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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The Big Con could not be written today. In the thirties, when David Maurer began to interview the likes of Limehouse Chappie and Larry the Lug, confidence men were still innocent and boastful enough to share their argot and schemes with an outsider. Maurer, a professor of linguistics, mined the recollections with obvious relish: To him, "Of all the grifters, the confidence man is the aristocrat." His compendium of the rag, ropers, and the cold poke was published in 1940 and quickly dissolved into a world where small time swindles seemed less invigorating than battlefield heroics. Revived intermittently by skin game enthusiasts (it served as the chief source for The Sting), Maurer's book became a kind of underground classic. Low Life denizen Luc Sante, who begged publishers to revive this guide to fleecers, now gets his wish. And we, happy beneficiaries, get his zestful introduction.
— Sal Cordaro