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The Notorious Reno Gang: Book summary and reviews of The Notorious Reno Gang by Rachel Dickinson

The Notorious Reno Gang

The Wild Story of the West's First Brotherhood of Thieves, Assassins, and Train Robbers

by Rachel Dickinson

The Notorious Reno Gang by Rachel Dickinson X
The Notorious Reno Gang by Rachel Dickinson
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Book Summary

The true story of the world's first robbery of a moving train, and the real origins of the Wild West

They were the first outlaws to rob a moving train. But from 1864 to 1868, the Reno brothers and their gang of counterfeiters, robbers, burglars, and safecrackers also held the town of Seymour, Indiana, hostage, making a large hotel near the train station their headquarters. When the gang robbed the Adams Express car of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad on the outskirts of Seymour on October 6, 1866, it shocked the world—and made other burgeoning outlaws like Jesse James sit up and take notice.

The extraordinary—and extra-legal—efforts to take them out defined the term "frontier justice." From the first report of the robbery, Allan Pinkerton's operatives were on the scene, followed by kidnappings, lynchings, and an extradition from Canada to Indiana that caused an international incident. In the end, ten members of the Reno Gang were hanged, including three of the Reno brothers. And no one was ever charged with the murders.

The Notorious Reno Gang tells the complete story for the first time, revealing how these gangsters, Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, and the little city of Seymour ushered in the Wild West.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Evocative prose and rich historical context add depth and broad appeal to this captivating account." - Kirkus Reviews

"The law and the Pinkertons couldn't handle the murderous Reno Gang, America's first train robbers and outlaw band, or the murderous vigilante mobs who fitted them with 'hempen collars.' Finally a great detective is on the case: journalist Rachel Dickinson does them all justice in this fascinating, throat-clinching, true-life narrative of Civil-War era history, crime, and justice for all." - Michael Capuzzo

"With train robberies, murder, equally bloodthirsty criminals and vigilantes, and a cameo by Abe Lincoln, The Notorious Reno Gang is one of the most entertaining books in years—and it's all true!" - Jeff Guinn

"The Reno thugs—'spiders at the center of a five-hundred-mile web of crime'—filled the moral vacuum following the Civil War with arson, counterfeiting, and train hijacking. Rachel Dickinson has written a compelling narrative of a small town plagued by violence and vice, a microcosm that portrays the issues plaguing many frontier towns in the last half of the nineteenth century. Her prose is spell-binding, and her grasp of the tortured history of American westward settlement is riveting." - Lisa Alther

"In this brilliantly authentic account, Rachel Dickinson tells the true story of the original band of bad-boy Wild West outlaws in all their depraved glory—and the relentless man who hunted them down. Vivid, gripping, and a pure delight to read." - Philip Gerard

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Author Information

Rachel Dickinson

Rachel Dickinson writes about travel, history, bits of science, and anything else that interests her from her home in perpetually cloudy Upstate New York. Her current book took her to the wilds of Southern Indiana to research The Notorious Reno Gang, an account of the world's first train robbers. Her previous book was the narrative nonfiction work Falcone On The Edge, where she followed a hardcore falconer through a hunting season in Wyoming. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College and a geology degree from Kirkland College. She writes one haiku a day, which can be found at http://thehaikudiaries.wordpress.com

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