Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $2.59 (15%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by giggil
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss Paperback – May 21, 2001


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.36
$2.94 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss + How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts + Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk
Price for all three: $51.31

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (May 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156010704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156010702
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the legal system, whoever tells the best story wins. But when two "workaday English teachers"Awho happen to be the writers Frederick Barthelme (Bob the Gambler) and Steven Barthelme (And He Tells the Horse the Whole Story)Agamble away their $250,000 inheritance in a few years and are indicted for conspiracy to defraud the casino where they were regulars, the tale they have to tell is far more richly complicatedAand hauntingAthan any their lawyer could present. Their narrative seductively juxtaposes the stark loss of their parents, their family's "psychological arithmetic" and the "miraculous multiplication" of winning at the blackjack tables, moving fluently between an account of the brothers' fall into addiction and their memories of a family life that was like "a lovely old-fashioned movie with snappy dialogue and surprising developments, high drama and low comedy, heroes and villains, wit and beauty and regret." By turns dazzlingly canny and achingly abject, the Barthelmes, who write in a single voice, lure the reader into the intimacy of their self-deception. Intoxicated by their brinksmanship and their clever comebacks, readers will hope against hope they'll fight their way back from staggering losses. In retrospect, the brothers' gaming philosophyA"We would have been willing to win, but we were content to lose"Awas sustaining in the casino's mirror world where "money isn't money," although, as the authors wryly observe, it crumbled when they were awaiting a legal verdict. (Nov.) FYI: Filed a few weeks after the publication of Bob the Gambler in 1997, the charges against the brothers were dismissed by the Mississippi State Circuit Court in August 1999.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

At first, this dark memoir seems like a simple confessional about how two fiftyish writer-academics lost a quarter-million-dollar inheritance in the late-night world of Mississippi riverboat casinos. (In 1997, the brothers were charged with cheating a Mississippi casino and still await trial.) As book-smart gamblers, the Barthelmes indulge in overtipping and betting ludicrous amounts; they are smarter-than-thou, which is their downfall. Perhaps some readers will see the deaths of the Barthelmes' parents as sufficient cause for their fall from grace; faced with real pain, the brothers prove inept at problem solving. But the gambling, compulsiveness, and midlife boredom predate their parents' deaths; and the gambling snowballed because of their new-found money, which the brothers burn out of resentment of their Napoleonic father. Beautifully evoking the gamblers' addiction, their mesmerizing account is best read as a novel Camus might have imagined, with the writer/protagonists as their own lost characters. A work of high art; enthusiastically recommended.
-AMarty Soven, Woodside, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Frederick Barthelme was a founding member, with Mayo Thompson, of the ongoing art/psychedelic rock band Red Krayola, and a painter and conceptual artist in Houston and New York in the late 1960s. His work in that area appears in many of the seminal publications of the movement including Lucy Lippard's The Dematerialization of the Art Object, Donald Karshan's exhibition catalog Conceptual Art and Conceptual Aspects, several of Seth Siegelaub's projects, and other books and monographs on the movement. In the mid-seventies he studied fiction with John Barth at The Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, from which he received his Master of Arts degree. From 1977-2010 he taught fiction writing and directed the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He won numerous awards including individual grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and diverse grants and awards as editor of Mississippi Review, the literary magazine he edited in print 1977-2010, and for the independent electronic magazine Mississippi Review Online which he founded and edited 1995-2010. He is author of sixteen books of fiction and nonfiction including Moon Deluxe, Second Marriage, Tracer, Two Against One, Natural Selection, The Brothers, Painted Desert, Bob the Gambler, Elroy Nights, and Waveland. He provided texts for Susan Lipper's 1999 book of photographs, Trip, and is an occasional contributor to The New Yorker. He has published fiction and nonfiction in GQ, Fiction, Kansas Quarterly, Epoch, Ploughshares, Playboy, Esquire, TriQuarterly, North American Review, The New York Times, Frank, The Southern Review, the Boston Globe Magazine, and elsewhere. His work has been translated into nine languages. His memoir, Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss, was co-authored with his brother Steven, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The same honor was awarded his retrospective collection of stories, The Law of Averages, published by Counterpoint in November 2000. His novel Elroy Nights, published in October 2003 by Counterpoint, was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and was one of five finalists for the 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2009 he published Waveland, a novel set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast a year after Katrina. In 2010 he won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, and is presently editor and publisher of the online literary publication Blip Magazine and is at work on new writing projects including a new novel for Little, Brown.


