The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con

The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con

by Amy Reading
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Overview

The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading

In 1919, Texas rancher J. Frank Norfleet lost everything he had in a stock market swindle. He did what many other marks did—he went home, borrowed more money from his family, and returned for another round of swindling.  
 
Only after he lost that second fortune did he reclaim control of his story. Instead of crawling back home in shame, he vowed to hunt down the five men who had conned him. Armed with a revolver and a suitcase full of disguises, Norfleet crisscrossed the country from Texas to Florida to California to Colorado, posing as a country hick and allowing himself to be ensnared by confidence men again and again to gather evidence on his enemies. Within four years, Frank Norfleet had become nationally famous for his quest to out-con the con men.
 
Through Norfleet’s ingenious reverse-swindle, Amy Reading reveals the mechanics behind the scenes of the big con—a piece of performance art targeted to the most vulnerable points of human nature. Reading shows how the big con has been woven throughout U.S. history. From the colonies to the railroads and the Chicago Board of Trade, America has always been a speculative enterprise, and bunco men and bankers alike have always understood that the common man was perfectly willing to engage in minor fraud to get a piece of the expanding stock market—a trait that made him infinitely gullible.
 
Amy Reading’s fascinating account of con artistry in America and Frank Norfleet’s wild caper invites you into the crooked history of a nation on the hustle, constantly feeding the hunger and the hope of the mark inside.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307957610
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/06/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 604,939
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Amy Reading holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.

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The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Drvalu More than 1 year ago
If you have a fascination with the confidence game, then this is a must read. Based in-part on the autobiography of J. Frank Norfleet, a Texas rancher in 1919 and the con he revenged, the author takes us through an historical examination of swindles, schemes and cons from early America including paper money counterfeiiting, wallet drops, stock swindles, horse racing and the delayed telegraph. The subject was the basis for Amy Reading's doctoral thesis (she appeared in an NPR radio interviw)and it shows in the depth of detail and the engaging writing style of the book. If you liked the movie, "The Sting", then you will thorougly enjoy this excellent read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The setup for this story is terrific, so I expected a great book. Before I was 1/3 through, I gave up on the book entirely, having lost all interest. Sorry, author, but better editing would have helped this book tremendously.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago