Book reviews aren't always my rappin forte, but I just finished David Maurer's The Big Con. Wow, what a crucial document! My very favorite sort of secret history lesson...
The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man by David W. Maurer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
David Maurer's The Big Con is a bona fide masterpiece of pre-WWII American criminal culture. A fascinating insider survey of the confidence game, its discreet folkways and inimitable characters, as written by a streetwise linguist with deep access and an appreciably wry wit. Originally published in 1940, it should be essential reading to anyone with a sincere interest in historical lowlifes or the grift. This is right up there with You Can't Win, Education of a Felon, David Simon's Homicide, or anything by Joseph Mitchell, or even Luc Sante. And now, I need to go re-watch The Sting.