The Autobiography of a Thief

Read by Ben Adams

(4.7 stars; 74 reviews)

I met the ex-pickpocket and burglar whose autobiography follows soon after his release from a third term in the penitentiary. For several weeks I was not particularly interested in him. He was full of a desire to publish in the newspapers an exposé of conditions obtaining in two of our state institutions, his motive seeming partly revenge and partly a very genuine feeling that he had come in contact with a systematic crime against humanity. But as I continued to see more of him, and learned much about his life, my interest grew; for I soon perceived that he not only had led a typical thief's life, but was also a man of more than common natural intelligence, with a gift of vigorous expression... I therefore proposed to him to write an autobiography. He took up the idea with eagerness, and through the entire period of our work together, has shown an unwavering interest in the book and very decided acumen and common sense. The method employed in composing the volume was that, practically, of the interview. From the middle of March to the first of July we met nearly every afternoon, and many evenings, at a little German café on the East Side. There, I took voluminous notes, often asking questions, but taking down as literally as possible his story in his own words; to such a degree is this true, that the following narrative is an authentic account of his life, with occasional descriptions and character-sketches of his friends of the Under World. Even without my explicit assurance, the autobiography bears sufficient internal evidence of the fact that, essentially, it is a thief's own story. - Summary by Hutchins Hapgood (from the Preface) (6 hr 14 min)


Intro - Editor's Note 5:52 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter I - Boyhood and Early Crime 20:54 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter II - My First Fall 18:38 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter III - Mixed-Ale Life in the Fourth and Seventh Wards 25:24 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter IV - When the Graft Was Good 17:33 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter V - Mamie and the Negotiable Bonds 18:55 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter VI - What the Burglar Faces 26:56 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter VII - In Stir 23:55 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter VIII - In Stir (continued) 30:37 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter IX - In Stir and Out 21:08 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter X - At the Graft Again 27:39 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter XI - Back to Prison 30:09 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter XII - On the Outside Again 50:18 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter XIII - In the Mad-House 35:54 Read by Ben Adams
Chapter XIV - Out of Hell 18:39 Read by Ben Adams
Editor's Postscript 2:24 Read by Ben Adams


the autobiography of a thief

(5 stars)

this book is the real deal I could not believe this was from 1898 its 200 17 and everything is still the same look on the hop the penitentiary is the same and I should know sorry to say

The Autobiography of a Thief

(5 stars)

It's a heart-felt, honest, intelligent recounting of a how a child becomes a thief and how that thief becomes a man after suffering imprisonment. His assessment of guards, politicians, and insane asylum doctors is still apt and relevant. It's amazing how little has changed in 125 years. the reader is excellent, reading with passion and emotions appropriate to the text. Highly recommended

Wow! An amazing tale for sure.

(5 stars)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but am very happy to have listened to it. The reader was phenomenal. The story itself really takes you into the world of o a thief. I would recommend this book to anyone.

great first third

(3 stars)

it was very well read! the thief's childhood was great. well worth listening to. his time in and out of jail although very well described got a little monotonous.

Autobiography of a thief

(4 stars)

Interesting nonfiction book set a century ago. Many of the scenarios are the same day as then. Descriptions of politicians, corruption, and addictions are just as relevant.

(3 stars)

An interesting lb sight into the world of the thief there trials and tribulations and the way society is blinkered in their view of the 'wrongdoers ' of the world .

Good read.

(5 stars)

The reader is excellent. And the book is a worthwhile insight into the world of petty crime and the human mind.

Great listen

(5 stars)

super interesting real life story in NYC and easy coast turn of century.