course. Virtually everyone in the Dillinger gang was hunted down and killed or jailed, as were accomplices ranging from plastic surgeons to waitresses. Piquett was convicted and disbarred for his involvement and died a broken old man. Remarkable throughout is Dillinger’ s code. He shot when shot at; that he shot better kept him alive. He was loyal to friends, though ultimately betrayed by them. He was generous and honored his own debtsonce paying off a doctor’s bill for one of the members of his gang. He was tough as nails. Wounded on several occasions, he underwent facial plastic surgery with a half-effective local anesthetic and took nothing to kill the pain when he had his fingertips burned away with acid to alter his prints. And he had a sense of humorin the midst of an intensive manhunt Dillinger went home for Sunday dinner at his father’s house, rightly figuring the Chicago cops and the “G-Men,” the government-approved monicker for its new federal agents, would be too stupid to look for him there. And he was a loyal Cubs fan. He also had panache: In those days you didn’t just buy automatic weapons at the neighborhood pawn shop, like today. Dillinger’s first source of ordnance was the same used by guerrillas throughout the world. He raided police stations and seized their arsenals. Later, when police firepower lost its competitive edge, Dillinger helped pioneer entirely new forms of lethal weaponry. In one of the quirky annotations which bring the book to life, Helmer traces Dillinger’s supply route towhere elseTexas. Through “Baby Face” Nelson, the gang purchased specially modified machine guns and machine pistols from Hyman S. Lebman, a dealer in San Antonio, in turn supplied through Wolf & Klar, a distributor in Fort Worth \(also purveyor to Mawas later prosecuted but not convicted under Texas’ new machine gun statute, which prefigured a federal machine gun law that itself owed much to wild and rarely checked government exaggerations about Dillinger’s operations. As Girardin’ s invaluable manuscript piles up the details, Helmer elaborates his central thesis: that the sudden fame of America’s first officially designated “Public Enemy Number One” was more than a little connected to the push within the new Roosevelt Administration to create a national police force and national crime laws to deal with what was about to be a new national problemorganized crime. Deliber ate government lies, aided by Hollywood’s compliance with glamorized G-Men movies, created a climate of semi-hysteria in the 1930s that did little to stop the mob but much to advance the creation of the FBI and its new emperor, who, in gratitude, displayed Dillinger’s death mask in a glass case in his office. “The irreverent have since credited Dillinger with sacrificing his life to give his country its first comprehensive criminal code and make Hoover a national hero,” writes Helmer. “He just didn’t do it intentionally.” Helmer and Girardin also conclude that Dillinger, gunned down 60 years ago this summerJuly 22, 1934in front of the Biograph Theater, may have been one of the early victims of the cooperation between the government and the mob it wanted to control. It’s not known who actually shot Dillinger in the trap sprung by Melvin but the evidence indicates the three fatal bullets came not from the G-Men but from corrupt East Chicago cops. 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