The Undersides of Society

The Undersides of Society

This collection of essays, which displays the author at work in a variety of settings, includes one piece that originally appeared in Dissent (“The Village Beat Scene: Summer 1960”), some scholarly papers, and various other material. Polsky manages to be extremely readable, and several pervading themes help tie together what might otherwise have been a series of disconnected essays.

Polsky is a scholar who cares, who thinks clearly and writes well. His book reflects throughout a genuine concern for the people he studies, and a coherent approach to the research he undertakes.

The topics Polsky deals with are the significance of pool playing and poolrooms; pool hustling as an occupation; the deficiencies of conventional approaches to the study of crime; the beats; and finally, the social functions of pornography. In each case Polsky breaks new ground.