“It’s tempting to say that The Mark Inside reads like a historical novel, but really it’s more like a great heist film. Amy Reading entertains while explaining why all Americans—from Ben Franklin to Bernie Madoff—are part trickster and part sucker.”
Scott A. Sandage, author of Born Losers

“Part page-turning crime drama, part juicy tale of vengeance and obsession, part informative social history, and part  intriguing epistemological rumination about literary truth, Amy Reading’s The Mark Inside is always great fun. From the first page Ms. Reading hooks the reader as shrewdly as any of the bunco men she writes about—only she makes good on this enticement, delivering narrative gold.”
Howard Blum, best-selling author of The Floor of Heaven and American Lightning

“An uproarious history of the con game in America.”
Asbury Park Press

“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.”
USA Today

“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.”

“Reading is surely the only member of that Yale doctoral class who published one paragraph in which appear the words “red light district,” “whorehouses,” “fistful of checks,” “scheme,” “goddamn fool,” “tore the room apart,” and “brothel” (twice!). This is an achievement of some note, and someone should alert the alumni magazine immediately. And though Reading makes a show of citing swindler biographies and swindler autobiographies, this is, despite her valiant efforts, less a scholarly study than a ripping good read, a look at the near-noir of American life a century ago.”
Boston Globe

“[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 DoctorowBoing Boing

“With pitch-perfect storytelling and stylish prose, Amy Reading weaves a gripping tale of a grand swindle and even grander act of revenge, a solo manhunt throughout North America that’s as hilarious as it is compelling. Rarely has history been this fun, fast-paced, and fulfilling. The Mark Inside is a book you won’t put down and a story you’ll never forget.”
Karen Abbott, New York Times best-selling author of American Rose and Sin in the Second City

“An astonishing story of one victim’s determined quest to bring down a ring of swindling confidence men.  We have rigged fights, fake stock exchanges, gun battles, jailbreaks, a hardy Texan, an honest dentist and a righteous DA.  Here’s early twentieth-century capitalism—a great humbug run by the ghost of a grinning P.T. Barnum.”
Ann Fabian, author of Card Sharps and Bucket Shops

“This account of con artists and obsessive revenge is replete with dramatic twists and turns. . . . [and] vibrant characterizations. . . . This narrative of vigilante justice flows like fiction, as con artistry is illuminated throughout, with resonance in today’s world of high-tech con artistry.”
Publishers Weekly

“This work, which puts deception in a sociological context from the settlement of the colonies on, is riveting, exciting, and eye-opening. . . . Thoroughly researched and engagingly presented.”


Ten Minutes on C-Span’s BookTV

With Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday

With Merrill E. Piepkorn on Prairie Public Radio’s Hear It Now

With Virginia Prescott on New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth

With Krys Boyd on KERA’s Think

With Tom Mischke on WCCO’s Nite Show

With David Inge on Illinois Public Media’s Focus

With Christy Karras on KUER’s RadioWest

With Bill Jaker on WSKG’s Off the Page


Amarillo Globe-News
Christian Science Monitor
Paris Review


See also:

Barnes and Noble Review
New York Journal of Books
Publishers Weekly
Richmond Times-Dispatch

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