Titanic Thompson, American Legend, Kevin Cook (Picador) FACT

He blew into town like a rogue wind that lifted girls' skirts and turned gamblers' pockets inside-out ... "Are you a gambling man?" he'd ask. "Because I am". Alvin was his name but nobody called him that. They called him "Titanic".

The extraordinary story of one of the last of America's big-time gamblers. A man who never learned to read but using his charm, wit, skill and extraordinary facility for calculating the odds won and lost millions. The man on whom Damon Runyon based Sky Masterson, the hero of Guys and Dolls.

Extremely readable and thoroughly enjoyable. Titanic hustles and suckers his way through the fast changing scenery of early 20th century America, name checking just about every sportsman, entertainer and gangster along the way.

Paperback £12.99