A THIEF'S PRIMER by Bruce Jackson


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This book, a by-product of research supported through a Harvard Fellowship is a kind of Sam's song or confessions of an unrepentant, unreformed and irrepressible ""career"" criminal. The author met Sam midway through a prison sentence in Texas where he was conducting research on Negro convict work songs; the result of their relationship is a revealing, responsive, spontaneous life story with appended comments by fellow inmates and friends. Allowing for exaggeration and braggadocio, this is quite a look at the surreal underworld in which Sam operated as a check forger and safe cracker whose daily motto was ""Let's party!""--""A lot of people like it; I'm hooked on it."" He also gets a ""charge"" out of stealing and along with all the details on everything from prison life to ""fixers"" (""A good criminal lawyer has to be a good thief. There's no getting around it."") you too can learn the business. (Stick to checks. Check!) The author manages a bit of psychological soothsaying and this is directed primarily at the sociologist or criminologist who should find it enlightening (there's even a glossary of prison slang terms). But Bill Sands is a better steal.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1969
Publisher: Macmillan