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Publisher's Summary

Charles Arthur Floyd, better known as Pretty Boy Floyd (1904-1934), was one of the last of the so-called Robin Hood outlaws in the tradition of Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and John Dillinger. He engaged in numerous bank-robbing exploits across the Midwest until federal agents and local police shot him down near East Liverpool, Ohio, on October 22, 1934 - a feat which helped build the image of the modern FBI.

This detailed account of his life, crimes, and death makes extensive use of FBI reports, government records, local newspapers, and contemporary journalistic accounts. Neither highly intelligent nor polished, Floyd relied on his cool demeanor, shrewd cunning, and expert gun-handling ability, but he was also considered by those who knew him to be generous and honest. During the depression, many people saw banks as enemies and Floyd as a hero, and helped screen him from the police. Once he left a large contribution at an Oklahoma church - and no one reported his visit. He was known to drop in at country dances, dance with the prettiest girls, and pay the fiddler well. One story claims that he kept a rural school in fuel one winter. He attended church regularly, even during intense manhunts, and visited his father's grave each Memorial Day, despite the risk of capture.

In this biography, Jeffery S. King addresses many of the questions still surrounding Floyd, such as whether he had contact with other notorious outlaws of the period, including Dillinger, Alvin Karpis, and Bonnie and Clyde, and whether he was executed by the FBI. He also links Floyd to the infamous Kansas City Massacre. Particularly notable are King's assessments of the effectiveness of the FBI and of J. Edgar Hoover's talent for self promotion. Jeffery S. King is a freelance writer and retired reference librarian. His articles have appeared in Lincoln Herald, Sepia, and Utah Historical Quarterly.

The book is published by The Kent State University Press.

©1998 The Kent State University Press (P)2013 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Thoroughly enjoyable, informative, and suitably bloody." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • United States
  • 06-30-15

Very readable Criminal Justice thesis

This is a highly detailed and apparently exceptionally well researched biography of Chas Floyd, development of state and local policing, the early days of the FBI and J Edgar Hoover's early self-aggrandizement. Beginning with Chas's early days and family life, and progressing through his first prison sentence and how it affected his life, with very detailed reports involving his criminal career and demise. The material seems to have been gathered through police reports and an impressive amount of newspaper accounts and family interviews from that time period. It is presented in a very literary manner and woven together seamlessly.
Considering the publisher, one wonders if this is also a required text for CJ majors. If so, the chosen narrator is one who usually does very well in using a cadence well suited to note taking, and it is a good fit. Considering all of the quotations amassed, it is pleasant to have a narrator who is able to utilize character voices so well. I feel that the narrator was able to transform a routine assignment into a rather pleasant read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Terri
  • United States
  • 07-22-15

One of our most notorious criminals...

I received this audio book in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. This book is about the life and the death of Pretty Boy Floyd aka Charles Arthur Floyd. He was only alive for 30 years (1904 - 1934) yet he dd enough crime damage to go down in history as one of America's bad boys bank robber outlaws. This book is a detailed informative book about his comings and goings and how the FBI tracked him down.

The author, Jeffery S King did a good job in his research of Pretty Boy Floyd and wrote this book in a way to hold my interest throughout the book. The things he got away with was just amazing, along with his escapes. The narrator, Jack Chekijian delivers another flawless read to us. Mr Chekijian has a smooth voice that is easy on the ears and enjoyable to listen to. Great job guys!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 07-29-13

Pretty Boy Floyd a robin hood or villian

This book is written in an academic style and does a good job of attempting to present only provable facts. It is obvious a great deal of research went into the book. King covers Floyd's life from early childhood to his death on October 22, 1934 in East Liverpool, Ohio. King cover Floyd's life of crime and down plays his so called acts of paying off mortgage's of poor farmers and helping out with food to poor women and children. The newspaper apparently like to show the relationship of Floyd to Jessie James and Robin Hood. The role of Melvin Purvis in the killing of Floyd is covered as well as the feud between Purvis and head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover. King outlines how this period of lawless from 1929 to 1934 brought about the formation of the FBI and the rise to power of J. Edgar Hoover. In covering, in depth, Floyd's crimes, he also covers the Kansas City Massacre and other well known criminals of the time. Overall this is an interesting story of one man's life and the crimes of the early 1930's. Another interesting book would be to compare this era of crime to the current crimes. Jack Chekijian does a good job narrating the book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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a cool lesson

this book is a comprehensive look at the life of a notorious American criminal. the end was especially exciting as it detailed what really happened when he was finally found. the author obviously did a ton of research. the narrator did a phenomenal job, especially with voices. there was a quote from a little old lady that completely cracked me up. I received a gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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WTF????

the narrator is so God awful. I lasted 3 minutes and gave up. he whisperes

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Not terrible, not great

Less a story than a detailed outline. Narrator kept up with 200 characters. There are bursts of interesting story, but the weight of dates and locations drags it down in the end. I recommend "Go Down Together" by Jeff Guinn instead.

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Starts very good

With this book I have mixed emotions. The book starts off as very interesting and informative. But sadly it turned out to become a little boring. At the end the book becomes informative and a bit interesting again.

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Great book factually but ruined by performance

The worst narrator I have ever listened to. Hasnt the slightest idea the fundamental understanding of how cities are pronounced in Oklahoma. Sluggish pace boring style.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Buy the paper or kindle book and read it yourself

What would have made The Life & Death of Pretty Boy Floyd better?

Jack Chekijan reads the story like he had a sleeping pill the night before and had just woken up. It's like a slightly slowed William Shatner. While well-reseached, King only does a passing-good job of delivering the story of Floyd's exploits and completely loses any potential drama. It's pretty mind boggling that a book about gangsters, bank robberies, high-topped get-a-ways, an shootouts can be boring.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jack Chekijian?

I can only wistfully imagine what Eric Larson and Scott Brick could have made of this.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The book is well-researched. I do feel like I learned a lot.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful