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Synopsis: The iconic photo of Bonnie Parker—cigar clenched in jaw, pistol in hand—says it all: America loves its bad girls. Now Mary Elizabeth Strunk tells us why.
Wanted Women is a startling look at the lives—and legends—of ten female outlaws who gained notoriety during the tumultuous decades that bracketed the tenure of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Strunk looks at real-life events and fictional portrayals to decipher what our obsession with these women says about shifting gender roles, evolving law-enforcement practices, and American cultural attitudes in general.
These women's stories reveal what it takes—and what it has meant—to be a high-profile female lawbreaker in America. Strunk introduces us to Kathryn "Mrs. Machine Gun" Kelly, Ma Barker, and Bonnie Parker from the 1930s, and, from the 1970s, we meet heiress-turned-revolutionary Patty Hearst, five other women of the Symbionese Liberation Army, and Black Panther Assata Shakur. All saw themselves as struggling against an oppressive legal system. All became "wanted" criminals and would play a part in shaping Hoover's legacy. And all spent enormous amounts of energy attempting to manipulate public opinion in their favor.
Strunk argues that each woman's public persona was to some degree invented by Hoover, who saw outlaw women as an alarming threat to public morality. He went after them with a vengeance, but in many ways his obsession only added to their reputations. Strunk shows how Hoover's repeated use of popular culture to publicize the threat of violent women initially succeeded in strengthening his FBI, but his approach became a liability by the time law enforcement was pitted against the women outlaws of the 1970s.
The book chronicles the careers of these infamous outlaws both in the real world and in popular culture—film, ads, true-crime stories, autobiographies—as well as Hoover's own forays into filmmaking. It boasts 27 compelling images of movie stills, wanted posters, and other ephemera that have been assembled nowhere else, including rarely reproduced SLA artifacts.
Strunk's book is the first study to define the narrow "formula" necessary for a woman to cross over from criminal to outlaw. Hitting on key notes of American culture from Black and gender studies to cinematic and legal history, Wanted Women sets a new benchmark for how we view women and crime as it contributes fresh insights into twentieth-century social history.
From the Back Cover: "Strunk's important study shows--in a vivid and exciting narrative--how our fascination with female criminals, gun molls, radicals, and serial killers draws on our unconscious sexual obsessions, has paid off for Hollywood and Washington, and played into J. Edgar Hoover's own obsessions, for the greater power and glory of the FBI."--Richard Gid Powers, author of Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover
"Strunk shows how generations of Americans, fascinated and repulsed by women who take up guns and commit criminal acts, have constructed and applied their own myths, fantasies, and obsessions. Wanted Women is sure to find a wide audience among historians, film scholars, folklorists, feminists, women and men--anyone, really, who wants to know more about those red-haired ladies with guns."--William Graebner, author of Patty's Got a Gun: Patricia Hearst in 1970s America
"Strunk traces gun molls, revolutionaries, and other 'bad' women from the streets to the state to the screen. Her keen eye for a cultural history that is also a political story makes this book a welcome addition to a field that has received too little attention."--Claire Bond Potter, author of War on Crime: Bandits, G-Men, and the Politics of Mass Culture
"Who, really, were these infamous women of American crime lore, and did they deserve the venomous vituperation the shamelessly self-promoting Hoover repeatedly heaped on them? Strunk offers intriguing new insights as she arrives at answers to both questions."--Stanley Hamilton, author of Machine Gun Kelly's Last Stand
Title: Wanted Women - An American Obsession in the ...
Publisher: Univ Kansas Press
Book Condition: BRAND NEW
Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2010. Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP94070053
Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2010. Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP82674702
Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2010. Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP69140204
Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2010. Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP94203261
Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2010. Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Ships from Reno, NV. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP96863592
Book Description University Press of Kansas. Hardcover. Condition: Good. This book has a light amount of wear to the pages, cover and binding. Seller Inventory # G0700617442I3N00
Book Description University Press of Kansas. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Seller Inventory # G0700617442I4N00
Book Description Univ Pr of Kansas, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Satisfaction 100% guaranteed. Seller Inventory # mon0001784234
Book Description University Press of Kansas, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # S_204399730
Book Description University Press of Kansas, United States, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. HARDCOVER Legendary independent bookstore online since 1994. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. Biography>General. Book: USED, Good. Dust Jacket: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 02978070061744901. Seller Inventory # 02978070061744901