'Of all the gifters, the confidence man is the aristocrat', wrote David Maurer, a proposition he definitively proved in "The Big Con". A professor of linguistics who specialised in underworld argot, Maurer won the trust of hundreds of swindlers. They let him in on not simply their language, but their folkwrys and the astonishingly complex and elaborate schemes whereby unsuspecting marks, hooked by their own greed and dishonesty were 'taken off' - i. e. , cheated - of thousands upon thousands of dollars. The products of amazing ingenuity, crack timing and attention to every last detail, these 'big cons', as thoroughly scripted and rehearsed as any Hollywood production, richly deserve Maurer's description as 'the most effective swindling device which man has ever invented. "The Big Con" is a treasure trove of American lingo (the write, the rag, the pay-off, ropers, shills, the cold poke and the convincer) and indeliable characters (Yellow Kid Weil, Barney the Patch, the Seldom-Seen Kid, Limehouse Chappie and Larry the Lug). First published in 1940, "The Big Con" makes compelling reading whilst being the most authentic and utterly authoritative study on the con artist and his game.
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(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
First published in 1940 and out of print for 50 years, this gets into the minds of confidence men and behind the scenes of confidence tricks, from their beginnings in the dust bowls of 19th-century America into the big cities as the games got more complex, the protagonists more daring and the 'marks' (victims) more gullible. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » The confidence man is the aristocrat of the "grifters" and this is the story of his racket, the men who play it and how. A skilled hand and a versatile wit form his tools. Maurer illustrates with true cases, past and present:- the big games, the Wire, the Ray and the Payoff (two racing rackets - one stock market racket). Explanatory job, of interest to those who like the true story behind crime manoeuvers, but rather specialized in market. (Kirkus Reviews)
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