PREFACE: Private businesses frequently become centers of public controversy. Few, however, have touched American nerve endings as much as the private detective. Historic dichotomies developed early around the private detective that exist to this day in various guises. Americans have viewed their private detectives, and sometimes their public detectives too, with a mixture of fear and fascination. Their presence was explained and debated in negative and positive ways so often throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that a popular compromise occurred. In a fit of ideological and intellectual exhaustion the occupation was simply shelved and relegated to a "necessary-evil" category until occasional outrages forced public debate, investigation, and censure anew. The pioneer detective agency, which forms the focus of this book and the focus of much of the controversy, was established by Allan Pinkerton in the 1850s and directed by his sons Robert and William during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Although Pinkerton's is America's largest private police force, the substance of this book is the story of this business until the 1930s, when directions in the agency's history shifted sufficiently to warrant a terminal point in the narrative. It is hoped that this is more than a history of one detective agency or for that matter the private detective business in America generally. Attempts are made toward that end, to be sure, but the Pinkerton agency also served as a weathervane in the social history of the United States. Implicit here are themes, issues, and attitudes that transcend a mere trace-and-chase treatment of famous law enforcers and criminals. One element of this history that has been neglected by previous writers is the relationship between the private and public police and also the relationship between those police industries and America's larger concepts of proper policing.
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Book Description Indiana University Press, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110253320860
Book Description Indiana University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0253320860 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0061740