“Blacklegs, Card Sharps, and Confidence Men is the most significant collection of riverlore published in decades. Thomas Ruys Smith’s wide-ranging anthology includes selections from high and low culture, demonstrating the evolution of gambling from a widely feared part of the early river trade to a romanticized American cultural icon. This collection is essential to understanding the history of gambling in America and solidifies Smith’s reputation as the leading cultural historian of American river life.”
—Thomas C. Buchanan, author of Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World
“The Mississippi riverboat gambler ranks alongside the mountain man, frontier scout, patriot militiaman, borderlands outlaw, and cowboy as an archetypal American folk hero. Yet the scholarly literature of the riverboat gambler is sparse compared to that of his folkloric colleagues. Thomas Ruys Smith helps to correct this slight in Blacklegs, Card Sharps, and Confidence Men. Smith has gathered together a splendid collection of both literary and historical writings (and combinations thereof) that tell the exciting story of this nineteenth-century icon. Scholars and laymen alike will enjoy sitting back and reading these engaging tales.”
—Michael Allen, author of Rodeo Cowboys In The North American Imagination
Available now from Amazon.