Herman “Baron” Lamm, the Father of Modern Bank Robbery


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About the Book

Former Prussian soldier Herman “Baron” Lamm (1890–1930) adapted his military training to a much less noble occupation after moving to America, developing a reputation as one of history’s most brilliant and efficient bank robbers. Lamm’s time fell between Butch Cassidy and John Dillinger’s notorious careers, and Lamm never received the attention of the two famous gunslingers. This first full-length biography promotes Lamm from his supporting role, tracing his criminal exploits and his pioneering use of concepts like “casing” a bank and planning escape routes. Analysis of arrest records finds Lamm’s genius as a criminal mastermind much overrated, and a detailed examination of the trial transcript of fellow gang members Walter Detrich and James Clark brings to life Lamm’s spectacular downfall.

About the Author(s)

Walter Mittelstaedt is an independent researcher and writer in Bloomington, Illinois. His work has been published in True West.

Bibliographic Details

Walter Mittelstaedt

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6559-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9229-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii

Preface      1

An Unarmed Prologue      5

I. Materials for a Death      15

II. Minions of the Moon: St. Bernice, 1924      34

III. Easy Money: Milwaukee, December 8, 1924      51

IV. “We always had our eyes open”: Of Hooligans and Vigilance      58

V. Under the Radar at Winston-Salem      73

VI. Death Comes to Lafayette      80

VII. The Simple Art of Bank Robbery—Frankfort, Indiana, December 3, 1930      89

VIII. Clinton; or, The Wheels of Chance      99

IX. “You’re out of luck”      125

X. After “the most thrilling manhunt ever staged in this part of the country”      138

XI. The State of Indiana vs. Walter E. Detrich and James Clark, Alias William M.
Long      154

XII. Tell the Jury What, If Anything, Happened Then: The Witnesses Speak      163

XIII. The Greatest Escape      192

XIV. Laid at His Doorstep      208

XV. Who Else?      217

Chapter Notes      233

Bibliography      251

Index      255

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