A History of Heists: Bank Robbery in America

A History of Heists: Bank Robbery in America

A History of Heists: Bank Robbery in America

A History of Heists: Bank Robbery in America


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No crime is as synonymous with America as bank robbery. Though the number of bank robberies nationwide has declined, bank robbery continues to captivate the public and jeopardize the safety of banks and their employees.

In A History of Heists, Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella explore how bank robbers have influenced American culture as much as they have reflected it. Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, Willie Sutton, and Patty Hearst are among the most famous figures in the history of crime in the United States. Jesse James used his training as a Confederate guerrilla to make bank robbery a political act. John Dillinger capitalized on the public’s scorn of banks during the Great Depression and became America’s first Public Enemy Number One. When she held up a bank with the leftist Symbionese Liberation Army, Patty Hearst fueled the country’s social unrest. Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella delve into the backgrounds and motivations of the robbers, and explore how they are as complex as the nation whose banks they have plundered.

But as much as the story of bank robbery in America focuses on the thieves, it is also a story of those who investigate the heists. As bank robbers became more sophisticated, so did the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies. This captivating history showshow bank robbery shaped the modern FBI, and how it continues to cultivate America’s fascination with the noble outlaw: bandits seen, rightly or wrongly, as battling unjust authority.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442235458
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/09/2015
Pages: 262
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jerry Clark, PhD, retired as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2011 after twenty-seven years in law enforcement, including careers as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he is also director of risk analysis and mitigation at McManis & Monsalve Associates. Ed Palattella joined the Erie Times-News, in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1990. He has won a number of awards, including for his investigative work and his coverage of crime.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1: Breaking In: Early Banks and Early Thieves 2: The Original Outlaw: Jesse James, the Civil War, and Crimes like No Other 3: Robbery on the Range: The Wild West, the Wild Bunch, and the Rise of the Professional Bandit 4: The G-Men Get Guns: Bank Robbery and the Birth of the Modern FBI 5: Marquee Mayhem: John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and the Glamorization of the Gangster 6: Lone Wolves: Willie Sutton, the Great Brink’s Robbery, and a Thief Found Dead 7: Countercultural Chaos: Clean-Cut Killers, Patty Hearst, and a Dog Day Afternoon 8: Striking Back, Striking Big: Boosted Bank Security and Record-Breaking Hauls 9: Robbery and Reverberations: Pizza Bomber, the Post-9/11 FBI, and Online Heists Afterword
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