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Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 by [Bryan Burrough]

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Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 335 ratings

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From Publishers Weekly

Burrough, an award-winning financial journalist and Vanity Fair special correspondent, best known for Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, switches gears to produce the definitive account of the 1930s crime wave that brought notorious criminals like John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde to America's front pages. Burrough's fascination with his subject matter stems from a family connection—his paternal grandfather manned a roadblock in Arkansas during the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde—and he successfully translates years of dogged research, which included thorough review of recently disclosed FBI files, into a graceful narrative. This true crime history appropriately balances violent shootouts and schemes for daring prison breaks with a detailed account of how the slew of robberies and headlines helped an ambitious federal bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover transform a small agency into the FBI we know today. While some of the details (e.g., that Dillinger got a traffic ticket) are trivial, this book compellingly brings back to life people and times distorted in the popular imagination by hagiographic bureau memoirs and Hollywood. Burrough's recent New York Times op-ed piece drawing parallels between the bureau's "reinvention" in the 1930s and today's reform efforts to combat the war on terror will help attract readers looking for lessons from history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The literature on Depression-era desperadoes such as John Dillinger is exhaustive but hardly exhausted, as Stanley Hamilton's Machine Gun Kelly's Last Stand (2003) and Burroughs' offering indicate. Burroughs imparts his personal fascination with such charismatic criminals to his readers as he strips the mopes of folkloric myth to restore them to their rightful places as bank robbers, kidnappers, carjackers, and cop killers. Burroughs' work also benefits from recently released FBI records. His narrative seamlessly incorporates that information with extant knowledge, a boon to readers ready for a chronicle of the cases that elevated the Bureau of Investigation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1933 the BI was not yet the country's premier police agency; it became so via its pursuit of gangsters who murdered BI agents in an infamous Kansas City attack. Burroughs' grip on J. Edgar Hoover's subsequent investigations is solid as he slyly dramatizes what kind of people Bonnie and Clyde, "Baby Face" Nelson, "Pretty Boy" Floyd, the Karpis-Barker gang, and their confederates really were. A 10-strike for the true-crime fan. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B001UUJ62M
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Books; Media Tie In, Reprint edition (March 7 2009)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 15280 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 624 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335 ratings

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Bryan Burrough is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the author of three previous books.

Photo by Udaymanju239 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
335 global ratings

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HuddyBolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Written as history, not pulp fiction. Thoroughly researched. Non stop mayhem.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 10, 2010
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hibbzie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the film, read the book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 23, 2014
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geoff grainger snr
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than the film and goes into so much detail ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 8, 2017
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V. W. Arnold
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book .
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 12, 2012
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Asmodeous
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - brilliantly reasearched, but requires your concentration!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 16, 2009
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