We Is Got Him: The Kidnapping That Changed America

Carrie Hagen. Overlook, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-59020-086-5
Hagen's first book re-enacts with literary confidence and fine detail America's first documented kidnapping, in 1874 Philadelphia, of a four-year-old boy, Charley Ross, . The kidnappers, William Mosher and Joseph Douglas, demanded a ransom for his return. The case evoked a hysterical response from Philadelphia's political community (eager for visitors not to avoid the upcoming Centennial Exhibition) and involved incompetent police work, a double agent, and a press feeding frenzy. After the police first persuaded Charley's father not to pay the ransom, the mayor and city fathers wanted to fool the crooks, filling their ransom demand with marked bills. Newspaper descriptions of the kidnappers and a house-to-house search caused the two men who abducted the boy to come apart at the seams. They were eventually caught while committing a burglary on Long Island. Hagen's writing balances journalistic sincerity and dispassion with exciting precision. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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FORMATS
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4683-0058-1
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