Louis Beretti. The Story of a Gunman
London, Alfred A. Knopf, 1930 (first British edition).
Octavo, 285 pages (first two blank).
Red cloth decorated and lettered in black, top edge dyed blue; minor signs of use (including some turned-down corner creases, and three short sealed tears to blank leading margins); a very good copy.
'This is the story of a kind of American success that is seldom mentioned. It is the story of a tough Italian kid from the toughest part of New York's East Side, a boy who was a natural leader and who grew up in the pattern set by his environment. When Louis Beretti was a tot hardly able to walk, he searched for money in the shoes of drunks sleeping in the hallway. Later he went through the gamut of crime, from juvenile delinquency to murder. He became affluent and respected outside the law. And in the dramatic climax of this gutsy, realistic novel, he faced a situation which he never could have understood or solved had he been brought up any other way' (Good Reads, online). The book was also the basis for Clarke's screenplay, filmed in 1930 as 'Born Reckless'. This book is a rare imprint: Knopf ran a London office for a mere five years from 1926. The front flyleaf is stamped 'Colonial Copy'; it was transported to Australia.