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

Extended Audio Sample The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con, by Amy Reading Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (208 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amy Reading Narrator: Richard McGonagle Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Nancy | 2/12/2014

    " For someone that is really interested in how the "con" began and works this would be an excellent read. It was to detailed for me and not as much fiction as I thought. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kate | 2/10/2014

    " Received a free copy from bookbrowse.com First Impressions. This a nonfiction account of con artists and swindles from the 1910s-20s with a prticular emphasis on J. Frank Norfleet, a Texan conned out of $45,000. He spent the next several years capturing the five men who stole his money and then the rest of his life helping arrest con artists and other criminals (all while remaining a private citizen and not a member of law enforcement). Amy Reading tells his story against the backdrop of a large enterprise of con artists and swindlers who are eventually brought down by the Denver District Attorney. Corruption is rampant among most law enforcement agencies and Norfleet helps in the takedown of 25 criminals and then at the subsequent trial. Originally an academic idea, this book is at times a bit dry and could have been more interesting and captivating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Liss Capello | 2/3/2014

    " I wish I could remember why I originally decided to read this book - it's not my usual thing at all, and parts of it dragged on longer than my interest level really warranted. Just the same, the kernel of a story here is really interesting - con men, or confidence men, and the way they swindled their marks in the early twentieth century - and the story of a few particular marks, and how they were revenged. The best thing I learned from reading this was that so much of the language of con artistry has become pervasive and watered down. There was also a lot of fascinating discussion about the shift in perspective around this time from speculation as a sin and akin to gambling to the more modern mindset of investment as being a legitimate business prospect, something that everybody can (and should) virtuously participate in. Never really stopped to query that before but it meshes perfectly with some other things I've learned recently about shifts in cultural attitudes from the early 1800s through today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kris | 2/2/2014

    " I guess this book was interesting, being a history of the con job. But the author tends towards digression, and it just kept losing me. So, informative but not engaging. "

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