Pinkerton's Great Detective: The Rough-and-Tumble Career of James McParland, America's Sherlock Holmes

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9780143126072: Pinkerton's Great Detective: The Rough-and-Tumble Career of James McParland, America's Sherlock Holmes

The story of the legendary Pinkerton detective who took down the Molly Maguires and the Wild Bunch

The operatives of the Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency were renowned for their skills of subterfuge, infiltration, and investigation, none more so than James McParland. So thrilling were McParland’s cases that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle included the cunning detective in a story along with Sherlock Holmes.

Riffenburgh digs deep into the recently released Pinkerton archives to present the first biography of McParland and the agency’s cloak-and-dagger methods. Both action packed and meticulously researched, Pinkerton’s Great Detective brings readers along on McParland’s most challenging cases: from young McParland’s infiltration of the murderous Molly Maguires gang in the case that launched his career to his hunt for the notorious Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch to his controversial investigation of the Western Federation of Mines in the assassination of Idaho’s former governor.

Filled with outlaws and criminals, detectives and lawmen, Pinkerton’s Great Detective shines a light upon the celebrated secretive agency and its premier sleuth.

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About the Author:

Beau Riffenburgh has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of the academic staff. He has written numerous books on exploration, including Shackleton’s Forgotten Expedition. He lives in Llanarthne, Wales, UK.

Review:

"Locating the real James McParland amid the invective, acclaim and invention (including his own) is no easy task, and Beau Riffenburgh, author of ''Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition,' has made good use of the recently released Pinkerton archives to produce the fullest and fairest biography to date.... McParland was the prototype of a character that has become an adored part of America's cultural landscape, the hard-boiled gumshoe, the lone sleuth in search of justice. He was the first private eye in the public eye, and yet he remains strangely private."
—Ben McIntyre, the New York Times

"Revisiting archives and reintroducing historical context, Riffenburgh unfolds a measured, thought-provoking tale of mine-centered mayhem.... Pinkerton's Great Detective delivers an engrossing tale with rewarding insights into a country coping with massive economic and political changes. That process- - and may of its results - still echoes meaningfully today."
American History 

"Thanks to Riffenburgh, it is not hard to divine the truth. McParland was neither a demon nor a saint. This is no copout. The man belonged to an age ravaged by violence and conflict, and his job as he understood it was to capture the guilty.... He was not always in the right, but he broke with the right less often and less deliberately than the criminals he hunted. That is as much heroism as Riffenburgh, a great detective in his own right, has managed to find in this alien, tumultuous time."

The Christina Science Monitor

“Riffenburgh navigates this moral quagmire deftly, contextualizing McParland and his far more violent time, while simultaneously deconstructing the image of the “Great Detective.”
—The Daily Beast

“The biography combines an illuminating look at a fascinating life with a nuanced analysis of how Pinkerton’s agency functioned in the context of the labor movement in 19th-century America.”
—The Columbus Dispatch

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The story of the legendary Pinkerton detective who took down the Molly Maguires and the Wild Bunch The operatives of the Pinkerton s National Detective Agency were renowned for their skills of subterfuge, infiltration, and investigation, none more so than James McParland. So thrilling were McParland s cases that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle included the cunning detective in a story along with Sherlock Holmes. Riffenburgh digs deep into the recently released Pinkerton archives to present the first biography of McParland and the agency s cloak-and-dagger methods. Both action packed and meticulously researched, Pinkerton s Great Detective brings readers along on McParland s most challenging cases: from young McParland s infiltration of the murderous Molly Maguires gang in the case that launched his career to his hunt for the notorious Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch to his controversial investigation of the Western Federation of Mines in the assassination of Idaho s former governor. Filled with outlaws and criminals, detectives and lawmen, Pinkerton s Great Detective shines a light upon the celebrated secretive agency and its premier sleuth. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780143126072

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Research Fellow at Wolfson College Cambridge and Lecturer in the Faculty of History Beau Riffenburgh
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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The story of the legendary Pinkerton detective who took down the Molly Maguires and the Wild Bunch The operatives of the Pinkerton s National Detective Agency were renowned for their skills of subterfuge, infiltration, and investigation, none more so than James McParland. So thrilling were McParland s cases that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle included the cunning detective in a story along with Sherlock Holmes. Riffenburgh digs deep into the recently released Pinkerton archives to present the first biography of McParland and the agency s cloak-and-dagger methods. Both action packed and meticulously researched, Pinkerton s Great Detective brings readers along on McParland s most challenging cases: from young McParland s infiltration of the murderous Molly Maguires gang in the case that launched his career to his hunt for the notorious Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch to his controversial investigation of the Western Federation of Mines in the assassination of Idaho s former governor. Filled with outlaws and criminals, detectives and lawmen, Pinkerton s Great Detective shines a light upon the celebrated secretive agency and its premier sleuth. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780143126072

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Book Description Penguin. 1 Paperback(s), 2013. soft. Book Condition: New. The operatives of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency were renowned for their subterfuge, infiltration, and investigation—none more so than James McParland, whose reputation mirrored the agency's own, and inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to include him in a story with Sherlock Holmes. Action-packed and full of authentic details, this book follows McParland's cases from his infiltration of the murderous Molly Maguires gang, which launched his career in the 1870s, to his controversial investigation three decades later of the Western Federation of Miners in the assassination of Idaho's former governor Frank Steunenberg."Locating the real James McParland amid the invective, acclaim and invention (including his own) is no easy task, and Beau Riffenburgh, author of Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition, has made good use of the recently released Pinkerton archives. McParland was the prototype of a character that has become an adored part of America's cultural landscape, the hard-boiled gumshoe, the lone sleuth in search of justice."—NYTimes 384. Bookseller Inventory # 63731

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