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The Dillinger Days Paperback – 22 Mar 1995


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The Dillinger Days + Public Enemies: Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, and Baby Face Nelson + John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal
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Product details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; New Ed edition (22 Mar. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306806266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306806261
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 494,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

John Toland is the author of many acclaimed books, including Adolf Hitler, The Last One Hundred Days, No Man's Land, In Mortal Combat: Korea 19501501953, and Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath.

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IT WAS MAY 20, 1933. Read the first page
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 April 1999
Format: Paperback
In the late sixties, when the popularity of "Bonnie and Clyde" at the box office ushered in a renewed interest in the period, this book was a compelling, concise account of a period when some of history's most ruthless criminals became cult heroes. From Machine Gun Kelley and John Dillinger to the Barrows and Pretty Boy Floyd, the Depression spawned its own brand of anti-heroes, placing them forever in a crude infamy of greed and murder. Toland is an excellent storyteller of the War era and plies his trade to new levels in this book. A highly recommended read to anyone interested in the period or exploits of some of American history's criminal element.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Revisiting a Standard Text 18 July 2001
By Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When first published in 1963, Toland's The Dillinger Days seemed to be the definitive work on the public enemy era, as both a biography of John Dillinger and as a sweeping chronicle of the whole Midwest Depression crime wave, also including "Pretty Boy" Floyd, "Baby Face" Nelson, the Barker-Karpis gang, "Machine Gun" Kelly and Clyde Barrow. Indeed, Toland may even be credited with launching a revival of interest in the Barrow gang. The scattered passages on the Barrows, whose fleeting fame was largely forgotten outside Texas by 1963, was largely the inspiration for the later movie Bonnie and Clyde. Toland's main subject here was of course Dillinger and the sections on the other gangs are scantier and often erroneous. Errors also appear in the Dillinger chapters. The "second Dillinger gang" was really "Baby Face" Nelson's, which Dillinger joined after the Crown Point escape, the exact details of which will never be known with full certainty though subsequent research--by Girardin and Helmer, Joe Pinkston and others--indicates that Toland got it wrong. The "Dillinger" letter to Henry Ford was long ago proven a forgery. As a straight Dillinger biography, Toland's book is actually far less detailed and accurate than the slimmer work, nearly contemporary with his own, Dillinger: A Short and Violent Life by Robert Cromie and Joe Pinkston. Still, as a history of the Depression crime wave, it was about the best volume available in 1963. Subsequent research has turned up much new information in recent years. Other authors have corrected Toland's errors. But the fact remains that Toland's work inspired a great deal of this research. Many of us gangster buffs got our start with Toland's book, so a lot of the new information available today probably wouldn't have surfaced without it. And for all its flaws, Toland's book remains a useful starting point for anyone interested in the gangster era--the Dillinger days.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Roaring Thirties! 21 Mar. 2002
By Bob Jarvis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't comment on the veracity of Tolands account, so this review deals with the book's impact on someone reading about the 30's American Gangster era for the first time. The book is fast & furious. It has a style & pace that seems totally in sync' with the wild events & full-blooded characters involved. Dillinger & Company come alive here. The accounts were thrilling, detailed & totally enjoyable. Although the author is commendably non-judgemental, not unsurprisingly, Dillinger comes over as the Class-Act of the the mobs. Whilst he certanly had a style, I use the word "class" with some reservation! The rest were just out & out villians! I was pleased to see the lawmen get a fair share of the action. The dedication & bravery of these men is in the most part commendable & a credit to their profession. The thought of facing up to a gang, including such vicious characters as Baby Face Nelson & Homer Van Meter, armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, is chilling indeed. The bank escapes give the reader a good feel of the times. It seemed that a five minute chase from any city centre bank would find the fugitives deep inside a maze of unmade roads. An almost total lack of communication between law enforcers, plus State Line jusridiction restrictions made the already fraught pursuit of these characters difficult indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed the book & recommend it very highly. I also agree that it is a good "appetite whetter" for more books of similar genre.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Dillinger Days 15 Oct. 2001
By Tony Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I give "The Dillinger Days" by John Toland 3-Stars for research and photography. Although this book is not the most accurate, it does display information that was available at the time of this publication. Today we have a better factual picture on events of the Dillinger era. Over the years many have bred mythology, speading fictitious imaginary stories creating false beliefs. However, I have to agree with historian and author Rick Mattix, The Dillinger Days is a good starting point for first time Dillinger readers. Good Book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very Entertaining 22 Jan. 2006
By K.A.Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This fast-paced narrative looks at underworld life in the USA during the Great Depression of the 1930's, when bank robbers were considered folk heroes by a surprising number of persons. It's primarily the story of John Dillinger and his gang, known for prison breaks and bank holdups. Dillinger was an anti-hero and celebrity (he played the role to the hilt) as were certain other criminals of that era such as Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Readers get a feel for the criminals, the top FBI personnel on their trails, and for life during the hard times of the Depression. Alas, many came to a violent end, suffering the same fate as some of their victims.

Author/Historian John Toland (1912-2004) had a way with gripping prose, and this effort is no exception. Some attack this book for glamorizing vicious criminals, while others point to a handful of inaccuracies. Whatever your take, this book still makes very interesting reading.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Excellent account of the period when gangsters wrote history 7 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the late sixties, when the popularity of "Bonnie and Clyde" at the box office ushered in a renewed interest in the period, this book was a compelling, concise account of a period when some of history's most ruthless criminals became cult heroes. From Machine Gun Kelley and John Dillinger to the Barrows and Pretty Boy Floyd, the Depression spawned its own brand of anti-heroes, placing them forever in a crude infamy of greed and murder. Toland is an excellent storyteller of the War era and plies his trade to new levels in this book. A highly recommended read to anyone interested in the period or exploits of some of American history's criminal element.
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