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August 13, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE MOLE PEOPLE: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth (Chicago Review Press: $13.95; 267 pp.). More than 5,000 people now live in the vast system of tunnels beneath New York. This dim nether world seems safer to many homeless people than the streets or shelters, despite rats, insects, police sweeps and criminals. Toth discovered lone individuals, families and even small communities living underground. She blithely traversed subterranean New York, and her surprise at discovering violence, drug abuse and disease among the people she visited seems ingenuous.

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