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True Crime Detective Magazines

Softcover, 9.1 x 10.6 in., 3.73 lb, 336 pages
New edition, only US$ 20
Original edition US$ 39.99
Save US$ 19.99
Follow the evolution of a distinctly American genre. With hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles, True Crime Detective Magazines tells the story, not just of the “detectives,” but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime, and punishment over five decades.

The Golden Age of Bad Girls

Gun-toting femmes fatales caught in the action!

At the height of the Jazz Age, when Prohibition was turning ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into celebrities, America’s true crime detective magazines were born. True Detective came first in 1924, and by 1934, when the Great Depression had produced colorful outlaws like Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, the magazines were so popular cops and robbers alike vied to see themselves on the pages. Even FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover wrote regularly for what came to be called the “Dickbooks,” referring to a popular slang term for a detective.

As the decades rolled on, the magazines went through a curious metamorphosis, however. When liquor was once more legal, the Depression over and all the flashy criminals dead or imprisoned, the “detectives” turned to sin to make sales. Sexy bad girls in tight sweaters, slit skirts, and stiletto heels adorned every cover. Cover lines shouted “I Was a Girl Burglar—For Kicks,” “Sex Habits of Women Killers,” “Bride of Sin!,” “She Played Me for a Sucker,” and most succinctly, “Bad Woman.”

True Crime Detective Magazines follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969. Hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles tell the story, not just of the “detectives,” but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime, and punishment over five decades. With texts by magazine collector Eric Godtland, George Hagenauer, and True Detective editor Marc Gerald, True Crime Detective Magazines is an informative and entertaining look at one of the strangest publishing niches of all time.
The author

Eric Godtland is a self-confessed compulsive collector. Working from his bases in the Haight-Ashbury and Potrero Hill districts of San Francisco, Eric obsesses over all things girly, Hawaiian, musical and modernist. When not lusting after “cool stuff,” Eric manages musicians, bends technology to his will, writes, and begs for money.

The editor

Dian Hanson produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001, including Juggs, Outlaw Biker, and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book Editor. Her titles include the “body part” series, The Art of Pin-up, Psychedelic Sex, and Ren Hang.

True Crime Detective Magazines
Softcover, 9.1 x 10.6 in., 3.73 lb, 336 pages
True Crime Detective Magazines
New edition, only US$ 20
Original edition US$ 39.99
Save US$ 19.99