Qty:1
  • List Price: $18.00
  • Save: $5.79 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Low Life: Lures and Snare... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by BiblioJunky
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good used copy with minor signs of use and wear. NOT ex library; Binding is Good; Pages show an inscription to front page and some shelf dust to page edges. Covers are in Good condition with some reading wear but no rips or tears**PRIME ELIGIBLE**FULFILLED BY AMAZON**
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York Paperback – November 24, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0374528997 ISBN-10: 0374528993 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $12.21
36 New from $8.19 53 Used from $2.40
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.21
$8.19 $2.40
$12.21 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York + The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld + Five Points: The 19th Century New York City Neighborhood that Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World's Most Notorious Slum
Price for all three: $37.67

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (November 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are very few classics in the field of pop culture--the academic stuff tends to be too dry and the fun stuff is too quickly dated. This book by Luc Sante is the exception--in fluid prose liberally sprinkled with astute metaphors, Sante tells the story of New York's Lower East Side, circa 1840-1920. The personal histories of criminals, prostitutes, losers, and swindlers bring to life the social and statistical history that the author has meticulously researched. Not limiting himself to the usual sources, Sante finds his history in old copies of Police Gazette as well as actual police, fire, and social service records. Above all, what really makes this book work is the writing, which brings to life a culture of the streets that continues to form a silent influence on our contemporary popular culture. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, freelance writer Sante tours the underside of Manhattan's underclass circa 1840-1919. Clarifying his territory, he notes that "New York is incarnated by Manhattan (the other boroughs . . . are merely adjuncts)." Sante's bad old days are populated with lethal saloon keepers, thieves, whores, gamblers, pseudo-reformers, Tammany Hall politics, crooked cops et al. Capital of the night is the Bowery, center of the "sporting life"; bohemia encompasses the likes of short story writer O. Henry, a one-time embezzler from Texas, plus ethnic enclaves (with the Jewish and Slavic bohemians singled out as the most argumentative). East Side, West Side, semi-rural uptown, wide-open downtown, 19th-century Manhattan is presented as the realm of danger and pleasure. "The city was like this a century ago, and it remains so in the present," maintains an author who sees his Manhattan as seamy, seedy and sinister.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

If you're interested in NYC history then I'd recommend this book to you.
Johnny 1955-2055
Luc Santé has written this wonderful book about the social history of New York City from the 1840s to WWI, with a particular emphasis on the very late 1800s.
saskatoonguy
This is a book I've read multiple times, both for the quality of the writing and an interest in the subject matter.
S. Jacobson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Jotz on July 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
People who think that New York City reached its low point in the 1970s (or the 1980s) as the Bronx burned and crime seemed to be on every streetcorner sometimes tend to idealize the past. Perhaps it was shaped from movies from the 20s and 30s that seemed to show a simpler NYC, or maybe it was just plain misguided nostalgia.
Sante does a fantastic job of recounting the dark underbelly of New York City in the 19th and early 20th century, going into gory details about the horrible poverty along the Bowery and Lower East Side (areas that have seen extensive gentrification since the late 1980s), the filthy streets and disease outbreaks among the city's immigrant masses, the proliferation of street gangs (some of whom were representing NYC police) and other, well, "low lifes." Sante gives an engaging, well-paced description of the oft-overlooked problems a booming industrial-age city like New York was going through and boldly goes where no historian has gone before.
Required reading if you are a NYC (or urban) history fan.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By rocco dormarunno on February 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read this book four times in the last ten years or so. Once for research, the last three times for entertainment. Don't let "critics", who complain that Luc Sante's sources are questionable, prevent you from reading this book. Not every detail might be EXACTLY right; even when the comments are of doubtful origin, there's no doubt that they are valuable to students, first-timers and long-timers, to the subject of New York's history. This is not a scholarly textbook and it doesn't claim to be. Sante's style, and the illustrations that pepper the book, evoke the dark world of old New York. You'll find this book to be fascinating, provocative, and, in my case, inspirational. After I read this book, I began writing my novel called THE FIVE POINTS, which has recently been published. Thank you, Mr. Sante.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By saskatoonguy on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Luc Santé has written this wonderful book about the social history of New York City from the 1840s to WWI, with a particular emphasis on the very late 1800s. The author is interested in the 'low life' of the book's title, by which he means the working poor, the unemployed, and especially, the criminal element. Interwoven with this social history is a discussion of the physical environment of New York City (tenement architecture, the street grid, the elevated trains), as well as the literature of the era. The chapters, which are arranged by topic, include such things as tenement life, famous theatrical acts of the era, infamous saloons (the worst of which were merely fronts for mugging customers), the role of narcotics, gambling rackets, prostitution, the life of the typical policeman, and the first instance of neighborhood gentrification (Greenwich Village). Throughout it all, Santé enables the reader to imagine being there. The end result is a delight to read, giving the reader vivid insights into New York history that are overlooked in most history books.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MsDandy on October 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a life long resident of New York & I am ashamed that I had a scant knowledge of the city that I love. Low Life changed all that. Low Life proves that the history of New York is both lurid and fascinating. Since reading Low Life, I have read several more histories of the city but Luc Sante's remains by far and away my favorite.

My advice: if you want to truly understand New York, read this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. RICHTER on October 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written (nice font!) All the dates, names, places, figures and facts, you'll ever need on the history of the Lower East Side. Sante puts the social, ideological, economic, and cultural characteristics of 'low-life' New York in perspective with the rest of the nation. If you enjoyed DREAMLAND or THE ALIENIST, or TIME AND AGAIN, WINTER'S TALE, and even RAGTIME, read this book as a non-fiction compliment and source for all the books hitherto mentioned. Perhaps you'll enjoy Low Life more.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Hendry VINE VOICE on November 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Luc Sante's Low Life is fascinating and engrossing reading. It's the story of New York, told from the underside. Luc Sante has given us an excellently researched, excellently written work which explores the seedy side of New York, from about 1840 through 1920. He lets us see how much New York City has changed, yet how much it has stayed the same. The improvements to life in New York are remarkable, not so much for what they are, but for what they improved upon. There is an almost uplifting message from this book: New Yorkers can accomplish anything, can improve everything, can recover anytime. If you know New York at all, or have any kind of interest in the city, I believe you will find this an engrossing, entertaining work.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BoyWonder19 on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for an appendix to The Alienist, Low Life would serve admirably. But in this book, Sante goes further than Carr and creates a vivid and fascinating -- and intellectually responsible -- piece of social history. The "low life" of the title isn't crime, or sex -- it's economic deprivation, which, Sante implies, has created the lurid conditions described therein. With a firm grasp of New York's abovegroud social history and a sense of bawdy fun, Sante creates in beautiful prose a portrait of the underground and reminds us how much the dispossessed and forgotten have contributed to our own daily lives as New Yorkers and as people. The graceful and inspring bibliographic essay is a nice bonus.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews