The Con Men: Hustling in New York City
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 arti... read full description below.
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|Library of Congress
||Police - New York (State) - New York, Criminals - New York (State) - New York, Crime - New York (State) - New York
||Social Issues, Services & Welfare
||Professional and scholarly
Description of this Book
Selling bootleg goods, playing the numbers, squatting rent-free, scamming tourists with bogus stories, selling knockoffs on Canal Street, and crafting Ponzi schemes--this vivid account of hustling in New York City explores the sociological reasons why con artists play the game, and the psychological dynamics they exploit 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. This book is not only an absorbing read but also a sophisticated study of how con artists use verbal persuasion, physical misdirection, and sheer charm to convince others to do what they want. Williams and Milton examine how street hustling is an act of performance art and find meaning in the methods con artists use to exact bounty from unsuspecting tourists and ordinary New Yorkers alike. They explore the personal experiences and influences that create a successful hustler, building a portrait of unusual emotional and psychological depth. Their work offers a new take on structure and opportunity, showing how the unique urban and social architecture of New York City lends itself to the perfect con.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||Part sociology and 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, Stanford University
Terry Williams is a professor of sociology at the New School for Social Research. He specializes in teenage life and culture, drug abuse, crews and gangs, and violence and urban social policy. He is the author of The Cocaine Kids: The Inside Story of a Teenage Drug Ring; The Uptown Kids: Hope and Struggle in the Projects; and Crackhouse: Notes from the End of the Line, and is the founder and director of the Harlem Writers Crew Project, a multimedia approach to urban education for center city and rural youths. Trevor B. Milton is assistant professor in social sciences at Queensborough Community College, CUNY, and author of Overcoming the Magnetism of Street Life: Crime-Engaged Youth and the Programs That Transform Them. His areas of research include prison reform and alternative-to-incarceration programs and the intersectionality of class and racial identity.