English | 2016 | eISBN: 178720135X, ASIN: B01MG5EJK6 | 583 Pages | EPUB | 12 MB
From the great raconteur of the American underworld, and author of The Gangs of New York, comes Sucker's Progress: An Information History of Gambling in America.
From Midwestern Riverboats to East Coast Racetracks, Herbert Asbury explores the legal and illegal history of gambling in pre-WWII America. Describing notorious gambling havens like Chicago and New Orleans, as well as lesser-known outposts in cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio, Asbury examines the gambling houses, big and small, which peppered the American landscape. Also presented are the lives of some of America's most famous gamblers, including Mike McDonald, John Morrissey, and Richard Canfield, as well as their infamous counterparts like "Canada Bill" and "Charley Black Eyes," men who made their names as grifters and con men. Asbury also explores the games these men played, describing the rules and origins of dozens of dice and card games. From $1 lottery tickets to thousand dollar pokes antes, America's love of gambling thrives today, but it was during Asbury's era that gambling was established as an American passion.
"Asbury embarked on what seems in retrospect an extraordinary mission: to document the entire underworld of America, from New Orleans to San Francisco??.His studies of gambling, of the racial politics of the New Orleans French Quarter, and of the history of Chicago crime remain monuments to an ambition that was then confined to the fringes of pop history. Sucker's Progress, his history of gambling and swindling in America, is dense with facts about a subject one would have thought persisted only as rumour and tall tale."-A. GOPNIK, The New Yorker
One of the best American books of its kind. He tells the story of the New York underworld of the past century, and his narrative is excellently presented in a book adorned with amusing pictures from the weeklies and newspapers."-E. Pearson, The Sat. Rev. of Books