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The Year of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly and the…

The Year of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly and the Manhunt That Changed the… (2015)

by Joe Urschel

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I received this book for free from a Goodreads giveaway. I found it to be very well researched, well organized and well written. It brings to life one of the most notorious gangsters of the 1930's and gives the reader a view of who George "Machine Gun" Kelly was and how he actually and unwittingly helped to create the FBI and made J. Edgar Hoover famous.
As someone with a B.A. in American History, I found it very interesting, in that it gave a different view of the Prohibition Era gangster's that one sees in the movies. It gives the true story of how just widespread and out of control the lawlessness was during this time in American History; and thus, how it led to Alcatraz and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's reputations being born. Yet, at the same time, it also shows how J. Edgar Hoover may have had good intentions in mind of having federal lawmen; he did not always use the correct means to achieve them or his enduring legacy as the Director of the FBI.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more of what it was really like during this era in American History; both the good and the bad. ( )
  finallycj | Sep 20, 2015 |
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(Introduction) As J. Edgar Hoover lay asleep in his home in the early morning hours of July 22, 1933, he was fitfully aware of the tentative hold he had on the job he had come to know and love.
On a warm morning in 1932, George and Kathryn Kelly were getting dressed for work in their comfortable Fort Worth home.
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"It's 1933 and Prohibition has given rise to the American gangster--now infamous names like Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Bank robberies at gunpoint are commonplace and kidnapping for ransom is the scourge of a lawless nation. With local cops unauthorized to cross state lines in pursuit and no national police force, safety for kidnappers is just a short trip on back roads they know well from their bootlegging days. Gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his wife, Kathryn, are some of the most celebrated criminals of the Great Depression. With gin-running operations facing extinction and bank vaults with dwindling stores of cash, Kelly sets his sights on the easy-money racket of kidnapping. His target: rich oilman, Charles Urschel.Enter J. Edgar Hoover, a desperate Justice Department bureaucrat who badly needs a successful prosecution to impress the new administration and save his job. Hoover's agents are given the sole authority to chase kidnappers across state lines and when Kelly bungles the snatch job, Hoover senses his big opportunity. What follows is a thrilling 20,000 mile chase over the back roads of Depression-era America, crossing 16 state lines, and generating headlines across America along the way--a historical mystery/thriller for the ages.Joe Urschel's The Year of Fear is a thrilling true crime story of gangsters and lawmen and how an obscure federal bureaucrat used this now legendary kidnapping case to launch the FBI"--… (more)

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