Machine Gun Kelly's last stand /
Stanley Hamilton.
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, 2003.
xii, 236 p. : ill.
0700612475 (cloth)
More Details
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, 2003.
0700612475 (cloth)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 221-227) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Stanley Hamilton is a freelance writer and a former reporter for the Kansas City Star
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Oklahoma Book Award, USA, 2004 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-05-01:
Many of the "hit and run" criminals of the 1920s and 1930s were freelance gangsters not affiliated with big-city mobsters. They were tolerated by the general public because they often targeted banks, not exactly the most beloved institutions at the time. However, the atmosphere changed after the Lindbergh kidnapping, and certain kidnappings became federal crimes with the Lindbergh Act of 1932. On July 22, 1933, wealthy businessman Charles Urschel was kidnapped from his Oklahoma City home by George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Kelly's partner in crime, Albert Bates. The kidnapping eventually set off an intense, widely publicized manhunt. Former Kansas City Star reporter Hamilton traces the story from beginning to end, including background information on each major player. He has pieced together a page-turning rendition of the events from the extensive use of primary and secondary sources (there is an excellent bibliography). An appendix of relevant documents, such as the Federal Kidnapping Act of 1932 (the Lindbergh Act) and letters from the kidnappers to Urschel, is included. Suitable for larger public libraries where there is an interest in true crime.-Sarah Jent, Univ. of Louisville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, May 2003
Library Journal, May 2003
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This is an account of the abduction of Oklahoma City businessman Charles Urschel in 1933 and the subsequent manhunt - both of which had lasting significance for crime-fighting in America. Stanley Hamilton rekindles the spirit of yesterday's newsreels to chronicle the capture of 'Machine Gun' Kelly.
Main Description
Orchestrated to the sounds of getaway cars and machine guns, the abduction of Oklahoma City businessman Charles Urschel in 1933 was a highly publicized crime in an era when gangsters were folk heroes and kidnapping had become a scourge. The criminals' interstate flight to a desolate hideout in Texas called for federal action, instigating the most intensive manhunt the country had yet seen. It also set in motion a chain of events that would have lasting significance for crime-fighting in America. In an exciting account of that celebrated manhunt, Stanley Hamilton rekindles the spirit of yesterday's newsreels to chronicle the pursuit and capture of George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his wife, Kathryn. Tapping a wealth of newspaper reports, court transcripts, literary accounts, and recollections of participants, he draws readers into the chase and its aftermath, unraveling what was then considered the most compelling crime mystery of the day. Hamilton sets the stage with an overview of the lawlessness of that era and of Kelly's formative years, getting under the skin of a hard-boiled criminal to show us what made Kelly tick. He assembles a cast of larger-than-life characters to weave this tale of true crime, one of the largest of whom was the 38-year-old director of the national police force, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover had revitalized an ineffective agency whose operatives were still not authorized to carry firearms or make arrests, and when the Urschel case broke, it was Hoover who stepped up to coordinate the manhunt. Hamilton takes readers behind the scenes in Hoover's operation to show how this case was responsible for popularizing theG-man and institutionalizing the FBI, creating the agent-as-hero image that replaced earlier characterizations of blundering foils to glamorous gangsters. This iconic kidnapping case, breathlessly followed by a fascinated public, was so quickly and effectively concluded that it was largely instrumental in bringing about the end of the Gangster Era in America. Machine Gun Kelly's Last Stand brings that era to life again by providing a fresh look at one of America's most notorious criminals, vividly recreating the times in which he lived and sharing the stories of the people whose lives he touched.
Publisher Fact Sheet
This story of a 1933 kidnapping gone terribly wrong recreates the lawlessness of the era, and discusses how this case-followed breathlessly by the media and a fascinated public-became the first high-profile success of a fledgling FBI.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Prologuep. 1
The War against Crimep. 5
Charles Urschelp. 16
Ransom Demandp. 29
Down on the Ranchp. 37
The (Delayed) Dropp. 49
The Huntp. 54
The Kidnappersp. 67
The Roundupp. 78
The Trail and Trial (No. 1)p. 83
The "Big" Trialp. 114
Echoes and Reverberationsp. 142
Letters from the "Inside"p. 147
The Case That Wouldn't Endp. 161
The Other Victimp. 176
What Happened to ...p. 180
Author's Notesp. 187
Documentsp. 193
Bibliographyp. 221
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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