The Steal
By: Rachel Shteir

About The Author

RACHEL SHTEIR is the author of three books:Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show  Gypsy: the Art of the Tease Press, and The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting.Rachel has also written for magazines, newspapers, and blogs including American Theatre, Bookforum, The Daily, The New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, Playboy, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, New York Newsday, , The Nation, Tablet, , The Village Voice, and The Washington Post.  Rachel has lectured widely on popular culture and theatre and is often quoted in the national media. Rachel is Associate Professor at the Theatre School at DePaul University. Before going to Chicago in 2000, she taught at Yale, Carnegie Mellon University, the Columbia University School of the Arts, and the National Theatre Institute.Rachel holds a BA from the University of Chicago in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and an MFA and a DFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama.


The setting of the book was in London  in the 1960s.

Main Characters

Winona Ryder

Andre Gide

Richard Hollinger

John Marzluff

Mary Frith

Moll King


William III


The conflict of this story is the first study of shoplifting, looking to history to reveal the roots of our modern dilemma. There is a largely misunderstood, shoplifting has become the territory of moralists, mischievous teenagers, and self-help gurus. But shoplifting incurs remarkable real-life cost for retailers and consumers. The "crime- tax" the amount every American family loses to shoplifting .

Story Detail

In The Steal, Hedy Lamarr, Bess Myerson and Winona Ryder  Shoplifting is always imprudent, an expression of vanity over need, but when famous people do it, it represents a kind of supernova of common sense. Multimillionaire-dollar careers have been wrecked for socks. When Ms. Ryder got caught stealing clothing from Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001, the store already had an imprint of her credit card on file. They had taken it earlier that day.


The mood of this book is fascinating because you never know what to expect after another shoplift is made and because it has a lot of action in it.


THE STEAL is the first serious study of shoplifting, tracking the fascinating history of this most ancient of crimes. Dismissed by academia and the mainstream media, largely misunderstood, shoplifting has become the territory of mischievous teenagers, tabloid television, and self help gurus. And yet, shoplifting incurs remarkable real life costs for retailers and consumers. After guiding us through a historical tour of all things shoplifting, Shteir shows us that shoplifting in its many guises—crime, disease, protest—is perhaps best understood as a reflection of our society, and ourselves.

Why did I like it?

I liked this book because it tells you a lot about history. The Steal is a book with many interesting facts about shoplifting. And this is an unusual book for me because I have never thought about millionaire people shoplifting . I also would of never thought of someone looking into the action of shoplifting.


I think people who like about ancient crime,  action and mystery would like to read this book.  

Word From The Book

“Then, as now, no one knows exactly what happens when a shoplifter steals or why she is doing it … the details have to be imagined.”