Cowboys Full (Abridged): The Story of Poker Audiobook, by James McManus Play Audiobook Sample

Download Cowboys Full (Abridged): The Story of Poker Audiobook

Cowboys Full (Abridged): The Story of Poker Audiobook, by James McManus Play Audiobook Sample
FlexPass™ Price: $15.95
$7.95 for new members!(Includes UNLIMITED podcast listening) Add to Cart learn more
Regular Price: $19.99 Add to Cart
Author: James McManus Narrator: Oliver Wyman Publisher: Macmillan Audio Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781427208002

Publisher Description

From James McManus, author of the bestselling Positively Fifth Street, comes the definitive story of the game that, more than any other, reflects who we are and how we operate.

Cowboys Full is the story of poker, from its roots in China, the Middle East, and Europe to its ascent as a globalbut especially an Americanphenomenon. It describes how early Americans took a French parlor game and, with a few extra cards and an entrepreneurial spirit, turned it into a national craze by the time of the Civil War. From the kitchen-table games of ordinary citizens to its influence on generals and diplomats, poker has gone hand in hand with our national experience. Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama have deployed poker and its strategies to explain policy, to relax with friends, to negotiate treaties and crises, and as a political networking tool. The ways we all do battle and business are echoed by poker tactics: cheating and thwarting cheaters, leveraging uncertainty, bluffing and sussing out bluffers, managing risk and reward.

Cowboys Full shows how what was once accurately called the cheater's game has become amostly honest contest of cunning, mathematical precision, and luck. It explains how poker, formerly dominated by cardsharps, is now the most popular card game in Europe, East Asia, Australia, South America, and cyberspace, as well as on television. It combines colorful history with firsthand experience from today's professional tour. And it examines poker's remarkable hold on American culture, from paintings by Frederic Remington to countless poker novels, movies, and plays. Braiding the thrill of individual hands with new ways of seeing poker's relevance to our military, diplomatic, business, and personal affairs, Cowboys Full is sure to become the classic account of America's favorite pastime.

Download and start listening now!


  • “McManus writes with verve and knowledge…Entertaining, informative, and genial…A copious, lively account of poker’s past and present.”

    - New York Times Book Review
  • “A captivating history of [poker] from a writer who happens to be one of its best players.”

    - San Francisco Chronicle
  • “If there were a World Series of Poker Writing, then James McManus just won the main event. It’s not only that McManus delivers the definitive history of the game with Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, it’s that he’s so entertaining doing it that even non-pokeristas will get swept along for the ride.”

    - Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “In his colossal new history of the game, Cowboys Full, journalist James McManus casts the old-fashioned game in a whole new light with insightful, mesmerizing tales about its origins, the bizarre cast of historical figures, underworld creatures and celebrity players who have played it, and its lasting influence on politics, warfare, and other national spectacles.”

    - Denver Post
  • “McManus has a writer’s eye for anecdotes and details that bring the material to life. The book covers a lot of ground, but thanks to McManus’ particular blend of skills, it does so with insight, clarity, and credibility.”

    - Seattle Times
  • “The book is sensational. McManus is a writer of immense talent, deft with language and with an ear that seems to catch all the right conversations. And he has a cast of characters that would be the envy of the most imaginative novelist.”

    - Chicago Tribune
  • “Cowboys Full is a deal-me-in delight. Starting with a sweeping survey of the history of the game and its role in American culture, McManus ends with a smart, insiders’ analysis of how poker has been—and should be—played…Stuffed with anecdotes…Beyond its importance as a model and metaphor for American culture, society, and politics, Cowboys Full demonstrates, poker is fascinating in its own right.”

    - Boston Globe
  • “Passion is enlivening, and authors who have it draw us in. We want it because without it we would be angels, and no one, really, wants that. James McManus is passionate about poker, not a game for angels but one once associated with sin and played in murky rooms by rough men…[It] teaches us like no other game can how to survive in life, maybe even win more than we lose.”

    - Dallas Morning News
  • “A satisfying, useful overview.”

    - Kirkus Reviews


  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Customer Reviews

Write a Review
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " Surprisingly dry for a book on poker. Was hoping for more salacious details instead of an academic justification on poker's place in the history books. "

    - David, 2/8/2011
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Not quite as good as his earlier book, "Positively Fifth Street", but that was a narrative where this is a straight-up history. Still, a worthwhile read if you're interested in the history of poker. "

    - Craig, 1/26/2011
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Personal sketch, anecdotal to a fault, very good story. Wish it had been better. "

    - Michael, 11/5/2010
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " It's a fine history book, but they could cut in half and have a good book. It gets tiring reading about every President and how he played poker. "

    - Sharen, 10/11/2010
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " A fun, fascinating look at the history of the game of poker, from the games it evolved from to the internet era. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the game. "

    - Josh, 10/1/2010
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " as a poker player this looks to be a goodread "

    - Brian, 9/16/2010
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Comprehensive to the extreme, this book is exhausting and was impossible for me to finish. I read 80% of it though, and was stunned by how many flimsy associations McManus can draw between poker and unrelated spheres of life. This book should be 150 pages shorter and focus on poker. "

    - Dave, 7/7/2010
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Excellent history of poker. Very heavy on historical figures who played poker and how it affected their major decisions. "

    - Captain_Howdy, 4/21/2010
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I was very surprised by this book. It was very readable, full of wonderful history and just plain fun reading ... Sometimes these kinds of books are fairly dry, but this one was very compelling. "

    - Eleanor, 4/6/2010

About the Author

James McManus is the author of the bestselling poker tale Positively Fifth Street, as well as various other novels, including Going to the Sun, winner of the Carl Sandburg Award. In 2001 he received the Peter Lisagor Award for sports journalism. His writing appears in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Esquire, and Harper’s and has been widely anthologized. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the Narrator

Oliver Wyman is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator. He has won five Audie Awards from the Audio Publisher’s Association, fourteen Earphone Awards, and two Listen Up Awards from Publisher’s Weekly. He was named a 2008 Best Voice in Nonfiction & Culture by AudioFile magazine. He has appeared on stage as well as in film and television, and he is a veteran voice actor who can be heard in numerous cartoons and video games. He is one of the founders of New York City’s Collective Unconscious theater, and his performances include the award-winning “reality play” Charlie Victor Romeo and A. R. McElhinney’s cult classic film A Chronicle of Corpses.