LAW & CRIME

On the Lam: A History of Hunting Fugitives in America

Rowman & Littlefield. Sept. 2019. 284p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781442262584. $36; ebk. ISBN 9781442262591. CRIME
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Despite the threat to public safety, Americans have long been fascinated with fugitives from justice. Over the decades, fugitives such as Jesse James; Bonnie Parker and her lover/partner in crime, Clyde Barrow; and Whitey Bulger have captivated American imaginations, elevating them to almost herolike status. This work examines the history of the fugitive in the U.S. criminal justice system, beginning with the inception of the U.S. Marshals and the FBI, as well as the creation of the FBI’s “public enemy” and “most-wanted” lists. After the creation of these lists, fugitives became American icons and were often romanticized in the media. Stories of famous (and not so famous) fugitives and how they evaded capture are featured throughout. The authors describe the various methods authorities have used to capture fugitives over the years and how the digital age makes it more difficult for these criminals to remain at large.
VERDICT Although the stories of the fugitive captures are fascinating, many true crime readers will already be familiar with the basic facts presented here. Readers curious about the evolution of law enforcement agencies and their role in apprehending these individuals will be better served.

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