Friday, June 05, 2009

Forgotten Book: BLOODLETTERS AND BADMEN -- Jay Robert Nash






I don't really know if this is a forgotten book(s)or not, but I thought I'd mention it.  I believe it was originally published in one volume, but it was divided into three for paperback publication.  If you can read the blurbs, you can see that each book is called "The Definitive Book of American Crime."  That's pretty much accurate, at least up to the time the book was published.  Volume three ends with Charles Manson, so there are plenty of bloodletters and badmen to be written about in a future volume.  Or maybe there's already another volume that I don't know about.

Anyway, the books are arranged alphabetically, and if Nash left out any criminal in American history, I don't know who it is.  These books are, as another blub says, "Packed with photographs and illustrations," along with a brief summary of the career of whatever criminal you might choose to read about.  Wonderful browsing material, and maybe even an inspiration if you're looking for great characters.  Highly recommended.

10 comments:

George said...

Terrific choice! There's plenty of fascinating information in those pages.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This looks sensational. Thanks for sharing it.

James Reasoner said...

I've been meaning to read this book for years. Thanks for the reminder.

Fred Blosser said...

There was at least one later, updated edition, and Nash also wrote a similar tome titled HUSTLERS AND CON MEN. I actually knew one of the people mentioned in the latter, Bob Johnson, who was convicted of a big-time Ponzi-type investment scheme in the 1970s.

Anonymous said...

I've had the original 1973 coffee-table edition for a long time. It gets periodically pulled out and dusted off when movies like Great Northfield Minnesota Raid or St Valentine's Day Massacre turn up on tv so I can check for historical accuracy.

Nash had one big hobby horse, which is in B&B and was
I think expanded into a whole book: the theory that Dillinger was not shot down outside the Biograph, that it was a double, Hoover conspiracy etc.

Another useful reference in the same vein is The Encyclopedia of American Crime by Carl Sifakis. The updated edition brings us up to Dahmer & Bundy, among other notables.

Art Scott

Bill Peschel said...

I have the hardcover edition, and it's pretty thorough. There's plenty of criminals out there, but Nash rounded up in prose the major ones and a lot of others as well. Very recommended.

John Marr said...

Actually, as a reference work, B&B is a train wreck. It's larded with sloppy research, factual inaccuracies, and goofy theorizing. Most notable is what another crime writer described as Nash's belief that the FBI didn't kill Dillinger but a guy who looked just like him.

It's a fun read, but no less fun (and much less accurate) than the Sifakis book referred to above.

Patrick Lindsay Bowles said...

Wonderful books, and I’ve just been looking at a new true crime story by Austin attorney Christa Brown that could be volume 4 of the series. This Little Light contains portraits of the smooth-talking, ultra-creepy leaders of Baptist pedophile rings who make iconic spooks like Ed Gein seem almost cartoonish by comparison. http://thislittlelight-thebook.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I remember those books.I read all three.Pretty gruesome stuff,but I enjoyed reading every single page a lot of forgotten serial killers that will send chills down your spine not to mention all those infamous gangsters that I think no one even heard of good source of information on crime in Americas history that's for sure.

sonja said...

I found volume 3 in my moms library when i was only 10 or 11 yeats old. I would sneak it outside and read it. No one knew i was being molested at the time and this book kept me sane. There WAS something more horrible happening out there. I was able to cope with my reality and protect myself and family security. I am still obsessed with killers and the depravity of humankind