John Dillinger's reign as Public Enemy No. 1 began in the summer of 1933, when he left the Commercial Bank of Daleville, Indiana, with $3,500 and a diamond ring belonging to the bank president's daughter. It was the depth of the Depression. Banks were closing everywhere, and millions of Americans were losing their life savings. To them, Dillinger's act made him a sort of hero, even a modern-day Robin Hood. Within the next year, he would go on to rob ten banks and break out of two jails, one of them theoretically "escape-proof."
Everything John Dillinger did, whether if was firing a tommy gun or relieving smitten bank tellers of the cash in their vaults, he did with style. This is his story, as told by Dillinger and those who knew him. Brought to life by Arthur Winfield Knight, the voices of the past emerge to vividly recount the renegade's story. Dillinger's associates included the likes of Harry Pierpont and George "Baby Face" Nelson. And the women in his life were as colorful as the boys in his gang, from the love of his life, Evelyn "Billie" Frechette, to Anna Sage, the "woman in red," who lured him into the FBI sting that resulted in his death on July 22, 1934.
Many a man fell on both sides in the effort to capture--and keep imprisoned--the incorrigible Johnnie D. Sixty-five years after Dillinger's death, Knight proves that this story of America's dashing Public Enemy is still the most charged and gutsy of the 1930s. Dillinger remains the enduring symbol of the gangster era, a gentleman on the wrong side of the law.
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