by Gary L. Blackwood

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Ellen Peck was the "queen of confidence women" in 19th century America. She lived a traditional, respectable life as wife and mother for 25 years and then began slipping away to a life of swindling¾conning people out of their money. After her repeated arrests, she usually returned briefly to her husband and then disappeared again, cheating people with phony deeds, bonds and lies right into her mid-eighties because she was "to all appearances, just a nice old lady." The book brings swindling right up to April 2000 when the FBI arrested 20 members of a forgery ring in California. Each title in the "Bad Guys" series recounts the exploits of actual criminals from the 17th to 20th centuries, either in Europe for Highwaymen and Pirates or in America for Swindlers, Outlaws and Gangsters. A series entitled "Bad Guys" should certainly attract reluctant readers as well as any youngster more intrigued with getting around the rules than sitting still. Unfortunately in this case, it's a well-intentioned effort gone awry. The five book series looks, reads and feels like a textbook, with many pages of unrelieved text and illustrations that are almost exclusively black-and-white woodcuts, old photos or engravings. The vocabulary is often beyond young readers ("marauders," "mol," "intrepidity"), as are such unexplained old fashioned practices as the "well-known shell game." As it is one of the few compilations of this kind of information written for young people, the series could be useful for student reports in social studies or history classes. Each book does have a glossary and index, additional resources and notes to identify the source of frequent quotations. 2002, Marshall Cavendish, $27.07.Ages 10 to 15. Reviewer: Karen Leggett

Product Details

Cavendish Square Publishing
Publication date:
Bad Guys
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 9.84(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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