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Cook follows Alvin Thomas from modest Arkansas beginnings to his emergence as “Ti” Titanic Thompson, the most respected hustler in America. Along the way, we're treated to a plethora of fantastic stories, including various outlandish wagers on the usual cards, dice, horses, horseshoes, baseball, and golf, as well as the not-so-usual rock retrieval and walnut tossing. We also learn the origin of Ti's enormous nickname, which involves a very long jump over a very wide pool table.
The book, much like the man himself, is a clever hybrid of history and myth. With insanely precise vision and hand-eye coordination to match, there are times when Ti comes off as more of a mutant superhero than a man. Of course, these brief stints are always punctuated by the not-so-subtle reminders that, more than anything else, Ti was a clever conman with hundreds of tricks up his sleeve.
Ti's life also touched those of many other legends of the time, including Nick “The Greek” Dandolos and Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein, the Jewish mafia kingpin responsible for fixing the 1919 World Series. Furthermore, Titanic served as the inspiration for Guys and Dolls lead Sky Masterson. These bits of history and trivia only add to his immense reputation.
By the end of Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything, Cook's writing style and Barrett's excellent Titanic drawl transforms the listen into a romantic ode to a very different America, one populated only by sharps and marks. Gina Pensiero
A terrific listen for anyone who has ever laid a bet, Titanic Thompson recaptures the colorful times of a singular figure: America's original road gambler.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matthew on 05-07-16
This book is very well written and tells an educational and wisdom filled story about one of the most unique men ever. Highly recommend to any intellectually curious readers who enjoy history, hustling, and hospitality (or lack there of).
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By John Hayes on 10-24-13
You could not make this up!
Would you listen to Titanic Thompson again? Why?
Yes and I have several times now as it is just a great listen, unbelievable character and person, not always legit, but a remarkable story of one mans fight against the odds.
What other book might you compare Titanic Thompson to, and why?
It is one of those books that you listen to and think that this would make a great film!
Which scene did you most enjoy?
The court case against him for murder...
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
you could not make this up!
Any additional comments?
I'm sure that at some stage you think hang on this is ridiculous, how can he have done that, especially the golf bets that he took on. I really enjoyed the listen, great stories, massive bets, he was either very good at what he done or bonkers!