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Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem Paperback – March 4, 2014


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Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem + Secret Heroes: Everyday Americans Who Shaped Our World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616149272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616149277
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This collection of exceptionally well-crafted historical portraits deals, in descending order, with monsters, the merely evil, and the unscrupulous. The first include such people as the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company and serial murderer Ed Gein. The second includes Old West adventuress Squirrel Tooth Annie, the journalist who puffed up Robert Peary’s claim to have reached the North Pole, and a doctor who lent himself to the American eugenics movement. The last category includes a number of the merely fraudulent as well as a charming old gentleman who counterfeited one-dollar bills to keep himself in pocket change. 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. --Roland Green

Review

"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 

More About the Author

Paul Martin spent three decades as a book and magazine editor with the National Geographic Society, the last ten years as executive editor of National Geographic Traveler. His writing assignments have taken him around the world. Earlier in his career, he served as a military journalist in Vietnam and was assistant editor of Outdoors magazine and managing editor of Continuing Education for the Family Physician. Martin lives near Washington, D.C. When not writing, he builds acoustic guitars. Learn more about his work at www.paulmartinbooks.com. (Photo: Mark Thiessen/NGS)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gotta Tellya on June 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Based on reviews for this book, I anticipated learning interesting facts about some of our country's historic bad folks. That held true. However, I never fully engaged with the author's style. I was put off by the amount of sermonizing during and particularly at the end of each tale. These naughty folks could have behaved better--in some cases, a lot better. I get it. I don't need redundant preaching to that effect. I would have preferred straightforward tale-telling with minimal personal opinions from the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
Paul Martin's VILLAINS, SCOUNDRELS AND ROGUES introduces readers to a witches' brew of 30 Americans sure to engender feelings of "anger, revulsion, curiosity or astonishment." None of the people profiled in Martin's entertaining book are the sort you want to take home and introduce to Mother, trust me.

Each of the ne'er-do-wells covered rates a 6-8 page write-up with accompanying photograph. Included are murderer Ed Gein, queen of the misers Hetty Green, gangster Dion O'Bannion, traitor Mildred Gillars (AKA 'Axis Sally'), crooked TV pitchman Don Lapre, Congressman-turned-spy Sam Dickstein, uber-Gold Digger Peggy Joyce, con men Alvin Thomas and Joseph Heil (AKA 'The Yellow Kid'), goat gonad shyster doctor John Brinkley, lawman-turned-robber Burt Alvord, copra king David O'Keefe, rabid Salem witch hunter Wiliam Stoughton, eugenics guru Charles Davenport, Sand Creek butcher John Chivington and the world's most inept bodyguard John Parker; just ask Abraham Lincoln!

Well-researched and entertainingly-written, Martin's book should prove of interest to those intrigued by the darker side of American history. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Goodrich on March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Martin's book, Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues. The cast of dastardly characters helps one to understand that human nature is ripe with people who have no concept of the harm they do on monumental level. But, at the same time, they leave us fascinated with their pernicious acts because of the talents they possess that could have built them legal fortunes and fame. My favorite "scoundrel" was the yellow kid who liked making lavish money illegally just so he could spend it on a good time. I guess he never considered he could have done the same thing taking the straight path. But probably crime more fun.
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Format: Paperback
Chances are you haven't heard of most of the shady characters in this book but that doesn't mean the individual does not have an interesting past worth reading about. I was familiar with only five (Dion O'Banion, Ed Gein, John Chivington, Peggy Hopkins Joyce, and Lincoln's so-called bodyguard but I didn't recognize his name, John Parker). Some of the persosns I started skimming through that I didn't find interesting while others I found to be fascinating. I would think this would probably be your finding as well. It's a worthwhile read but certainly not a must-have nor was it meant to be.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a quick, fun read with all sorts of rather interesting - and almost unbelievable - stories about some really bad people. I don't think I had heard of most of them and it's always fun to read obscure history. The companion book by Paul Martin called Secret Heroes is also a very entertaining read, so I recommend you go ahead and get them both. Have fun.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good read,learned a little history,title is above the content.with that title, my expectations were more hardcore and graffic read. But worth the time!
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