Monday, February 16, 2009

Crime and history

I've been posting about Joe Gores and, by extension, Dashiell Hammett. Now comes a look at the real crime of Hammett's era. Paul Davis posts about Depression-Era Public Enemies vs. the FBI on the Great History Web site. The site, new to me, looks like an informative and entertaining place to learn about and discuss matters that might bring the past to life even if they touch on subjects not always thought of as the province of history — subjects such as crime.

Next post, I'll be back to my normal subject of international crime fiction — or halfway back, anyhow.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009


Blogger John McFetridge said...

If you're going to look at Depression-era Public enemies a good novel to read would be Elmore Leonard's, The Hot Kid.

And, in keeping with the Bruen/Starr post, The Hot Kid is part of a sort-of trilogy along with Up In Honey's Room and the novella, Comfort to the Enemy. All great reads.

February 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I may have mentioned that other than the great "3:10 to Yuma," I've made just one short-lived effort to read Leonard. But I've been looking to try again, since so many crime writers I like love his work. And I noticed those bouquets you sent his way in "Swap."

February 17, 2009  
Blogger Paul Davis said...

I've read all of Leonard's books, including the latest two set in the 1930s and 1940s.

One of my favorite Leonard books is one of his early crime novels "City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit." This book is perhaps a transitional one from Westerns to modern crime.

An easy transition for Leonard, I think, as it seems to me that Westerns are simply crime stories with a 19th Century American West backdrop. Nearly all Westerns deal with outlaws, lawmen and crime.


Paul Davis

February 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, Leonard embodies a fair piece of American literary history, I'd say. He honors that tradition of Western meets crime.

As for the two meeting, it's no accident that the cleaning up of a corrupt town forms the plot for a number of pulp-era American stories, just as it did for so many Westerns -- not that I could name more than a couple, but it's one of the archetypal motifs, I'd say.

February 17, 2009  

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