George Appo

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One Man’s Reasons For A Life of Crime In the richly detailed autobiography of a pickpocket and con artist named George Appo, editor Timothy Gilfoyle brings to life the happenings of New York’s opium dens, organized crimes, and prisons that encompassed the quickly changing criminal underworld of late nineteenth century America. In doing so, a comprehensive introduction and various supporting documents, which consist of investigative reports and depictions of Appo and his world, all connect Appo’s life story with the bigger picture of urban New York and in what ways crime changed during this time in history. The autobiography also examines aspects like race and class that may have led some people to a life of crime, and the encounters of incarcerations and criminal justice that helped to define the nation’s criminal subculture. George Appo, being in the middle of all of this newfound criminalization, ultimately, found himself becoming part of the criminal underworld as he partook in pick pocketing, green goods scams, etc, as well as found himself in and out of prisons throughout his life. Overall, Appo’s unfortunate fall into criminal activity is due, for the most part, to impactful social changes that were taking place during this period. The social changes that were the most important in leading to George Appo’s life of crime were because of the influx of thousands of Chinese immigrants to New York City every year which led to the surge of opium dens, brothels and

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