Titanic Thompson

07 March 2011

Titanic Thompson is one of my favourite books of this year and it’s heartening to see that reviewers agree!  Here is a sprinkling of some of the fantastic recent reviews of this rip-roaring biography of one of the most charismatic characters in twentieth-century America.

 

'Ever heard of Titanic Thompson?  Me neither, until I read this enthralling and compulsively readable account of his life.' Independent on Sunday 

'Titanic Thompson was one of America’s great cardsharps and con men, and boy, did I fall for him like a sucker. It is some comfort, having gorged on Kevin Cook’s delicious biography of the amiable cad who swindled, outmanoeuvred and hoodwinked America for more than six decades, to realise I am not the first...a celebration of a self-made man who thrived in a self-made country.  Titanic Thompson was a uniquely American hero – an amiable bandit who lived on his wits; a John Dillinger of the card table – and, from Cook’s rich and eventful account, one cannot help but love him.' The Sunday Times

'Ridiculously engaging' 4*s Metro

'Thompson's life is a blazing, wild whirlwind that barely slows down even when he ends up in a care home, waving $20 bills at his nurses asking them to undress.  It's only February.  A more colourful, exciting biography might emerge this year, but I wouldn't put money on it.' The Times 

'I loved this book.  Poker, dice, golf, roulette, it didn't matter – the man pulled off some hilarious victories...His spectacular life story unfolds against the backdrop of the 1920s and, of course, the Wall Street Crash – and we remember that the whole economy, perhaps the entire American way of life, is based on the values of the hustler and the sharp.'  Reader’s Digest 

'A morality tale of sorts, perhaps, but none the worse for that and the story is told here with just the right pace and tone.  Cook is good on the characters – Minnesota Fats, Capone, Rothstein, Hogan, Trvino – who washed through Thompson's life.  He is good, too, on the speakeasies, hotel rooms, county jails, desert fairways and river-boats that formed its inevitable background.'   Spectator 

'Another amazing life, this time that of Titanic Thompson, in a brilliant biography delivered in clipped, funny prose.  A remarkable story, well told.'  4*s Big Issue

'Kevin Cook tells his life story as a sporting biography, offering card-by-card and stroke-by-stroke accounts of his greatest heists.'  Daily Express

'Kevin Cook’s whirlwind biography of Thomas – or "Titanic Thompson" as he was known because "he sinks everyone" – matches its subject in energy and an ability to go the distance.  And it’s some distance.' Financial Times 

'Kevin Cook tells his life story as a sporting biography, offering card-by-card and stroke-by-stroke accounts of his greatest heists.'  Daily Express

'here is [Titanic Thompson’s] life written up in quick-stepping high style.'  Saga 

 

 

 

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