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Dillinger's wild ride : the year that made America's public enemy number one
Elliot J. Gorn
Adult Nonfiction HV6248.D5 G67 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Gorn (Mother Jones) presents a solid, unromanticized account of the last year in the short life of famed bank robber John Dillinger. Gorn rejects psychologizing about why Dillinger, the unexceptional if restless grocer's son, born in Indianapolis in 1903, turned to a life of crime, arrested first in 1924 for assaulting an elderly store clerk in a botched robbery. After spending nine years-almost a third of his short life-in jail, Dillinger found a Depression-era America far different from the one he'd left. Less than two months into his parole, Dillinger and the first in a revolving parade of Dillinger gang members robbed the Commercial Bank in Daleville, Ind., making off with $3,500. Between July 1933 and his death just one year later, Dillinger robbed more than 10 banks, killed at least five people (all lawmen) and stole over $300,000, all the while evading capture by local law enforcement and later the FBI. Gorn, who teaches at Brown University, relies on newspaper accounts and government documents (and, thankfully, no reconstructed dialogue) to plot the movements of a criminal who, 75 years after his death, still reverberates in the American consciousness. 30 b&w photos. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Is this a good time for another Dillinger book? The author thinks so, and readers will too by the end of the book. Gorn (history & American studies, Brown Univ.; The Manly Art) has produced an excellent account-a fast-paced romp that's hard to put down-of the short life and times of the outlaw John Dillinger. Covering not just Dillinger's final year, which was full of bank robberies, jailbreaks, and covert visits home, the author paints a picture of the 1930s America that Dillinger experienced. Mostly throughout the Midwest, Dillinger managed to elude authorities-even breaking out of jail by brandishing a wooden gun. The federal agency that became the FBI made his capture their top priority. With economic parallels to today, it is not hard to understand why the public hero-worshipped Dillinger. He was seen as a kind of Robin Hood-he robbed the banks that had lost the life savings of so many. With Johnny Depp playing Dillinger in a summer 2009 movie, this should prove a popular book. Recommended for general readers and crime aficionados; history buffs will appreciate the detailed notes.-Karen Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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