by Julie HaleMarch, 2004
Positively Fifth Street
McManus, an author and professor who teaches a course on the literature and science of poker, offers an inside look at a one-of-a-kind subculture in this best-selling nonfiction book. Sent on assignment in 2000 by Harper's magazine to report on the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, McManus initially hopes to find out more about the strange murder of Ted Binion, the tournament's controversial host, and to get an update on the role of women in the game. But, like many who visit Vegas, McManus is tempted by the tables and soon uses his Harper's advance money to participate in the series. Risking everything for the love of the game and a good story McManus stays at it for 10 days, and what results is a skillfully crafted, suspenseful portrait of casino life. But the author also presents a wonderful, personal exploration of the nature of risk and human competition that's sure to resonate with readers.