Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

March 14, 2004|By Michael Pakenham

The Encyclopedia of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List: 1950 to Present, by Duane Swierczynski. Checkmark Books. 400 pages. $21.95.

The whole thing started in 1949 when an enterprising reporter asked the FBI who, in their book, were the 10 hottest yeggs on the lam. Within a year, J. Edgar Hoover -- never to miss a moment of publicity -- institutionalized the list. Here, in a coffee-table size volume, are photos and all sorts of facts and stats on all 477 of them -- 94 percent of whom were captured. The first was Thomas James "Tough Tommy" Holden, a Chicago murderer and bank robber listed on March 14, 1950. Osama bin Laden is there, along with Ted Bundy and Ruth Eisemann Schier, a kidnapper who became the first woman ever to make the list on Dec. 28, 1968 -- and who was caught on March 5, 1969. So is Bernardine Dohrn, the Weatherman terrorist listed on Oct. 14, 1970, delisted on Dec. 7, 1973, and a fugitive till 1982. Charming book for the true-crime addict. And, well, you might find a neighbor or kinfolk here.

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