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The Santa Claus Bank Robbery

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Master storyteller A. C. Greene re-creates one of America’s most bizarre holdups—one that began as a lark. On Christmas Eve 1927, four men set off to rob the First National Bank of Cisco, Texas. Soon the lark turned into a tragedy—and at times a comedy—of errors. The robbers did not realize the car they had stolen for their getaway was running on empty. The leader did not ...more
Hardcover, 231 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by University of North Texas Press (first published 1972)
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David
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gangsters, texas, group-b
As much a meditation on the contagious nature of violence as a history of a bank robbery gone wrong. Greene mounts a subtle attack on trigger-happy posses and lynch mobs. There is a certain level of fictionalizing events as well (did a blind fiddler really play "Soldier's Joy" as the robbers sped away? Was Marshall Ratliffe truly disconnected from reality?).

I'm not sure I fully support Greene's emphasis, as opposed to his conclusions. Still, this is a thought-provoking work by a superb writer.
Judy Vasseur
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
"Why Santa? Why did you rob the bank? Sob." Some little kiddies from depression-era small-town Texas will never trust jolly old St. Nick again! Hard-headed bumbling burglars meet stubborn, bored civilians and crazed mobs. A true, sad story.
Wil
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is not a pleasant picture of society, collectively or individually,but presents a valid episode in Texas history.
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Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story, but terrible writing. someone needs to research this case and write a new, fact-based version without the shitty dialog. No one says "I reckon" that much.

This could be a great book- Santa robs a bank, goes on the run, and then one robber gets the chair, another gets lynched? Would be a GREAT historical true crime book. Writers of Texas! Please!! Someone with great local knowledge could do wonderfully with this story.
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A.C. Greene (Alvin Carl Greene, Jr.) was an American writer — important in Texas literary matters as a memoirist, fiction writer, historian, poet, and influential book critic in Dallas. As a newspaper journalist, he had been a book critic and editor of the Editorial Page for the Dallas Times Herald when JKF was assassinated, which galvanized his role at the paper to help untangle and lift a ...more