Dillinger: The Untold Story

G. Russell Girardin, Author, William J. Helmer, With
G. Russell Girardin, Author, William J. Helmer, With Indiana University Press $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-253-32556-3
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
Paperback - 403 pages - 978-0-253-22110-0
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-253-21633-5
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This is one of the most unusual books in the annals of modern true-crime writing, for the bulk of the text was written 60 years ago and never before published. In 1933, Girardin, a Chicago ad man, persuaded Louis Piquett, who had served as John Dillinger's lawyer, to collaborate on a series of newspaper articles, which were syndicated in the Hearst newspapers, and on a book-length biography of Dillinger, who was gunned down by the police in Chicago in 1934 at the age of 31. In 1989, Playboy contributing editor Helmer met Girardin and together they reworked the unpublished biography, until Girardin died in 1990. Helmer has been faithful to the florid style of the original, which retains much of the spirit of the Depression era, when many regarded bankers as evil and bank robbers were celebrated in the media. Piquette and Girardin contend that a number of Dillinger's robberies were prearranged with the banks. Helmer's copious and informative notes reflect his further research, based on sources not available to Girardin. The book constitutes a significant addition to Americana. Photos not seen by PW . (May)
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