Public Enemies by Bryan Burrough
America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34

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Synopsis

In Public Enemies, bestselling author Bryan Burrough strips away the thick layer of myths put out by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to tell the full story—for the first time—of the most spectacular crime wave in American history, the two-year battle between the young Hoover and the assortment of criminals who became national icons: John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Barkers. In an epic feat of storytelling and drawing on a remarkable amount of newly available material on all the major figures involved, Burrough reveals a web of interconnections within the vast American underworld and demonstrates how Hoover’s G-men overcame their early fumbles to secure the FBI’s rise to power.
 

About Bryan Burrough

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Bryan Burrough is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair and the author of numerous bestselling books, including Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (with John Helyar) and Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-1934. A former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, he is a three-time winner of the John Hancock Award for excellence in financial journalism.
 
Published March 7, 2009 by Penguin Books. 624 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, Business & Economics, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ma Barker, to name one putative public enemy, decried as the murderous, machine-gun-spraying brains of a monstrous ring, “wasn’t even a criminal, let alone a mastermind.” But plenty of the people the G-men went after were criminals, sometimes even masterminds, and very dangerous, just as likely t...

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Publishers Weekly

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Burrough, an award-winning financial journalist and Vanity Fair special correspondent, best known for Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of

Jun 28 2004 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

The Guardian

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The Hollywood gangster movie seemed a moribund form until it was suddenly given a new lease of life with the simultaneous appearance in 1967 of Roger Corman's only big budget film, The St Valentine's Day Massacre, and Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, which defined the two streams of the genre.

Jul 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

The Guardian

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Public Enemies by Bryan Burrough 624pp, Allen Lane, £20 Gangsters and Goodfellas by Henry Hill and Gus Russo 320pp, Mainstream, £7.99 Ever since the launch of J Edgar Hoover's federal law enforcement agency in the mid-1920s, historians have debated why he failed to pursue the mafia until 1957...

Jan 08 2005 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

BC Books

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Michael Mann’s Public Enemies is based on Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book, Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34, although “it’s not 100 percent historically accurate” as Burroughs told Vanity Fair.

Jul 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

Entertainment Weekly

No bank was safe during the Depression so long as folks like Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Clyde Barrow, the Barker gang, and John Dillinger were on the loose.

Jul 16 2004 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

The New Republic

JOIN NOW It's taken countless hours of TV crime-drama ("Crime Story," "Miami Vice") and nearly a dozen feature films (Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice again), but in John Dillinger, Michael Mann may finally have found an ideal vessel for his p...

Jul 02 2009 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

Bookmarks Magazine

Suckled on tales of the crime, Burrough now succeeds where his grandfather failed, capturing the often-grotesque lives of Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and the Barkers in riveting (and sometimes too much) detail.

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

Spectator Book Club

To the minute we are told what Bonnie and Clyde are doing in Platte City, Missouri, when Machine Gun Kelly (‘working hard or hardly working’ in his own phrase) was plotting to kidnap an oil man in Oklahoma City.

Nov 06 2004 | Read Full Review of Public Enemies: America's Gre...

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