The Mark Inside

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

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In 1919, Texas rancher J. Frank Norfleet lost everything he had in a stock market swindle--twice. But instead of slinking home in shame, he turned the tables on the confidence men. Armed with a revolver and a suitcase full of disguises, Norfleet set out to capture the five men who had conned him, allowing himself to be ensnared in the con again and again to gather evidence on his enemies. Through the story of Norfleet's ingenious reverse-swindle, Amy Reading reveals the fascinating mechanics behind the big con--an artful performance targeted to the most vulnerable points of human nature--and invites you into the crooked history of a nation on the hustle, constantly feeding the hunger and the hope of the mark more

Product details

  • Paperback | 290 pages
  • 132 x 202 x 18mm | 280g
  • Vintage Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white halftones
  • 0307473597
  • 9780307473592
  • 515,590

Review quote

"Not only does she artfully relate Norfleet's revenge, but [Reading] also places it in the context of scammers dead and living. This is not a history of Ponzi schemes, and it does not reach the heights (or should I say depths) of Bernie Madoff's operation. It is, however, an engaging book for anybody who wants to better understand misconduct in the realm of finance--and the consequences of such misconduct for everybody involved." --Steve Weinberg, "USA Today ""In these pages are brilliant portraits of Florida before retirement groves, of wild-west Denver before the tech boom, and of Texas before the Bush family decamped there from Greenwich, Connecticut. The country was younger then, though not more innocent. . . . A ripping good read." --David M. Shribman, "The Boston Globe " "In the era of Bernie Madoff, Nigerian spam scams, and other sordid rackets, it's heartening to remember that swindling once took a touch more finesse. . . . "The Mark Inside" is an astounding tale, brought to vivid life by an historian who has had to become an expert at distinguishing fact from romantic fiction." --Jim Kelly, "Businessweek" "Reading doesn't swindle her readers. . . . She delivers the goods, with enough scholarly information on America's con men to keep intellectually minded readers from feeling guilty about reading such a whopping good tale." --Doug Childers, "Richmond Times-Dispatch" "Amy Reading brings to life one actual con in a book as riveting as a movie. . . . An amazing piece of historical research that will ensnare the reader." --Arthur T. Vanderbilt, "Newark Star-Ledger " "Engrossing. . . . [Reading] gets to the center of both Norfleet's story and the mass appeal of the con artist as a figure in American culture." --Ian Crouch, "The Paris Review""Daily" "Vibrant characterizations. . . . This narrative of vigilante justice flows like fiction, as con artistry is illuminated throughout, with resonance in tshow more

About Amy Reading

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