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A House Is Not a Home
by Polly Adler
Polly Adler's "house" -- the brothel that gave this best-selling 1953 autobiography its title -- was a major site of New York City underworld activity from the 1920s through the 1940s. Adler's notorious Lexington Avenue house of prostitution functioned as a sort of social club for New York's gangsters and a variety of other celebrities, including Robert Benchley and his fr ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by University of Massachusetts Press
(first published 1953)
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I'm skeptical about autobiographies. If conscience makes cowards of us all, then memory makes liars of us all, and the combination of the two makes most autobiographies and memoirs a little suspect, at least. Take into account also that a person like Polly Adler, who was New York's most prominent madam from the '20s through the '50s, had a lot that she would have needed to intentionally fudge over to protect herself and others. Among her acquaintances and clients were such names as Dutch Schultz ...more
I enjoyed this book. Although I am sure Ms. Adler left out a lot just because of the nature of her business, still, it is a fairly accurate account of the life of a Polish immigrant who could not find work. She is a human being first, a madam second. I read this many years ago and today it is still fascinating. I am continuously intrigued by the life and times of those living in the 20's- 30's.