Published: March 4, 2014
Author: Paul Martin
Series: Stand Alone
Even if you're an avid history buff, you've probably never heard of this disreputable cast of characters: A drunken, ne'er-do-well cop who abandoned his post at Ford's Theater, giving assassin John Wilkes Booth unchallenged access to President Lincoln; a notorious Kansas quack who made millions by implanting billy goat testicles in gullible male patients; and America's worst female serial killer ever. These are three of the memorable but little-known rogues profiled in this eye-opening and entertaining book.
Like in most books like this there were chapters that I really likes and others that I didn't. However, the tally sat in favor for this book. For the most part I hadn't heard of any of the people written about by Paul Martin. A few however did ring some bells: Col. John Chivington, Dean O'Banion, Ed Gein, and of course Kate and Maggie Fox. It was also kind of fun for me because a good number of these people had caused terror in the Midwest which is were I originally hail from. Which might be a little sad that it wasn't until now that I'd heard of them or their misdeeds.
One of my favorite parts of this book was Paul Martin's writing style. Mostly it was the little bits he'd add into the fact. Just sliding his feelings and opinion on parts of the person histories that would make me laugh, or the he'd word things that never let the book get dry with the facts. I never really found myself getting really bored, at least not with the writing.
The amount of research that was done for this book extensive, and you really can tell. Not only because the back of book gives you access to Paul Martin's bibliography. Just with the writing and story telling. Each chapters tells a complete story that made these people infamous. I never once felt like Martin was pulling facts out of the air. Everything flowed, felt solid, and nothing seemed just thrown together to make is more interesting or make it sound better.
I also want to thank him for the third Chapter in this book. While I doubt he sees this review, I still want to say it. My Senior year I did a project on Captain Silas Soule and his role in Sand Creek. It is a story that is dear to me, because I got to share his story with a lot of people in his home State that had never heard of him. So I was really happy to see a chapter about the reason he was murder and done so well. The last book I picked up about him was not so good. So thank you for that, Mr. Martin.
Really, the only thing I "negative" that I found was there were a couple of chapter where I wasn't really sure how they fit into the role of "Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues". Just people shoved in a bad situation due to the time period and really lack of other options. Those chapters were few and far between. So it wasn't really a huge deal. It's honestly a really nitpicking thing for me to complain about, and it didn't stop me from picking it back up.
Three big stars is what I give Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues. I enjoyed my time with it and I've totally already passed it onto a friend I think will get a kick out of it. My roommate enjoy the pieces I read out loud to her, because there were quiet a few required sharing. Either due to the shock of what these people had done. Or, just how silly it was.
Buy, Borrow, or Skip: This one is tough. Personally I say I buy, I love compilations like these. I have an entire shelf of them! That being said it's a fun read show definitely borrow if your local library has a copy.