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Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi Paperback – Facsimile, February 1, 1996
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From Library Journal
As the title to this 1887 volume reveals, Devol was a riverboat gambler who made fortunes, and even if only half of his many tall stories are true, he lived a remarkable life. He begins the story at age ten when he ran away from his Ohio home to join the crew of a riverboat. There he learned not only about being a sailor but how to cheat at cards. Though it should be taken with a grain of salt, this nonetheless makes for fun reading.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
His tales do take on a repetitive aspect, and why I do recommend to take his tales in short doses. Trying to read it straight through would likely dull the senses and probably bore you to tears. I would read about half a dozen anecdotes, then move on to another book. I did gain quite a bit of insight; however, Devol casually uses gambler slang without explicit explanation, yet over time, from hints and inferences, I began understanding exactly what he meant from his various euphemisms and double-talk. It just takes persistence and attention, which once again, is not easily come by with a straight read-through.
All in all, I certainly would heartily recommend this fascinating look at the gambling life along the Mississippi. Not quite engagingly narrated as other travel/life autobiographies, such as Twain or Dickens, but for those who find books such as the classic underbelly exposes by Herbert Asbury entertaining, as well as added flavor of understanding when reading off-hand references in period books, FORTY YEARS A GAMBLER certainly worth a long-term study.
After reading this book you'll really get a feel for how life was on the Mississippi. Only bone I'd pick is as it's written to be a lot of small stories, he can tend to repeat himself, and sometimes you kind of wish the writing was tighter.
Still, you can't beat the experience for the price!