Published by W. W. Norton & Company, May 2011
In Pretty Boy, Michael Wallis magnificently recreates the vanished, impoverished world of Dustbowl America that has not been as poignantly rendered in prose since John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Wallis evokes the hard times of the era of Steinbeck as he follows the life of Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd from his coming of age at a time when there were no jobs and no food, to his descent into petty crime, bootlegging, his murders, jail terms, and his own brutal slaying by the FBI in an Ohio field in 1934 at the age of thirty. Pretty Boy is a social history at its best, portraying, with a sweeping style, the larger story of the hardscrabble farmers whose lives were so inalterably shattered by the Depression.
"This engaging biography exactly and vividly catches the tone of a region, a time, and a man."
-- Larry McMurtry
"An outstanding biography of Public Enemy No. 1."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Wallis has written a very engaging biography of Floyd, attempting to separate fiction from fact."
-- Library Journal
"Wallis has written the first full-scale biography of Charles Arthur 'Pretty Boy' Floyd, and it is a good one, very readable without sensationalizing or sentimentalizing its subject."
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Wallis brings the legendary Robin Hood of the Great Depression alive – and he proves to be a fascinating fellow.”
-- Tony Hillerman
“The public knew him as Pretty Boy Floyd (a nickname that had lost its appropriateness by the time of his death)… but his rap sheet was astonishingly long, and he killed probably half-a-dozen men. Though by no means whitewashing him, biographer Michael Wallis argues that Floyd wasn’t guilty of all he was accused of, that J. Edgar Hoover falsely attributed several crimes to him in order to close some case-files.”
-- The Washington Post Book World
“Charles has not done one-thousandth of the crimes he has been accused of.”
-- Mamie Floyd, Pretty Boy’s mother
Michael Wallis, a renowned chronicler of the Old West, is the best-selling author of Route 66, Billy the Kid, and David Crockett. Frequently appearing on television and in documentary films, Wallis plays the Sheriff in the animated Pixar features Cars and Cars 2. He lives with his wife in Tulsa, Oklahoma.