Tough luck. Edelson's mild-mannered history of Hollywood tough guys has no punch. Instead, he offers brief characterizations of loosely grouped actors and actresses, plot summaries of their films, plus the sort of quickie pronouncements that will leave kids out in the cold (""Viewed logically, Casablanca is sentimental trash""). The selection is fine: Bogart, Robinson, and Cagney share one chapter; Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet get their due; and modern variations of bad-guy styles are examined. But Edelson has no central thesis, no organizing principle; the text drones on and on with the forced inflection of an educational film voice, piping in pleasantries in lieu of solid observations (""Paul Douglas died of a heart attack at a young age, and he is missed""). Too much Shirley Temple, not enough Sam Spade.