Gangsters, Swindlers, Killers, and Thieves: The Lives and Crimes of Fifty American Villains

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Lawrence Block
Oxford University Press, May 13, 2004 - History - 287 pages
3 Reviews
Drawing on his experience in creating fictional bad guys, crime novelist Lawrence Block surveys the underside of American history through fifty of its most infamous characters. Some, like Jesse James, Bonnie Parker, and Joe Colombo, led a life of crime; others, like John Wilkes Booth and John White Webster, committed one notorious act. Some, like Pretty Boy Floyd or the elusive thief Railroad Bill, have become folk heroes, whether or not the real details of their lives matched the myths they inspired. Others, like Ed Gein and Ted Bundy, will be forever reviled.Block introduces each biography with a writer's eye for character and a good story. He begins the book with a short essay that considers how Americans have defined and regarded villains through history.The biographies, culled from the pages of the American National Biography and illustrated with archival photographs, describe each villain's background, exploits, and eventual fate--often with unexpected details. The convicted killer Nathan Leopold, for example, became the administrator of a leprosy hospital after his parole. The gangster Dutch Schultz was known not only for his bootlegging expertise but also for his cheap, ill-fitting clothes. The stagecoach bandit Black Bart fancied himself a poet (or, as he put it, "PO8"). And when outlaw Bill Doolin finally met his end, only a rusting buggy axle marked his grave.Ideal for readers of true crime, crime fiction, and history, Gangsters, Swindlers, Killers, and Thieves brings a fresh perspective to American's fascination with crime and its perpetrators.
  

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Gangsters, swindlers, killers, and thieves: the lives and crimes of fifty American villains

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Award-winning mystery writer Block edited this biographical collection of 50 American criminals, who run the gamut from the well known, such as Ted Bundy, Al Capone, John Wilkes Booth, and Bonnie ... Read full review

Review: Gangsters, Swindlers, Killers, and Thieves: The Lives and Crimes of Fifty American Villains

User Review  - Bunny - Goodreads

God, Goodreads is full of a bunch of whiny prats. Seriously. Why are you bitching that the stories in here are too short? You do realize it's a thin book, and there are fifty criminals profiled? What ... Read full review

Contents

Thomas Beer 1888?1940
1
Billy the Kid 18591881
5
Black Bart fl 18751888
9
John Wilkes Booth 18381865
15
Ted Bundy 19461989
21
Al Capone 18991947
27
Frankie Carbo 19041976
32
Butch Cassidy 18661908? or 1937?
37
Ebenezer Mackintosh 17371816
141
Owen Victor Madden 18911965
147
Samuel Mason c17501803
151
Gaston Bullock Means 18791938
157
John Andrews Murrell 1806?1844
162
Philip Mariano Fausto Musica 18841938
167
Bonnie Parker 19101934 and Clyde Chestnut Barrow 19091934
173
William Clarke Quantrill 18371865
181

Mickey Cohen 19131976
41
Joseph Anthony Colombo Sr 19231978
47
Frank Costello 18911973
51
Leon Czolgosz 18731901
56
Bob Dalton 18691892
61
John FDeitz 18611924
67
John Dillinger 19031934
71
William Doolin 18581896
76
Charles Arthur Floyd 19041934
81
Carlo Gambino 19021976
85
Edward Gein 19061984
91
Vito Genovese 18971969
95
Charles Julius Guiteau 18411882
100
John Wesley Hardin 18531895
105
Tom Horn 18601903
111
Jesse James 18471882
115
Machine Gun Kelly 18951954
123
Meyer Lansky 19021983
127
Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr 19041971 and Richard Albert Loeb 19051936
131
Lucky Luciano 18971962
137
Railroad Bill ?1896
184
Stephen S Renfroe 18431886
189
Arnold Rothstein 18821928
193
Dutch Schultz 19021935
199
Bugsy Siegel 19061947
203
Joseph Alfred Slade 1829 or 18301864
209
Belle Starr 18481889
213
Willie Sutton 19011980
216
Harry Kendall Thaw 18711947
220
Joseph Valachi 19041971
225
Tiburcio Vásquez 18351875
231
John White Webster 17931850
235
Seth Wyman 17841843
240
Cole Younger 18441916
245
A NOTE ON THE AMERICAN NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY
249
AUTHORS OF ARTICLES
251
SOURCES AND FURTHER READING
253
INDEX
275
PICTURE CREDITS
288
Copyright

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About the author (2004)


Lawrence Block, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and multiple winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Maltese Falcon awards, has written more than 50 books, including Small Town, Hope to Die, Hit List, and The Burglar in the Rye. He lives in New York City.

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