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Download Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34, by Bryan Burrough Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,009 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bryan Burrough Narrator: Campbell Scott Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The astonishing true story of America’s first and greatest “War on Crime.”

In Public Enemies, Bryan Burrough strips away a thick layer of myths put out by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to tell the full story of the most spectacular crime wave in American history, the two-year battle between the young Hoover and an 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 1933, police jurisdictions ended at state lines, the FBI was in its infancy, and fast cars and machine guns were easily available. It was a great time to be a bank robber. On hand were a motley crew of criminal masterminds, sociopaths, romantics, and cretins.

Bryan Burrough has unearthed an extraordinary amount of new material on all the major figures involved—revealing many fascinating interconnections in the vast underworld ecosystem that stretched from Texas up to Minnesota.

But the real-life connections were insignificant next to the sense of connectedness J. Edgar Hoover worked to create in the mind of the American public, using the “Great Crime Wave” to gain the position of untouchable power he would occupy for almost half a century.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] riveting true-crime tale…fascinating…the real story, it turns out, is much better than the Hollywood version.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A rollicking yarn whose prose bounces across the page like a getaway car through a wheat field.” 

    Newsweek

  • “An amazingly detailed true-life thriller that puts us on a stakeout alongside the feds, inside the banks while bullets fly, and inevitably, next to the criminals’ bloody corpses.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “This book compellingly brings back to life people and times distorted in the popular imagination by hagiographic bureau memoirs and Hollywood.”  

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Aaron | 2/19/2014

    " Interesting, but very detailed and at times a bit too slow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Edgeley | 2/18/2014

    " I initially loved this book because of the true life nature of the stories. About half way through I wanted it to end! Maybe I just got bored! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katha | 2/7/2014

    " Very interesting but a slow read because of all the names, places, and dates to keep up with. The pictures and maps in the front of the book are a very helpful resource. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mike Macdonald | 1/31/2014

    " Awesome! Thorough and precise. An amazing read. "

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