THE PINKERTONS by James D. Horan


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Rather an enormous volume, justified in that the Pinkertons were certainly involved in part of our most violent and notorious past. Dubbed ""America's Scotland Yard"" by the British, the detective agency had its genesis with the genius of Allen Pinkerton who exercised tyrannical control and whose insistence on his own infallibility almost ruined General McClellan during the Civil War (Allen was as inept at espionage as he was excellent at detection). The agents were most theatrical, one spy posing as a madly British noble on a ""Grand Tour"" of the war-torn South. Pinkerton himself, at this time, saved Lincoln from a pre-inauguration assassination and later lamented that he wasn't around for the second attempt. Then there were the savage confrontations with train robbers as the Pinkertons became the Great Protectors of the railroads; the wars between the Pinkertons and the Molly Maguires and a later victory over the early Mafia. A Wild West and a WooLly East to protect and the characters are as bizarre as their crimes--""Wild Rose"" Greenlow, Southern Spy who bedded down most of Washington (and received lovesick notes from the Senator from Massachusetts); Dr. Holmes, the Bluebeard who killed 27 women and children, the James Brothers, the Missouri Kid, on. . . . A Rogue's Gallery portfolio history, readable.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1968
Publisher: Crown