Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The more crime changes ...

I've been taking myself to crime school, reading some dark American classics for the first time. First up was Edward Anderson's Thieves Like Us (1937), where I found a passage that might be of interest to readers in today's America (or Europe, for that matter):
“`He really knew you, did he?'

“`Sure he did. But I never did let on, see. He says to me: "Boy, I just wish you had got this bank here 'fore it went busted and took my wad. I'd rather for a poor boy like you to have it than them goddamned bankers. Both of them bankers are out of prison now and still living swell on what they stole from me and about four or five hundred more folks here."'”
Have you experienced a similar thrill of recognition when reading an old book? What passages from old crime novels strike you as torn straight from today's headlines, possibly more relevant today than ever?

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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4 Comments:

Blogger Linda said...

Re-reading Moby Dick. Not quite what you're asking, but talking about being "torn from today's headlines", here is a passage early on in that book:

And doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:
              
             "Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States
             "Whaling Voyage by One Ishmael"
             "Bloody Battle in Affghanistan"

August 22, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ha! That would coax a guffaw of recognition from many readers.

One will read occasional laments about the plight of Western soldiers in Afghanistan today that invoke difficulties there in the nineteenth century. Not often, though, military history being out of favor as it is these days, not least in newspapers and on television.

August 22, 2012  
Anonymous Diana R Chambers said...

Re 19C Afghanistan: In researching my book Stinger, I was struck by the fiercely independent Afghan's ability to send a message: they massacred a British regiment (in the Khyber Pass, I believe) and left one survivor--a doctor--to tell the tale. The next chapter of the Great Game led to the Soviet defeat. But do we read history?

August 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Not as much as we ought to, according to an occasional commentator who has cited British military disasters in Afghanistan in the 19th century. Funny, but I don't remember reading such cautions before for West's current involvement there began to go less smoothly than planned.

August 30, 2012  

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