Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The Year of Fear by Joe Urschel
"Machine Gun Kelly and the Manhunt that Changed the Nation," is the somewhat misleading subtitle of this book, whose scope is the crime wave of 1933 that gave rise to the F.B.I. Kelly owed his nickname to his ruthless wife, Kathryn, who pushed the former bootlegger and robber into an ambitious plot to kidnap respected oil businessman Charles Urschel. The sensational crime gave J. Edgar Hoover the opportunity to expand federal law enforcement authority at a time when local police were either unwilling or unable to pursue kidnappers across state lines. The author uses some purple prose in the first chapter, but provides an enlightening view on the end of Prohibition and how desperate outlaws turned to more serious crimes.