Customer Reviews

A wonderfully entertaining story, beautifully told.
David E Hillhouse
They have no concept of money management and often spent hours chasing their losses with larger bets just trying to get back to even.
patrick griffin
Talking about excessive, out-of-control gambling is only part of the story.
Mike Gosling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Binx Bolling on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This slim book by the Barthelme Brothers, recounting their descent into gambling hell, is both elegantly written and horrifying. After all, the Barthelmes are college professors and literary stars, and if their lives could veer out of control so suddenly and so badly, then so could yours and mine. The brothers end up throwing away all their money, including a $300,000 inheritance, at a riverboat casino during the year or so after their parents' deaths. Then -- as if the story couldn't get any more gruesome -- they are indicted on charges of cheating the casino! I've spent a lot of time in casinos myself, and can vouch for the accuracy of the Barthelmes' portrait of the casino scene: the mood of the place and the behavior of the various participants are captured perfectly. They are especially good at describing the feelings that run through a gambler while winning and losing. The only shortcoming of the book is the repetitious (and sometimes shallow) analysis of their behavior. Or maybe I've just read one too many books where it all goes back to Mommy and Daddy. I would like them to have stayed more focused on the story, and allow the reader to provide some of the analysis for himself. Also, if the brothers had waited a few months longer before publishing, they would have been able to provide the conclusion to this story, which, as it stands, is anti-climactic. Nevertheless, I would put this on a rather short shelf of great gambling literature, maybe not too far away from Dostoyevsky's "The Gambler."'
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've spent as much time gambling recklessly as searching for the words to explain why. They'd escaped me all these years. Maybe after a big loss I'd come to some partly lucid but entirely fleeting realization driving home in the dark from the boats thinking about what to do next. One or two movies (most remarkably "The Gambler", especially its ending) and books (same, by Doestyevsky) show and talk about it deeply, but this book is different. It details what it's like to gamble like a fool and reveals the fool's motivation: Do it again and again until all the money's gone. Not to sound like a book jacket but a few paragraphs made me wiggle unconfortably in my chair while reading it. (Which I did, beginning to end, at Borders -- not because I was too cheap to buy it (well maybe that's part of it) but because I didn't want to put it down.) I saw myself, and if you've ever watched your whole life turn with a bust card, you will too. Finally gambling's seduced someone with a supreme command of our written language. If you're reading this, thank you. Both of you.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Helene Hoffman on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was excellent: a memoir by two brothers who lost $250,000 in riverboat casinos. They describe in detail how they would spend 12 hours or more losing thousands in the slot machines, or, more often, at blackjack. And how it escalated slowly, and then how the addiction got completely out-of-hand after both of their elderly parents died. Apparently, their pattern on each gambling spree was to lose a lot, and then spend the rest of the night (and sometimes day) winning back the lost amount. What amazed me is that even after they were indicted for a crime allegedly committed while gambling, they continued their addiction, albeit in another casino. Astounding! This memoir is remarkable on many counts. For one, it is beautifully written (both authors are writing professors), and also, they attempt to analyze their behavior, the big "WHY"? I commend them for revealing so many intimate details. It seems that perhaps the loss of their father, who had been a brilliant architect but an insensitive father to both, put them over the edge. Raised not to show feelings, coupled with their belief that their parents were their only true "community", perhaps put them in a hard, "no win" position when they died. And the only way to "win" (or attempt to) was at the casino. They are excellent at drawing out the allure of gambling - that, no matter win or lose, they were finally "feeling" something at the blackjack table. A sad tale of an attempt to deal with loss in a desperate, impossible way.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine gave me his copy of Double Down to read one morning at work, and once I started reading it I didn't put it down until I was finished. Anyone who has pulled a slot will immediately connect with these two brothers and have some understanding of what they experienced. Their losses could have been $30 instead of $300K+ and it wouldn't make any difference. The hook is in the Barthelme Bros thoughtful observations about the psychology that drives their compulsion - the hardness of a father who still has them in his grips, even from the grave + the mid-life search for that one big score . . . again, and again and again.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As someone with a father who was impossible to please, I can really understand why these two brothers were searching so hard for success any way they could find it - even from strangers dealing cards. I can't think of a more appropriate ending than one where the dollars that were so carefully saved by that father are gambled away still searching for his approval. Their run in with the law is really secondary to the life sentence handed down from their father - always feeling that they don't yet have it quite right.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?