Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem” as Want to Read:
Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem

2.96  ·  Rating Details ·  123 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Everyone loves a good villain! From the back pages of history, vivid, entertaining portraits of little-known scoundrels whose misdeeds range from the simply inept to the truly horrifying.

Even if you're an avid history buff, you've probably never heard of this disreputable cast of characters: A drunken, ne'er-do-well cop who abandoned his post at Ford's Theatre, giving assa
ebook, 197 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Joe Chacon
Jun 12, 2014 Joe Chacon rated it it was ok
I'm all for collections of stories/essays about people that have shaped American life and history. If you are too, then this book is also for you.

The book is split into three sections: Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues...apt title.

The villains are truly the evil people in history we know nothing about, like corporate slave owners or Nazi propagandists.

The scoundrels are the effing jerks in society that we hate and either get away with it because they can or die trying. These guys and dolls are th
Jill Hutchinson
Nov 10, 2016 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Although the title doesn't indicate it, this book is fun. Written in short chapters, it profiles the lives of some of the great con men/women from all periods of American history, most of whom are practically unknown to the general public The author notes that"evil can sometimes be more interesting than good" and the individuals in this book were, for the most part (with a couple of exceptions), rather clever and their crimes not horrific, just illegal.

I was only familiar with four of the thirty
Kristjan Wager
Apr 19, 2014 Kristjan Wager rated it it was ok
Paul Martin introduces us to a number of interesting people who have lived in the US through the years. From what I could see from his biography, Paul Martin is a journalist, which probably explains his inability to get deep into the background of his subjects, and his habit of speculating on the motive and thoughts of his subjects.

One annoying habit of his, is when he describes a scene, and tells us what the person who he is writing about is thinking. How would he know?

Paul Martin also appears
Mar 02, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
This one's just fun.

Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues is a quick overview of some notorious characters in history. The book is divided into three rough categories: the rogues, your sort of hapless everyday criminal; the scoundrels, who are the asshole jerks everybody knows; and the villains, the truly evil. Martin gives a brief biographic sketch of thirty people in chronological order, ten of each.

Now, I like random collections of historical oddities such as this, but if you don't, this book is n
Richard Martin
Mar 10, 2016 Richard Martin rated it liked it
This book contains 28 brief (ave. 8 pgs.) "true tales of mischief and mayhem." Part I: Villains..."habitual or heinous wrongdoers" such as Samuel Mason or Belle Gunness. Part II: Scoundrels..."guilty of a serious crime or significant misconduct" such as John Parker or Burt Alvord. Part III: Rogues..."committed lesser offenses, made personal mistakes...or possessed...destructive character flaw" such as Peggy Joyce or Don Lapre. Each entry begins with florid descriptions followed by a biography an ...more
Danielle Morency
May 16, 2014 Danielle Morency rated it liked it
Overall, a good concept and interesting. I really think the author did himself a disservice by placing the "villains" at the beginning instead of the end, where it would have more of an impact. Instead, he places the harder core criminals at the start of the book and lets the book kind of go out with a whimper. One other thing the author could have done differently was to avoid so many of the colloquialisms of each wrong-doer's era; it detracted from the potential of the story told and set a ton ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Jamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-feeling-it
This is ridiculous. Would love to read these stories elsewhere written by someone a little less enthusiastic about breaking the fourth wall to push his own opinion.
Sep 21, 2016 Kayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Like in most books like this there were chapters that I really likes and others that I didn't. However, the tally sat in favor for this book. For the most part I hadn't heard of any of the people written about by Paul Martin. A few however did ring some bells: Col. John Chivington, Dean O'Banion, Ed Gein, and of course Kate and Maggie Fox. It was also kind of fun for me because a good number of these people had caused terror in the Midwest which is were I originally hail from. Which might be a l ...more
Mar 24, 2014 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A definite hit and miss affair. Also, there's a question about the book's title. My edition is called Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem. Some of the people profiled I had not heard of. James DeWolf, Joseph Weil, Mildred Gillars, Hetty Green, and David O'Keefe were all fascinating, and the line between rogue and trailblazer is a fine one, however, the writing is terrible. Paul Martin has about the same grasp as what the word irony means as Alanis Morri ...more
Nov 04, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was ok
Should have been titled "Evil, Rich White People Every Liberal Should Know". Oh, but he did put one Asian person in it and made sure you felt a bit sorry for the guy too, because, you know, racism....
In true elitist fashion, the most annoying thing about the writing in this book was the author constantly telling his audience WHY the person was bad. We obviously are too stupid to know that cheating or killing are bad things. Well, bad things when rich, white men do them. He completely left out
Marathon County Public Library MCPL
Paul Martin's book introduces readers to 30 Americans of dubious character. Included in this line-up are killers, cannibals, gangsters, confidence men, traitors, spies, crooked cops, witch hunters, quack doctors, gold-diggers and the world's most inept bodyguard, John Parker; just ask President Lincoln! Martin's book is an entertaining and informative look at some people you definitely don't want to spend time with...ever!

Mike O. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library cat
Sep 13, 2014 Diana rated it liked it
A collection of stories about some of the rogues in American history.

