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Gangs and Outlaws of Western Pennsylvania Paperback – July 24, 2012

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas White is the university archivist and curator of special collections in the Gumberg Library at Duquesne University. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Duquesne's History Department and an adjunct professor of history at La Roche College. White received a master's degree in public history from Duquesne University. Besides the folklore and history of Pennsylvania, his areas of interest include public history and American cultural history. He is the author of Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania, Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pittsburgh and Forgotten Tales of Philadelphia (coauthored with Edward White), all published by The History Press.

Michael Hassett is a recent graduate of La Roche College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science. It is at La Roche where he met and studied under Thomas White, assisting with editing and research for his previous books. Michael is currently an Americorps volunteer, where he works with and mentors Pittsburgh's inner-city youth. He is also a Peace Corps nominee and hopes to be placed in the fall of 2012 for service. His areas of interest include colonial and modern U.S. history and American folklore.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609495500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609495503
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas White is the university archivist and curator of special collections in the Gumberg Library at Duquesne University. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Duquesne's history department and an adjunct professor of history at La Roche College. White recieved a master's degree in public history from Duquesne University. Besides the folklore and history of Pennsylvania, his areas of interest include public history and American cultural history. He is the author of Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania, Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pittsburgh and Forgotten Tales of Philadelphia(co-authored with Edward White.)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vince Brooks on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This well written, well researched book opens the raucous late 19th and early 20th century Western PA police blotter to reveal some interesting and despicable characters who ran roughshod over Pittsburgh and its environs. Everyone from the casual student of history to lovers of a good scandal will enjoy this concise local history volume. I was able to learn more about some ne'er-do-well ancestors, The Cooley Gang, who terrorized the residents of Uniontown and Smithfield, PA, with their crimes of opportunity.

Mr. White and Mr. Hassett utilized newspaper accounts, family lore, and their own research skills to present some compelling, easy-to-read sketches of these notorious men and women. Yes, women, too! The illustrations and citations offer readers opportunity to further investigate any or all of the rogues that pique their interest.

I've also purchased this book as a gift for a family member that enjoys reading local history. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the seedier side of the Steel City's history.
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Format: Paperback
I've lived in western PA for most of my life and this is some history that I was totally unaware of. For the most part, the crimes that he writes about go back at least 80 years, some much longer than that. It would have been interesting, if not fun, for someone in todays' world to watch them try and make their escape from the scene of the crime.

It looks like he saved the best story for last, the Biddle Boys Escape. This happens in January of 1902, so trying to imagine this the way the author is describing it definately makes that chapter an interesting read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another good read by Thomas White! I never considered Dilinger-type outlaws in steel and coal country, But we even had our own Bonnie and Clyde, the overlooked Glenn and Irene. My favorite story was the Flathead gang because they committed their crimes in the area I was born and raised which are the counties south of Pittsburgh. Make no mistake, these were brutal crimes, not just robbery, but assaults and murders. This is true of all the stories and White does a good job of not making folk-heroes of them.

As with all his books, White is an exceptional story-teller and meticulous researcher. After reading the incredible tale of Mrs. Soffel, the prison warden's wife who helped 2 prisoners escape, I realized that the movie couldn't be better than White's telling.

I was surprised and saddened to learn that women were enamored by Mrs. Soffel's 2 prisoners because they were very handsome. Some women in 1902 fell in love with them and lobbied for their release. I thought that was only a phenomena of modern times.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There were stories in here that rivaled the Wild West. So I guess we live in the Wild Western Pennsylvania.
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By Mary M. Esler on May 20, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not as good as I expected it to be. Drawn out at times. Interesting thou.
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