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Lee Trevino
'Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything' by Kevin Cook
'Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything' by Kevin Cook

Alvin Clarence Thomas, a.k.a. Titanic Thompson, was a gambler and golf hustler who died at age 82 on May 19, 1974, but whose outlaw career really flourished, as Kevin Cook records with breezy relish in his biography "Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything," between 1920 and 1950. That period was a golden age in the history of the American confidence game.It sometimes seems that it's always a golden age for fraudsters and hucksters, and the idea that looking at their lives offers a kind of shadow history of the culture's greedy essence isn't new or original, but Cook explores it nicely here. Titanic Thompson is as emblematically American as Babe Ruth or Mark Twain; it's just that...

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