Late one September night in 1891 a man boarded the American Express train as it sped through New York State. Wearing a red hood with slots for him to see through, his eyes flashed. 'It's money I'm after,' he shouted, pointing two guns at the guard. Grabbing a fortune in cash, he then apparently dropped through the floor and vanished without a trace. His name was Oliver Curtis Perry and he became the country's most wanted man. While detectives searched in vain, the public couldn't get enough of the charismatic young robber. Women adored him and boys worshipped him. Five months later, he robbed the same train again, and only after an extraordinary chase was he caught. But if the authorities believed they had beaten this celebrity criminal they were mistaken. Perry's prison life proved as remarkable as his robberies as he turned escape-artist, protester, hunger striker and finally poet in his determination to win his freedom. In this unusual portrait of the Wild West gone east, Tamsin Spargo brings an irresistible and romantic anti-hero to life.
Tamsin Spargo was born and raised in Cornwall. She worked as a reporter, then as an actor, before embarking on her current career as a cultural historian. She is Reader in Cultural History and Director of the School of Media, Critical and Creative Arts at Liverpool John Moores University. Her academic works include The Writing of John Bunyan and Reading the Past: Literature and History.