Thu June 18, 2009
"Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34."
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On our show today, we speak with Brian Burrough, a special correspondent with Vanity Fair magazine and the author of "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34." First published a few years ago, this widely acclaimed study --- one reviewer in The New York Times said that it "brims with vivid portraiture" and Time magazine called it "ludicrously entertaining" --- is now the basis for an upcoming film starring Johnny Depp (which opens in two weeks, just before the July 4th weekend). "Public Enemies" has been universally hailed as the most in-depth, comprehensive, and detailed book of its kind, profiling not just the young J. Edgar Hoover and his emergent FBI but also a whole range of criminals who moonlighted as national icons: John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, the Barker Gang, and so on. In a hefty, impressively researched narrative that draws upon thousands of newly released federal documents, Burrough also shows us how Hoover's so-called G-men overcame their early ineptitude to pave the way for the FBI's dramatic rise to power.