Master swindler George Graham Rice operated at the zenith of America's golden age of con artistry with plenty of illicit competition, but he stood apart from all others thanks to the sheer audacity, pure nerve and nefarious brilliance of his scams.Read more...
Master swindler George Graham Rice operated at the zenith of America's golden age of con artistry with plenty of illicit competition, but he stood apart from all others thanks to the sheer audacity, pure nerve and nefarious brilliance of his scams. Against the dark rise of American greed in the early 20th Century into the Roaring Twenties, the dapper but devious "GG" feasted on a nation of gullible prey with the flair of circus showman P.T. Barnum and on a financial scale comparable to modern fraudster Bernie Madoff.
Born Jacob Simon Herzig in 1870, he later changed his name - just as he would frequently change his swindles - to make himself into one of the most imaginatively successful villains in American history. With only seven dollars to his name, Rice parlayed a chance horse racing tip into millions, lost it all to pride and ego, then won it back many times over. Vilified by securities regulators as the "Jackal of Wall Street," he sparked riots in Manhattan's financial district by perfecting the art of "bucket shop" trading with the sole purpose of bilking the public blind. From the lawless frontier of the Gold Rush to his lust for dizzying riches on Wall Street, GG's supreme knowledge of "sucker psychology" empowered him to orchestrate everything from street corner rip-offs for pocket change to elaborately scripted gambling hoaxes for hundreds of thousands of dollars, all while being vilified by old-guard profiteers like J.P. Morgan and befriended by gangsters like Arnold Rothstein.
In My Adventures with Your Money, T.D. Thornton has given us an unforgettable real-life version of The Sting with one of America's most colorful con men at its center.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-31
- Reviewer: Staff
Thornton (Not By a Long Shot: A Season at a Hard Luck Horse Track) explores the fascinating life and career of notorious con artist George Graham Rice, who made a name for himself as a hustler, writer, and stock speculator in the early 20th century. Thornton depicts Rice as an uncompromising crook who was drawn to the idea of deception and considered get-rich-quick profiteering an art form. Set against the backdrop of the Roaring ’20s and its subculture of con men, this dazzling portrait traces Rice’s progress from small-time grifts such as inflating penny stocks to later being known as the “Jackal of Wall Street.” Rice also endured numerous arrests and prison stints, at one point even sharing a cell with Al Capone. Thornton successfully transforms this unsavory character into a charming, irresistible anti-hero. This easy-to-read tale of survival during the earliest part of the 20th century will make readers hungry for more grifts. Agent: David Patterson, Foundary Literary + Media. (Nov.)