Robbing Banks: An American History, 1831-1999

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9780760747971: Robbing Banks: An American History, 1831-1999
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The establishment of banks in the land of "free enterprise" gave rise to a parallel profession that has always fascinated the public: the bank robber. A dangerous undertaking in any era, the world of bank robbing includes venal brutes, nefarious artists, cool daredevils, and just plain idiots doing anything to get to that free money. Robbing Banks, which covers heists from 1831 to the present day, depicts the history of bank robbing in all of its colorful-and occasionally grim-variety.America came to the forefront of world bank-robbing history because of its Wild West, where Jesse James and his gang of ex-Rebels became legends in their own time. The golden era of bank robbing occurred during the Great Depression, producing folk heroes such as "Pretty Boy" Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde. Meanwhile, gentlemen like Willie Sutton and Herman "the Baron" Lamm plied their trade with a degree of class that is remarkable for a criminal in any time period.Sprinkled between the legends are the failures, such as the Texas teenager who chose to rob his first bank just when the county sheriff's office had received its weekly payroll. A few lazy desperados have even attempted hold-ups at drive-through windows. Robbing Banks is a fascinating look at a criminal profession which, like the banking industry itself, has evolved with the times to meet every new challenge that has come along.

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About the Author:

L.R. Kirchner, after service with the Air Force, became an investigative journalist with ties to law enforcement agencies. His previous book, "Triple Crossfire," focused on the FBI's Union Station Massacre. He is currently a management consultant living in Kansas City.

From Publishers Weekly:

A journalist who formerly worked in law enforcement, Kirchner (Triple Crossfire) presents a colorful, comprehensive account of "the fine art of illegally removing capital from a financial institution," our peculiar fascination with some of the most notorious bank robbers and the technical realities of this crime from both sides of the law. In so doing, he offers many insights into such matters as the difference between burglary and robbery (the former relies on stealth and skill, the latter involves the face-to-face confrontations of popular myth) and the strange psychology of the bank-robbing personality. Though his tone can be stern, the author displays some ambivalence regarding both the "banking business" and and the efficacy of the penal system. As for the robbers, while he condemns amateur incompetence and the excessive violence displayed by figures like Clyde Barrow, he finds intriguing, on many levels, the ingenuity, discipline and insouciance displayed by successful, pioneering bandits, from the James gang to Willie Sutton, the famed "gentleman" robber of 1940s New York. For instance, the "common man," he says, often sided with the romanticized bandits, because of deep-seated class resentments against bankers and robber barons, particularly during Reconstruction and the Depression. J. Edgar Hoover's obsession at that time with outlaws like "Pretty Boy" Floyd proved influential in involving the federal government in bank-robbery prevention, signaling the twilight of old-style desperadoes. Kirchner concludes this solid, well-executed assessment with succinct depictions of post-modern larceny, including the current threats of computerized robbery via wire transfer, illustrating that the crafty and avaricious will forever strike, as Willie Sutton famously put it, "where the money is." 16 pages of illus.not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781885119643: Robbing Banks : An American History 1831-1999

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  188511964X ISBN 13:  9781885119643
Publisher: Da Capo Press, 2000
Hardcover

9780785817093: Robbing Banks: An American History 1831-1999

Castle, 2003
Hardcover

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