I just finished reading Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer’s book Sutton (Hyperion, 2012) about bank robber Willie Sutton. Sutton (1901-1980) had an impressive 40-year career as one of America’s most notorious bank robbers. Starting in the 1920s, Sutton robbed an estimated 100 banks, with a cash grab exceeding about $2 million. But, despite his talent for robbery (and his non-violent approach; Sutton never fired a shot) he spent more than half of his adult life in prison.

Moehringer’s story is a great read. It’s not a fast-paced page turner but a deeply engrossing tale about a man who has dedicated himself to a life of crime and yet, despite this questionable career choice, is an immensely likeable and sympathetic character. At the heart of this tale is a love story between Sutton and the first love of his life; Moehringer shows us how powerful, how consuming, how everlasting love can be. I loved meeting the Willie Sutton presented in Moehringer’s book and imagine he’d have been quite a character to have dinner with. Thanks for introducing me to this American figure who I’d previously known nothing about.

My rating: 4 out of 5

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