one. Think about it twice before you join a gang.
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By carlos on April 11 2002
Format: Paperback
This book keeps you away from your TV. It does not beat around the bush. It talks about an imperfect system in which we all live where racism, drugs, poverty, injustices, brutality, rapes, killings, and gang life is as common as the news you will see today. The author relates his own personal life which makes it more credible. He relates how gang life entangles many young ones and little by little leads them to destruction. You will gain lots of insight for you'll learn how gang people think why they do what they do and what leads them to commit the unthinkable. What impresses me most about this book is the fact that this guy is able to escape the death entanglement of this world which I compare as a diabolic spider web with its many filaments or threads which work like a magnet attracting the inexperienced and leading them to the very brink of the so called hell. A web thread could be the violent gang life. So if you want to know what it is to get out of the claws of death simply read this book.
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By Inna on April 9 2002
Format: Paperback
Inna Sergeeva
Always Running
Luis Rodriguez is the author of this famous and best-selling book. It is based on his biography that took place in Watts and East Los Angeles in the 1950's to the 1990's. Watts was an old community, primarily made up of black and Mexican people. It was a ghetto where country and city mixed together. East Los Angeles was also a run down community with a high rate of crime.
Ramiro, Luis' first child, has gone off again. He reminds the author of his gang days. The author fears Ramiro will cause harm to himself if nothing is done. In the preface the author talks about his family and about his life as an early journalist. The author also says that in writing the book Ramiro will change.
Always Running is the author's autobiography about moving from Mexico to Los Angelos. His family was poor and hoped to succeed one day. He did poorly in school because he and his family did not speak English. As the author grew up he experienced prejudice because he was Mexican. At ten he and his friends created 'clicas' (gangs) which they called Thee Impersonations. Luis Rodriguez was a young East L.A. gangster that had witnessed countless shootings, beatings, arrests, murders, suicides, and senseless acts of street crime by the age of twelve. Facing many tough times in his life, Luis turned to violence and gangs to get away from his problems. He felt closer to his fellow gang members than to his own mother, father, sisters, and brother. As a child, Luis never seemed to fit in: not even at school. He came from a dysfunctional family. At thirteen the author was already into drugs and gang violence. Throughout the book Luis Rodriguez talks about friends, school, gang fights, problems at home and his love life.
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