This book is based on the experiences of a dealer in stolen goods (alias 'Sam Goodman'), whose history serves as a model for understanding the role that fences play in today's society. In his straightforward and colorful analysis of underground life, Steffensmeier analyzes how a fence initiates and sustains relationships with thieves, customers, and other fences, how he sets and negotiates prices, the profits he enjoys, the skills required for his job, and the meaning and rewards of fencing. The author relates the circumstances leading to Sam's 'fall'-his eventual arrest and conviction for receiving stolen property. His field interviews are supplemented with court records and newspaper accounts, interviews of thieves and customers who had contact with Sam, several other fences, and law enforcement officials. In addition to documenting the lifestyle of a fascinating criminal life, the author shows how crime is intricately woven into the fabric of society, in which thieves and fences share many similarities in skills and behavior with those of legitimate businessmen. Sociologists, criminologists, law enforcement officers, and public policy makers will find this book an enlightening and engaging portrayal of the criminal career.