Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues tells the stories of a remarkable group of Americans who left behind some indelible negative legacy. They come from all periods in our nation’s history and represent a wide variety of occupations. Several were lifelong hardened criminals, others perfectly normal men and women who simply jumped the rails at some point in their lives, if only momentarily. Although many of these people were famous in their own time, they’ve largely slipped into the shadows for most modern readers. What makes these figures worthy of note is that their life stories all read like fiction. These were no run-of-the-mill miscreants. They’re some of the most incredible ne’er-do-wells in American history. Many of these antiheroes provide cautionary tales that enlighten and instruct. And as more than one armchair philosopher has argued, wrongdoers can be more interesting than paragons—which explains why actors love to play the bad guy. Meet the Villains. (Prometheus Books, 2014)

“This fascinating little book is filled with well-researched and very well-written accounts of exceptionally nasty people. Martin doesn’t know the meaning of the word boring.” —San Francisco Book Review (5 Stars)

“Martin’s rich and varied portraits display misbehavior, from simple idiocy and apathy to conniving con men, gold diggers, and gamblers. Entertaining and informative.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Great reading abounds in this addictive collection. Martin tells very good tales of people being very, very bad.” —Louisville Courier-Journal

“Exceptionally well-crafted historical portraits. A model of how to write short popular history.” —Booklist

“Wildly entertaining celebration of America’s most outrageous characters.” —Baker & Taylor Forecast