Part sociology, part psychology, and always interesting history, The Con Men is a valuable tool in understanding how this small community, living in a gray market, manages to survive in a society that for the most part rejects and disdains them. -- Patrick O'Reilly, author of Undue Influence: Cons, Scams, and Mind Control The Con Men is a revealing portrait of a critical but little known element of city life: the urban hustler. Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton go deep and emerge with the goods, powerfully illuminating this subterranean world and the social lives of its inhabitants. At once timely, incisive, and poignant, this is a fascinating work of lasting importance. -- Elijah Anderson, author of Code of the Street and The Cosmopolitan Canopy Bold and illuminating... A thoroughly researched academic study accessible to general readers. Kirkus Reviews This terrific ethnography explains that cons and hustles are no longer the preserve of roguish proletarians in loud suits and painted ties. Everybody wants a bargain, and creative capitalism makes mugs of us all. -- Dick Hobbs Times Higher Education [Williams & Milton] bring the reader with them into places from Brooklyn to the Bronx that are supposed to be invisible to those not in the know... An engaging read. -- Malcolm Harris The New Republic A fascinating look at the New York underworld. Integrating history, social psychology and sociology, the authors provide an educated lens to examine some of the oldest cons in Manhattan, perpetuated by the hands of career schemers, counterfeiters, drug dealers and even the men and women in blue. It is an eye-opening initiation to the uninformed or the curious. -- Jeffrey S. Podoshen Consumption Markets & CultureVom Verlag:
This vivid account of hustling in New York City explores the sociological reasons why con artists play their game and the psychological tricks they use to win it. Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton, two prominent sociologists and ethnographers, spent years with New York con artists to uncover their secrets. The result is an unprecedented view into how con games operate, whether in back alleys and side streets or in police precincts and Wall Street boiler rooms. Whether it's selling bootleg goods, playing the numbers, squatting rent-free, scamming tourists with bogus stories, selling knockoffs on Canal Street, or crafting Ponzi schemes, con artists use verbal persuasion, physical misdirection, and sheer charm to convince others to do what they want. Williams and Milton examine this act of performance art and find meaning in its methods to exact bounty from unsuspecting tourists and ordinary New Yorkers alike. Through their sophisticated exploration of the personal experiences and influences that create a successful hustler, they build a portrait of unusual emotional and psychological depth. Their work also offers a new take on structure and opportunity, showing how the city's unique urban and social architecture lends itself to the perfect con.
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