By Elliott J. Gorn
What's the strength of Dillinger's tale? Why has it lingered see you later? Who used to be John Dillinger? Gorn illuminates the importance of Dillinger's super popularity and the patience of his legacy, arguing that he represented an American fascination with primitive freedom opposed to social conference. Dillinger's tale has a lot to inform us approximately our enduring fascination with outlaws, crime and violence, in regards to the complexity of our transition from rural to city lifestyles, and concerning the transformation of the US in the course of the nice melancholy. Dillinger's Wild journey is a compulsively readable tale with an unforgettable protagonist.
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Extra resources for Dillinger's Wild Ride: The Year That Made America's Public Enemy Number One
The next month he disobeyed orders, left his post on the Utah, and received another five days in solitary. Granted shore liberty in December he took off for good, leaving no personal effects. Two weeks later the Navy declared him a deserter and offered a fifty-dollar reward for news of his whereabouts. 18 On his return to Mooresville Johnnie told his family that the Navy sent him home because of a heart murmur. His other heartache, the loss of his first love, apparently had abated, and he quickly became interested in another local farm girl, seventeen-year-old Beryl Hovious.
Only fair too, they believed, were his disposition and his mental condition. They described Dillinger’s physical state as “good,” despite their diagnosis that he had gonorrhea. 25 One thing not mentioned by prison officials: Dillinger liked to read. He held a subscription to Argosy All-Story, a weekly compendium of pulp writing—cowboy fiction, romance and adventure stories, biographical sketches, humorous pieces—most of it long on action, short on character development, and all of it cranked out through time-honored formulas.
His professions of reform 22 | Dillinger’s Wild Ride notwithstanding, he had changed over the course of the decade, and not for the better. 46 America also had changed, and the Dillingers, senior and junior, were emblematic of those changes. Old John had retreated to Mooresville at least in part to escape the forces that were overtaking cities like Indianapolis. Small-town Indiana in the 1920s was a bastion of conservatism. While most of the country prospered, rural areas like Morgan County, where Dillinger Senior worked his land, remained in a deep recession.