The Steal Walks Away With It

Rachel Shteir tracks the history of shoplifting


The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting
By Rachel Shteir
Penguin Press, 256 pages, $25.95

It’s a bit jarring when Shteir inserts herself into the book a third of the way through (her eating a Cajun salad strikes me as irrelevant, unless she dined and dashed), and some of the shoplifting sob stories in the book’s latter acts are a bit of a drag. But on the whole, Shteir’s account shines a light on a central facet of modern life that has been left shadowed for too long. And she does it in a way that’s breezy enough to make for fine hammock reading during the summer months. The Steal is worth a read—no matter what you do to get a copy.

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