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Joe Goodbody Introduces a Book About a Barracuda: Con-Man Named Parker Hardin French (1826-1878)


“Kentucky Barracuda: Parker Hardin French” Subtitled: “The Notorious Scoundrel and Delightful Rogue of Antebellum and Civil War America.” The book is a “Catch Me If You Can” historical biography of an infamous rascal of the mid-19th Century, a quirky history featuring a crafty, charismatic, cunning, and charming Machiavellian. It is also a pathologically intriguing profile of a barracuda--con man, crook, hustler, and swindler.

Based on well-documented research the author reveals that: “Parker Hardin French (1826-1878) was infamous in his time and well-known to political leaders, the press, and casual newspaper readers alike. Nonetheless, he was almost lost to history and relegated to a minor footnote. But through the 1850s, the Civil War, and into the 1870’s he contributed far more to period history than previously documented.” Parker H. French was certainly an adventurer and entrepreneur who engaged in elaborate, bold, and ambitious exploits but he was also a magnificent con-man. Those who followed his exploits were variously exasperated, captivated by his audacity and nervy cheek, or humored by his latest escapade. He was judged an incorrigible scoundrel, labeled a chronic megalomaniac, or peddled as a misunderstood victim of his enemies. Many believed him a hero; many just thought him insane.

While working on his genealogy, Joe found that his great-grandfather had been scammed as a member of the fraudster’s 1850 California-bound gold rush expedition. How did his great-grandfather--whose family viewed as a smart, skeptical, and very tough guy--get swindled? Five-years of research disclosed that his great-grandfather was not alone in being conned; he was in great company with foreign leaders, business tycoons, prominent politicians, frontier toughs, and army officers. And some were scammed multiple times—serial suckers.

This page-turning book will appeal to historians, history buffs, and to those who just love a good story about a brilliant barracuda. And some of his bizarre capers are downright funny.

Book copies are available at, Amazon ( and other online book retailers.

Kentucky Barracuda: Parker H. French (The Notorious Scoundrel and Delightful Rogue of Antebellum and Civil War America)
Written by Joe Goodbody
Published by Proisle Publishing LLC
Published date: March 1, 2023
Paperback Price: $18.95
Kindle Price: $6.99

About the Author
Emmet Joseph “Joe” Goodbody, is a retired United States Army Colonel and corporate leader with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska (Omaha) and a master’s in logistics management from the Florida Institute of Technology. Joe and his wife Carol have been married for fifty-five years with two sons and five grandchildren. His great-grandfather was a victim of Parker Hardin French as a passenger on the fraudster’s California-bound gold rush expedition. The adventure faltered in mismanagement and collapsed in deception, fraud, and forgery. Check out the author’s website.

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 Swindler, Hustler
 Parker French
 Catch Me If You Can

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