author of The Mark Inside
In 1919, Texas rancher J. Frank Norfleet lost everything 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.
Norfleet’s ingenious reverse-swindle reveals the crooked history of a nation on the hustle, constantly feeding the hunger and the hope of the mark inside.
Most scholarship reads like a trip to the dentist.
The Mark Inside reads like a trip to the track.”
David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
What critics are saying
[P]erhaps the best book I’ve ever read on con artists and con artistry…She writes with the lyricism of a magic realist, but with the rigor of a historian…[A]n engrossing and illuminating account of the moment at which speculation — not thrift — became the order of the day in America, and it’s thrilling and hilarious by turns and when you’re done, you understand the past and the present better.
Cory Doctorow / Boing Boing
Not only does she artfully relate Norfleet’s revenge, but also places it in the context of scammers dead and living…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.
Riveting, exciting, and eye-opening. . . . Thoroughly researched and engagingly presented.
No one will feel conned, however, buying The Mark Inside. It is an astounding tale, brought to vivid life by an historian who has had to become an expert at distinguishing fact from romantic fiction.
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