Today, we talk about Bernard Madoff, but in the early 20th century, they talked about George Graham Rice. Born Jacob Simon Herzig in 1870, he later changed his name - just as he would frequently change his swindles to make himself into one of the most colorfully successful villains in American history. T.D. Thornton now tells the story of Rice's life as it unfolded against the dark rise of American greed in the early 20th century. In the early 1900s, Rice made market-manipulation killings valued at billions in today's dollars by inventing fictitious boom towns in Death Valley and flagrantly exaggerating worthless mining claims throughout the West. As a shameless racetrack tipster, Rice cultivated a national following of 100,000 daily subscribers who paid for the privilege of being tipped to bet on hopeless nags.
Vilified by securities regulators as the "Jackal of Wall Street," Rice sparked riots in Manhattan's financial district by perfecting the art of "bucket shop" trading with the sole purpose of bilking the public blind. He was capable of pulling off everything from street corner rip-offs for pocket change to elaborately scripted gambling hoaxes, all while being vilified by old-guard profiteers like J.P. Morgan and befriended by gangsters like Arnold Rothstein.
In My Adventures With Your Money, T.D. Thornton has given us a real-life version of The Sting with one of America's most colorful con men at it's center.
Thornton (Not By a Long Shot: A Season at a Hard Luck Horse Track) explores the fascinating life and career of notorious con artist George Graham Rice, who made a name for himself as a hustler, writer, and stock speculator in the early 20th century. Thornton depicts Rice as an uncompromising crook who was drawn to the idea of deception and considered get-rich-quick profiteering an art form. Set against the backdrop of the Roaring '20s and its subculture of con men, this dazzling portrait traces Rice's progress from small-time grifts such as inflating penny stocks to later being known as the "Jackal of Wall Street." Rice also endured numerous arrests and prison stints, at one point even sharing a cell with Al Capone. Thornton successfully transforms this unsavory character into a charming, irresistible anti-hero. This easy-to-read tale of survival during the earliest part of the 20th century will make readers hungry for more grifts.