Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34
Penguin Press, 2004 - 592 pages
Acclaimed Vanity Faircontributor Bryan Burrough brings to life the most spectacular crime wave in American history: the two-year battle between J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Barkers.
In 1933, police jurisdictions ended at state lines, the FBI was in its infancy, the highway system was spreading, fast cars and machine guns were easily available, and a good number of the thirteen million Americans who were out of work blamed the Great Depression on the banks. In short, it was a wonderful time to be a bank robber. On hand to take full advantage was a motley assortment of criminal masterminds, sociopaths, romantics, and cretins, some of whom, with a little help from J. Edgar Hoover, were to become some of the most famous criminals in American history.
Bryan Burrough's grandfather once set up roadblocks in Alma, Arkansas, to capture Bonnie and Clyde. He didn't catch them. Burrough was suckled on stories of the crime wave, and now, after years of work, he succeeds where his grandfather failed, capturing the stories of Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and the rest of the FBI's nemeses, weaving them into a single enthralling account. For more than forty years, the great John Toland's Dillinger Dayshas stood as the only book that provides the entire big picture of this fabled moment in American history. But an extraordinary amount of new material has come to light during those forty years, a good deal of it unearthed by Burrough in the course of his own research, and Public Enemiesreveals the extent to which Toland and others were fed the story the FBI wanted them to tell. The circles in which the "public enemies" moved overlapped in countless fascinating ways, large and small, as Burrough details. The actual connections are one thing; but quite another is the sense of connectedness Hoover created in the American public's mind for his own purposes. Using the tools of an increasingly powerful mass media, Hoover waged an unprecedented propaganda campaign, working the press, creating "America's Most Wanted" list, and marketing the mystique of the heroic "G-men" that successfully obscured an appalling catalog of professional ineptitude. When the FBI gunned down John Dillinger outside a Chicago movie theater in the summer of 1934, Hoover's ascent to unchecked power was largely complete.
Both a hugely satisfying entertainment and a groundbreaking work with powerful echoes in today's news, Public Enemiesis the definitive history of America's first War on Crime.
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In whispers the bad news passed from man to man , that someone , apparently a
civilian , had been killed in the Chevrolet . No one took the news harder than
Carter Baum , the handsome twenty - nine - year - old who had fired the fatal
Zarkovich , Dillinger said , had dispatched the two to find the red truck knowing
they would be killed . “ Those two police should never have been bumped off , ” O
' Leary quoted Dillinger saying . “ They were just trying to do their job and there ...
How many people have been killed by your department since you have been
allowed to use guns ? ” McKellar asked . “ I think there have been eight
desperadoes killed by our agents and we have had four agents in our service
killed by them .
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PUBLIC ENEMIES: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34User Review - Kirkus
A rollicking, rat-a-tat ride with Clyde Barrow, Ma Barker, and a raft of inept (but a few first-rate) G-men.Though J. Edgar Hoover argued otherwise—and wrote gainsayers out of the official histories ... Read full review
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The Service Was Fast and The Item was as Describedat A Good Price and New . Read full review
A Prelude to War Spring 1933
A Massacre by Persons Unknown June 8 to June 15 1933
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