John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminalby Dary Matera
John Dillinger and his bank-robbing gang cut a criminal swath never to be equaled, thrilling and terrorizing a nation in the throes of the Great Depression. The charismatic stick-up man became so famous that throngs of excited spectators would block his gang’s route to their getaway cars. When caught, Dillinger staged the most harrowing prison escapes imaginable—only to be betrayed in the end by the infamous “Lady in Red.”
John Dillinger brings to light new information on this spellbinding desperado, including bank robberies never before reported, detailed plans for major crimes he almost implemented, the revelation that the “Lady in Red” was actually a police plant, and the fact that Dillinger was summarily executed by rogue FBI agents manipulated by East Chicago detectives desperate to cover up widespread police corruption.
Access to thousands of detailed eyewitness accounts, once-classified FBI files, police records, court transcripts, the files of private detectives, and other sources collected by historians Joe Pinkston and Tom Smusyn has allowed author Dary Matera to describe every robbery, shooting, and prison escape of Dillinger’s career. Along the way, he presents a vivid picture of America’s ongoing fascination with notoriety and its enduring flirtation with lawlessness.
More than seventy years after the famous outlaw’s death, the story of John Dillinger—who became the FBI’s first “Public Enemy” and almost singlehandedly catalyzed the modernization of law enforcement—can be told free of rumor and flat-out fiction.
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Meet the Author
Dary Matera is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Quitting the Mob (co-author), What’s In It For Me? (co-author), and The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted.
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