This was definitely a collection of lesser-known historical characters. I hadn't heard of a lot of them. The quality of the stories varied. Not all of them would explain how things ended up (the story about the spiritualist sisters, for instance, mentioned that they would be dead in five years but nothing about how or why). Some were also more interesting than others. Overall, an informative read.
Jan 08, 2017 Marina rated it it was ok
Pretty disappointed-- the stories about the historical figures were incredibly short and lacking detail. The author interjected his opinion in places where it wasn't necessary and clogged up the writing. It could have benefited from scaling back on the amount of profiles presented, and instead focusing on a few key people and going more into detail about their crimes, their lives, and what makes them so notable and complex. Not worth the read.
Jul 16, 2014 Mike rated it it was ok
The earlier review by Kristjan Wager succinctly states my main problem with the book. The author often starts a chapter from the subject's point-of-view, such as in the first profile where the slave trader Thomas De Wolfe watches ships in the harbor and contemplates business. Or when we join Ed Gein digging holes in his backyard.

Not a *bad* book, but take things like that with a grain of salt. The point that Martin is a journalist rather than a historian is a very good one.
Kimberly Hickey
Jul 20, 2014 Kimberly Hickey rated it liked it
Quick read with some interesting characters from history. My only complaint was the author tended to give too much of his own opinion in some of the chapters. It was as if he was passing his own additional judgement on each subject rather than just letting the reader making their own or leaving the historical facts stand. I wasn't reading the book for an extended op-ed newspaper piece.
Dec 11, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
Pretty good. I enjoyed it for the most part and it discussed some folks I had not known. Good mix of the bad, really bad, and the ugly. Enough details, but not bogged down and dragging. I would consider this to be light information reading and I enjoyed the way the author categorized and organized his miscreants.
Mimi Na
Sep 08, 2014 Mimi Na rated it liked it
Interesting read about the infamy of people from history. A quick and easy read. The authors does out his own opinions, thoughts, and speculations (this may annoy some readers). I also wished he flipped the order of the book-as stated in previous reviews, begin with the rogues and end with the villains.
Chris Hart
Jul 26, 2014 Chris Hart rated it did not like it
It must take real talent to write a book with the captivating title of "Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem" and make it boring as snot to read, but Paul Martin achieves this. The most interesting paragraph was a quote from Hedley Lamarr in "Blazing Saddles". Oh wait, that was written by Mel Brooks et al...
Janet Windeguth
Dec 08, 2014 Janet Windeguth rated it really liked it
I admit this was an odd choice for holiday reading, but it was a heck of a lot of fun and I did learn quite a bit. Martin is not shy about putting his opinion of the subjects either. My favorite is when he refers to pirate Samuel Mason as an “unregenerate troglodyte”!
Dec 31, 2015 Shayne rated it liked it
Shelves: real-book
Intriguing, and good writing in terms of both maintaining interest of the reader and good vocabulary – I learned some words along the way. With a crazy cast of characters, this is a fun bathroom reader for the history teacher in your life.
Barefoot Danger
Mar 19, 2015 Barefoot Danger rated it it was ok
Nothing special, but not terrible.
Sep 11, 2014 Jon rated it it was ok

I'm not done and I'll finish it. But this is "watch TV at the same time" or "Readers Digest" type stuff.
Dec 20, 2014 Karen rated it it was ok
Sep 01, 2014 Hope rated it it was ok
The vignettes are so short- I found myself wanting more details...
Midnight Blue
Jun 01, 2016 Midnight Blue rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book that makes me love history......... sometimes history can be even crazier and unbelievable than fiction.
Kim Heimbuch
Apr 06, 2014 Kim Heimbuch rated it it was amazing
Review has been written and will be posted her after it posts at place of origin.
May 12, 2014 Gina rated it liked it
I heard about this book on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU. Interesting read- Learned some things I did not know.
Jamie Jones
Aug 31, 2014 Jamie Jones rated it liked it
I would have suggested rearranging the layout of the book. Villains should have been saved for the end.
John Daly
Apr 10, 2014 John Daly rated it it was ok
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
  • Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox
  • A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans: Pirates, Skinflints, Patriots, and Other Colorful Characters Stuck in the Footnotes of History
  • The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism
  • A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation
  • Baking with Mary Berry: Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Pastries from the British Queen of Baking
  • Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains
  • Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
  • Art of the Classic Car
  • Last Post: The Final Word from Our First World War Soldiers
  • Doomed to Repeat: The Lessons of History We've Failed to Learn
  • My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today
  • National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary
  • 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff: 144 Ideas for Traditions, Homemade Gifts, Recipes, and More
  • The Fight in the Clouds: The Extraordinary Combat Experience of P-51 Mustang Pilots During World War II
  • The Make Ahead Cook
  • The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System
  • The Four Seasons of Pasta
Paul Martin is the pseudonym of an erotica author who grew up in the not so gently rolling hills of southwest Pennsylvania. He writes sensual tales laced with the the supernatural as well as contemporary works featuring strong women and the heroes who are man enough to tame them. When not on the golf course, Paul can be found at his computer letting his imagination play with people's lives and lov ...more
More about Paul Martin...

Share This Book