Men of the Underworld: The Professional Criminals Own Story

Men of the Underworld: The Professional Criminals Own Story

Men of the Underworld: The Professional Criminals Own Story

Men of the Underworld: The Professional Criminals Own Story

Excerpt

What sort of crime will you have?

Would you like to sit with a "boxman" while his torch bites into the chilled steel of a "burglar-proof" safe? Or go on a perilous second-story job after jewels--and almost get caught? Or watch a con man as he sells a gold brick to a wary businessman? How about a train robbery in the gun-blazing tradition of the old West? Or a fast game of poker with a Mississippi gambler who pretends to be a naïve plantation owner? Maybe you would like to come on a desperate jail-break with a convict who dodges lead while trying to outsprint a savage bloodhound!

Thrilling adventures? Yes, but only the backdrop for the most ruthless war in American history, waged by the professional criminal against society--against you.

To the professional crook, crime is a business. Coldly, methodically, he studies the technique of thievery, then sets forth to loot and steal. If a "pete-man," he may devote months of patient study to mastering the mechanics of safe construction; a pickpocket, he may practice on a fellow "wire" until he can dexterously remove a wallet from the hippocket without using his arm muscles, merely rising on his toes.

Living in a strange sub-culture of his own, the career hoodlum has a separate code, a different language, and a brutal but logical philosophy by which he justifies his crimes. He differs from other rogues because he is without conscience or remorse and prefers stealing to any legitimate business. He looks scornfully upon amateur crooks who believe their acts are morally wrong but who are driven to theft by an urgent need for money.

A product of modern America, the professional criminal insists that all men are basically dishonest. Not illogically, he regards himself as blood-brother to the sharp businessman, the racketeering politician, and the income-tax chiseler. "What is the moral difference," he asks cynically, "between the guy who swipes a towel from a hotel and the heistman who clips a jug for fifty grand?"

In a nation where money is power, and where otherwise decent people . . .

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