Issue 245
May 23 - May 29 2005
Volume 5
page 3

Potpourri of new titles arrive for gamblers in May
By Howard Schwartz

To say that publishers are paying more attention to the subject of gambling than ever before is an understatement. Certainly poker is yet to peak in popularity, but I've never seen as many new books coming off the presses within weeks of each other geared for players, researchers, those interested in history or the wild and woolly characters of past generations. So hold onto your hats! Here comes a quick rundown on recent arrivals and who they might appeal to as a fascinating summer read for you or as a gift for a friend or relative:

Palm Springs Confidential by Howard Johns (299 pages, hardbound, $35). One of the classiest-looking coffee table sized, packed-with-pictures book to look at the rich and famous of past and present, with a combination of history, trivia, gossip and nostalgia. Movie and TV stars from the 1920s through modern times, many who appeared in Las Vegas as well, fill the pages. Nicely indexed with a map of the city, the book should truly explain what makes Palm Springs a very special place for those with dough.

Paddy Whacked by T.J. English (468 pages, hardbound, $27.95). Subtitled The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster, this work, by the author of The Westies (also about the Irish mob in New York) covers the period from the 1850s to modern times, including gambling. The work covers Whitey Bulger; Legs Diamond; Owney Madden among others and contains 10 pages of resources and a detailed index of places and names. It’s a fantastic reference source with bad guys, good guys, powerful unknowns and plenty of history from coast to coast. Paddy Whacked is guaranteed to be a vital reference source for another decade.

Chance by Amir Aczel (161 pages, hardbound, $21). Written by an internationally known mathematician, the book covers an enticing area every risk-taker is constantly aware of (along with luck). The book examines probability theory, which measures the likelihood of a random event. Chapters focus on the independence of events; random walks and the gambler's ruin; Pascal's Triangle; the birthday problem; coincidences; Baye's Theorem among other areas.

King of the Jews (The Biography of Arnold Rothstein) by Nick Tosches (318 pages, hardbound, $25.95). More than 70 years ago (1928) someone shot and killed Rothstein. Did he owe money and refuse to pay? Did he fix the 1919 World Series (the infamous Black Sox scandal) or just have inside information? Although not indexed and lacking photos, the book is still a fascinating read because it traces Rothstein's era, the very special time (pre-stock market crash) that included the Roaring 20s, the lifestyles, what New York was like then; Rothstein's family life; his role in helping organized crime actually organize; his biggest betting coups. If you've heard about Rothstein or read other books including The Big Bankroll, about the man, this one will still fill in some factual gaps.

Crime School: Money Laundering by Chris Mathers (240 pages, paperbound, $16.95). The link between money laundering and the criminal underworld has rarely been examined as well by anyone other than Mathers. He explains the history of laundering; how crimes are planned, executed and sometimes detected. The focus is the link between organized crime and terrorism. He covers how casinos; motorcycle gangs; strips clubs and brothels; the Russians; banks; false identity and identity theft come into play; along with currency exchange; going offshore; private banking; plus what to expect if you're caught. The author is an international expert on money laundeering and has worked under cover.

About the Author

Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," is the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he has held since 1979. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.


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