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Bercovici, Konrad; Introduction By John Reed Listings

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1 Bercovici, Konrad; introduction by John Reed Crimes of Charity
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1917 First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [good solid copy, minor deterioration to cloth at top of spine, light external soiling, vintage bookplate on front pastedown]. This Romanian-born author's first book, a first-person narrative by an investigator for a New York City charity organization, recounting the corruption and inequities he discovers (and is required to perpetrate) while working on the Lower East Side. In his introduction, John Reed writes: "Every person of intelligence and humanity who has seen the workings of Organised Charity knows what a deadening and life-sapping thing it is, how unnecessarily cruel, how uncomprehending." Lauding Bercovici's account for its "absolute conviction," he states: "Here we see and smell and hear the East Side; its crowded, gasping filth, the sour stench of its grinding poverty, the cries and groans of lamentations in many alien tongues of the hopeful peoples whose hope is broken in the Promised Land." Contemporary reviews seem unclear as to whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, but in any case (as The New York Times put it), "the destructive criticism is thorough [and] comprehensive.... [and the book is] basically true and interesting, as well as something new and vigorous in a literary way." 
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