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The Vendetta by [Purvis, Alston]
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The Vendetta Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Purvis's fascinating story of his father, once internationally famous for his role in the violent takedown of John Dillinger and now an obscure figure, limns a true American tragedy. The senior Purvis's meteoric rise to prominence at the FBI, just coming into its own, placed the genteel lawyer at the center of the war on crime that gripped the nation in the early 1930s. His enthusiasm and dedication caught the notice of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who promoted him repeatedly and gave him more and more serious responsibilities. But Hoover's pettiness and paranoia led him to turn on his protégé, even reaching out decades after Purvis's departure from the Bureau to block him from other jobs. The book's impact is lessened somewhat by florid writing ("Something evil came to Wellsville in the dead of night"). Purvis (with People magazine writer Tresniowski) could have compensated for the existence of rival narratives such as Bryan Burrough's definitive Public Enemies by dwelling more on his own memories of his father, rather than giving details of manhunts for gangsters, but he succeeds in giving Melvin Purvis the accolades he deserves. Illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Melvin Purvis (whom the media dubbed "Nervous Purvis" for his self-described shaking during the long wait for John Dillinger to emerge from the Biograph Theater before Dillinger was gunned down) was celebrated during the Depression as America's hero in the War on Crime. Purvis was the FBI agent deemed most responsible for capturing "Public Enemies" Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson. Few people remember Purvis now, largely because, according to his son, Edgar Hoover directed a 25-year smear campaign against the right-hand man who outshone him. This argument's power stems from the care with which the authors delineate Purvis' crime-fighting career; the details of how Purvis hunted America's Public Enemies (especially Dillinger's last hours at the Biograph) are fascinating in themselves and prepare the reader to accept the son's premise that Hoover's jealousy haunted Purvis for the rest of his life. Gripping reading for true-crime fans. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 2329 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Public Affairs; Reprint edition (April 17, 2009)
  • Publication Date: May 4, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026SCNOK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,346,032 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lance S. Edwards on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lot of books about John Dillinger, some good, some not so good. But Purvis? What about the guy who put a stop to the original Public Enemy Number 1?
It's not unusual to have not heard much about the guy who didn't win the pop culture contest over the long haul. Look at how many books are written about Napoleon compared to those written about the man who defeated him at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington. For that matter, what about Frank Hamer--you know, the law officer who stopped Bonnie and Clyde.
This is a must read for historians and afficiandos of this period of American history, and a must read for those who want a better look at personality that shaped and controlled the FBI for a very long time. Purvis deserved better than he was treated in life, and deserves better than he has been given by history. This book is an excellent start toward rectifying that.
This is an excellent read, it's real history, not Hollywood, real people doing their jobs, not movie stars. If that's what you are looking for then buy this book. And if you think that the fact that it was written by his son automatically sets up a bias, then I dare you to read the book first before deciding.
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Format: Hardcover
This new book called "The Vendetta" by Alex Tresinowski (People magazine writer) and Alston Purvis (Son of FBI agent Melvin Purvis) finally gets to the truth of the matter. Melvin Purvis, once the FBI's once famous agent, tragically took his own life, several years after leaving the FBI. This new book tells of Hoover's 25-year smear campaign against his once right-hand man, who simply was getting more publicity than Hoover. Due to this tactic by Hoover, few people remember Melvin Purvis, according to his son. This book tells the story of Melvin's crime-figting career and details his manhunts of America's one time "Public Enemies," during the years of the "Great Depression." Most importantly the last hours of John Dillinger's life at the Biograph theatre in Chicago are described in detail. The authors write a fasinating story, which prepares the readers to accept the son's premise that Hoover's own jealously of Melvin Purvis haunted Purvis the rest of his life. This book finally gives Melvin Purvis the accolades he so richly deserves. I would recommend it to all readers.

Mike Koch, Author of "The Kimes Gang."
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Format: Hardcover
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI made its reputation in the gang-busting days of the 1930s as, one-by-one, bank robbers like Dillinger and "Pretty Boy" Floyd were riddled with bullets and shorn of their false glamour and public sympathies were redirected to the forces of law and order. One of the most active, and certainly the best known, of the Justice Department sleuths was ace G-man Melvin Purvis. His popularity bruised the jealous ego of the Director, his former friend and mentor. Hoover drove Purvis from the Bureau, erased him from its official history, and spent the next twenty-five years sabotoging him in his post-FBI career and making his life miserable. This was how Hoover repaid the loyal service of the man he'd once promised, "Get Dillinger and the world is yours." Alston Purvis gives a wonderful personal account of his father's heroic life, in and out of the Bureau, enhanced by details from Melvin's own records, FBI reports, and the recollections of Doris Lockerman, Purvis's still-spritely secretary from the "Dillinger Days." More than a personal memoir, the gangster era is told in exciting and accurate detail and popular myths are disspelled. And at long last we have the likely truth behind the tragic mishap that cost Melvin Purvis his life.
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Format: Paperback
This is a candid, no-holds-barred, insider's expose of the search for and killing of America's most famous criminal of the Roaring Jazz Age by one of the sons of America's foremost G-Man. The critical and doomed relationship of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI's most famous Agent, Melvin Purvis, makes for a book that is difficult, if not impossible, to put down and, certainly, ever to forget.
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I am a huge fan of the Dillinger myth (and the associated stories: the Barker-Karpis Gang, Bonnie and Clyde, etc.), and I love books about that time period of U.S. History. This book, written by a son about his famous father's prominent role in fighting the Public Enemies of the 1930s, does not add all that much to my understanding of the events, but it is fantastic in what it adds to an understanding of the inner workings of Hoover's FBI.

I had a vague sense from other books that Hoover resented Melvin Purvis' fame as the charismatic young agent hunted Dillinger and other gangsters in the early days of the FBI, but this book provides thorough and precise references to official correspondence and internal memos to show how petty, cruel, and far-reaching Hoover was in his vengeance for being accidentally upstaged in the public eye. I was shocked in the last chapters at Hoover's systematic efforts to block Purvis from any kind of meaningful employment after his retirement from the FBI, and I am thankful for this heartfelt investigation from Alston Purvis. While I don't trust Purvis' objectivity in some of his presentations of his father's role in history (in particular, he is more sympathetic than most other authors when it comes to how Purvis nearly botched the last encounter between Dillinger and law enforcement), I can completely trust his research and his need for accuracy.

I recommend this book for fans of the time period, anyone interested in the FBI, and anyone in need of a Father's Day present.
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