The book took over 50 years to become a cultural force.
I am a big Melville fan. Moby Dick was my first read aside from Bartleby, the Scrivener, but I've also read Typee, Omoo, and White Jacket. I read MD when I was in China for three months, and had a lot of down time. That was a pretty ideal setting to do so. The book is a treatise on passion and action, and having few people to talk to, I spent a good time thinking on it. Melville wrote of the laboring life that he lived, and I have a fondness for authors that could turn a screwdriver, like he and Hemingway.
The Confidence Man was one of the few books that I couldn't finish. I think that was more for Melville than it was for his audience. I've often wondered about The Confidence Man and Ulysses. It feels like Joyce was influenced by it, and not only because they both happen on one day.