Inventing The Public Enemy: The Gangster in American Culture, 1918-1934

Paperback | April 15, 1996

byDavid E. Ruth

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In this richly detailed account of mass media images, David Ruth looks at Al Capone and other "invented" gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s. The subject of innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, scores of novels, and hundreds of Hollywood movies, the gangster was a compelling figure for Americans preoccupied with crime and the social turmoil it symbolized. Ruth shows that the media gangster was less a reflection of reality than a projection created from Americans' values, concerns, and ideas about what would sell.

We see efficient criminal executives demonstrating the multifarious uses of organization; dapper, big-spending gangsters highlighting the promises and perils of the emerging consumer society; and gunmen and molls guiding an uncertain public through the shifting terrain of modern gender roles. In this fascinating study, Ruth reveals how the public enemy provides a far-ranging critique of modern culture.

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From Our Editors

In this richly detailed account of mass media images, David Ruth looks at Al Capone and other 'invented' gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s. The subject of innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, scores of novels, pulp books and plays, and hundreds of Hollywood movies, the gangster was a compelling figure for Americans preoccupied w...

From the Publisher

In this richly detailed account of mass media images, David Ruth looks at Al Capone and other "invented" gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s. The subject of innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, scores of novels, and hundreds of Hollywood movies, the gangster was a compelling figure for Americans preoccupied with crime and the soci...

From the Jacket

In this richly detailed account of mass media images, David Ruth looks at Al Capone and other 'invented' gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s. The subject of innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, scores of novels, pulp books and plays, and hundreds of Hollywood movies, the gangster was a compelling figure for Americans preoccupied w...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:April 15, 1996Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226732185

ISBN - 13:9780226732183

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Gangster and Urban America
1. The Individual, Society, and the Uses of Crime
2. Criminal Businessmen
3. Dressed to Kill: Consumption, Style, and the Gangster
4. Bad Men and Dangerous Women
5. The Invention in the Flesh: Al Capone of Chicago
Epilogue
Notes
Index

From Our Editors

In this richly detailed account of mass media images, David Ruth looks at Al Capone and other 'invented' gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s. The subject of innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, scores of novels, pulp books and plays, and hundreds of Hollywood movies, the gangster was a compelling figure for Americans preoccupied with crime and the social turmoil it symbolized.