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  • Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues
  • Written by Paul Martin
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  • Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues
  • Written by Paul Martin
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Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues

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Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem

Written by Paul MartinAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Paul Martin


List Price: $11.99


On Sale: March 04, 2014
Pages: | ISBN: 978-1-61614-928-4
Published by : Prometheus Books Prometheus Books
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Synopsis|Table of Contents


Everyone loves a good villain! From the back pages of history, vivid, entertaining portraits of little-known scoundrels whose misdeeds range from the simply inept to the truly horrifying.

Even if you're an avid history buff, you've probably never heard of this disreputable cast of characters: A drunken, ne'er-do-well cop who abandoned his post at Ford's Theatre, giving assassin John Wilkes Booth unchallenged access to President Lincoln; a notorious Kansas quack who made millions by implanting billy goat testicles in gullible male patients; and America's worst female serial killer ever. These are three of the memorable but little-known rogues profiled in this eye-opening and entertaining book.

Dividing his profiles into three categories--villains, scoundrels, and rogues--author and former National Geographic editor Paul Martin serves up concise, colorful biographies of thirty of America's most outrageous characters. Whether readers choose to be horrified by the story of Ed Gein, Alfred Hitchcock's hideous inspiration for Psycho, or marvel at the clever duplicity of the con artist who originated the phony bookie operation portrayed in The Sting, there's something here for everyone.

Brimming with audacious, unforgettable characters often overlooked by standard history books, this page-turner is a must for anyone with an interest in the varieties of human misbehavior.

Table of Contents



Merchant of Misery--James DeWolf
The Cutthroat Captain of Cave-In-Rock--Samuel Mason 
Architect of a Tragedy--John Chivington
The Late, Unlamented Little Pete--Fong Ching
The Killer They Called Hell’s Belle--Belle Sorensen Gunness 
Partners in Perfidy--Isaac Harris and Max Blanck
Chicago’s Florist-Mobster--Dean O’Banion
A Huckster’s Rise and Fall--John Brinkley
Hitchcock’s Hideous Inspiration--Ed Gein


Salem’s Rabid Witch-Hunter--William Stoughton
Uncle Daniel the “Speckerlator”--Daniel Drew
Unleashing the James-Younger Gang--James Lane
Lincoln’s Missing Bodyguard--John Parker
Squirrel Tooth Alice--Libby Thompson
The Lawman Who Went Bad--Burt Alvord
The Very Mellow Yellow Kid--Joseph Weil
You Bet Your Life--Alvin Thomas
Keeper of the Immaculate Sperm--Charles Davenport
The Silken Voice of Treachery--Mildred Gillars


Who’s that Rapping On My Floor?--Maggie and Kate Fox
The Witch of Wall Street--Hetty Green
King of the Cannibal Islands--David O’Keefe
Master Salesman of a Dubious Legend--Herbert Bridgman
The Consummate Gold Digger--Peggy Hopkins Joyce
The Mad, Sad Poet of Greenwich Village--Maxwell Bodenheim
The Bifurcated Congressman--Samuel Dickstein
The Frugal Counterfeiter--Emerich Juettner
Imperfect Pitch--Don Lapre


"Martin's rich and varied portraits display misbehavior, from simple idiocy and apathy to conniving con men, gold diggers, and gamblers.... They make a pretty reprehensible bunch, but Martin puts their crimes in context while keeping the book entertaining and informative." --Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

"This collection of exceptionally well-crafted historical portraits deals, in descending order, with monsters, the merely evil, and the unscrupulous.... Apart from his literate writing, Martin also has the knack for passing harsh judgments when they are deserved and also withholding them when they are not. A model of how to write short popular history." --Booklist

Praise for Secret Heroes:

"Will surprise and, perhaps, inspire readers." --Booklist  

"Self-sacrifice and determination abound in the tales....Meticulously researched, Martin holds his subjects in deserved high-esteem." --Publishers Weekly

"Reverent character sketches of some unusually self-reliant Americans....Inspirational yarns of exceptional folks who made a difference...surprisingly entertaining." --Kirkus Reviews 

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