Book Review: Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber by Dane Batty
March 8, 2012 6 Comments
Dane Batty read the letters that his uncle sent (from prison) to his sister, Dane’s mother and became interested in his story. He interviewed Leslie and people who were involved with Leslie in some way which led to this book.
The story is told in the voice of Leslie, with now and then a few comments by Dane Batty.
Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber: What it is about
This is the story of Leslie Rogge, the uncle of the author, who robbed many banks during his criminal career and evaded the FBI for many years.
A small part of the book is devoted to his early years and his for few bank robberies. The book decribes in detail how he went about robbing banks – always dressed to the nines and at his most politest. While he had a gun (that he would show, but never used) he was always sorry for the employees that had to go through the ordeal of the robbery and in some cases, may have got fired because of it.
Then there is a large part where Leslie has a boat and travels around with his girlfriend and her little boy.The FBI comes closer every time but his eventual arrest takes longer than you’d expect. Oh, and he did escape from prison a few times, too.
Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber: What I thought
I liked Leslie and his clever ways. Everyone likes Leslie, apparently, and that’s how he managed to have a wonderful life outside prison (and to be assisted in escaping prison). For instance, he managed to talk the police into destroying evidence (it sounded like a very logical thing to do, in this particular case), as a result of which he couldn’t be convicted. How about that?
On the other hand, while the book started off really interesting, I found the middle bit boring. Leslie buys cars, later boats, and we get details on makes and how much work he needed to do on them. Then he and his girlfriend set off by boat, meet people on the way, etc. The ending, with the FBI hot on his tail, made a good read again.
The book was a chronological story about Lesle’s life but there wasn’t much reflection. I would have liked to know what his justification was for robbing banks, what he thought of being in prison, about leaving his two children (with his previous wife, who doesn’t grant him access). Also, more general, I would have liked to get an idea of what Leslie actually thought of all of his adventures.
The book doesn’t glorify crime but it doesn’t condemn it either. It evokes a good chuckle about Leslie’s criminal antics but not everyone may approve of this.
In conclusion, the book is a mixed experience for me – some of it was good fun to read, some I found rather boring, and I felt I missed some self-reflection.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I got this book: for review from the author
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 218
First published: 2010
Genre: memoir, crime
Extra: Book trailer (youtube)