Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber: The True Story of Leslie Ibsen Rogge, One of the FBI’s Most Elusive Criminals is a true crime book about the criminal career of its elusive subject.
Author Dane Batty wrote the book when he heard the stories his uncle, Leslie Ibsen Rogge, told or ones being told about him. As a young man Mr. Batty admired his uncle’s derring-do and it seems he does so to this day even though it seems the man will die in prison.
Wanted is a very entertaining and easy to read book, but with very little reflection, retrospection, and analysis. There are stories of daring robberies and escape, but very little about the heavy price Mr. Rogge paid in personal freedom, family life, and finances.
The stories are fascinating and often hard to believe (even though I don’t doubt them). The stories themselves are interesting but, as it is with many books of this type, it seems they were written to keep them in the family rather for the general populace. What I mean is that in order to get the full effect of the book, one would have to know Mr. Rogge personally; that is not a criticism – it’s just that every time I read these type of books I am reminded that I must also put down my family’s history in writing before it’s too late.
For part of the book I felt that the author wanted me to have positive feelings towards Mr. Rogge, I have no doubt that he loves his uncle very much and even admires him at a certain level since his life seems more like a Hollywood movie than real, but I had a hard time doing so. I didn’t buy Mr. Rogge’s claim that if things turned violent he would walk away, nor did his “gentlemanly” pseudonym seem appropriate. I certainly got the idea that Mr. Rogge is a very charming fellow but in a “let me do you a favor and separate you from your money” type of way. A person you’d be happy to give your money even though you should know better.