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David Stout, a veteran journalist with the New York Times, is currently a reporter for the paper's Washington, DC, bureau. He is the author of Night of the Devil and three novels, including the Edgar Award-winning mystery Carolina Skeletons

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Note: I received an ARC of this book at ALA Midwinter 2020.
fernandie | 2 andre anmeldelser | Sep 15, 2022 |
200 pages of an interesting and incredibly heart breaking case. Rather well written, I hope they do eventually figure out who the boy was.
BookLeafs | May 26, 2022 |
The Kidnap Years: The Astonishing True History of the Forgotten Kidnapping Epidemic That Shook Depression-Era America by David Stout is a 2020 Sourcebooks publication.

Back in the 1930’s kidnapping became almost an epidemic. It wasn't just children and babies that fell victim, but adults too.

This book examines these kidnappings, some familiar, some not- and yes, I suppose it is fair to say, this kidnapping rampage has been largely forgotten about. But, at the center of the book is the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping. It was that case that tipped the scales and forced a hardline crackdown. For me though, it was the lesser known cases that made the book interesting, especially since the Lindbergh kidnapping, as well as one or two others mentioned in this book, has been examined ad nauseum, and as far as I could tell there was nothing new about those cases printed here.

There are other famous or infamous people in this book, though, besides the Lindbergh's. The FBI and Hoover’s involvement were also featured prominently at times. The author stayed on topic, and did not veer into personal commentary, for the most part, which was fine by me.

The organization is a little uneven spreading out some cases throughout the book, instead of putting all the information into one or more chapters, running consecutively. This was a little distracting for me, but a minor quibble.

Otherwise, the book reflects the desperation of the thirties, as well as the way money, greed and politics, all bled together to create the perfect climate for the kidnapping crime sprees of the decade.

Anyone who enjoys history or true crime will want to consider giving this book a try.

4 stars
… (mere)
gpangel | 2 andre anmeldelser | Jun 25, 2020 |
The Kidnap Years: The Astonishing True History of the Forgotten Kidnapping Epidemic That Shook Depression-Era America by David Stout is a long-overdue account of the rash of kidnappings that took place during the depression. While the fact of the widespread nature of kidnapping has long been known there haven't been very many accounts that looked at the period as a whole.

In some ways, this book can be read in one of two ways depending on how you view the book and what your interest is. One way is based on the title, it is a history. As such, it is one story though admittedly comprising many stories (such is the nature of history). Read this way the separate accounts become less important than the similarities and differences between them, which point to possible explanations for this particular crime becoming so widespread. this story includes the rise of the FBI as well as the standardization of law around the act of kidnapping. This is a fascinating history and if this is your primary interest, you will be satisfied.

The other way to read it is almost like reading a collection of short stories that are linked but separate. Each chapter is about a case and there is some reference to cases before and after, as well as the book length thread of the Lindbergh kidnapping. Read in this way the book is also quite satisfying though, because the intent is as a history, it will appear as though you have to jump around since each chapter was read as if a complete entity. That said, it is still effective as a collection of case histories.

My calling them case histories is unfair, since when one thinks of a case history one usually thinks of dry and often boring prose. The writing here tries to take the reader into each household affected, into the minds of the victims (if possible), the criminals, and the family members. So this is not just case histories but short nonfiction stories.

I recommend this to fans of true crime, historians of crime and criminology, and readers who enjoy learning and reading about periods not so distant in time but seemingly far distant because of the technological advancements.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
… (mere)
1 stem
pomo58 | 2 andre anmeldelser | Mar 18, 2020 |



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