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Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrorized Los Angeles

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Historian Julia Bricklin's BLONDE RATTLESNAKE, a narrative history of the trial of 19-year-old Burmah White and the violent crime spree she and her husband committed in the sweltering hot summer days and nights of Los Angeles at the height of the Great Depression, detailing the terror of citizens in their path and the outrage they expressed at the female half as opportunis Historian Julia Bricklin's BLONDE RATTLESNAKE, a narrative history of the trial of 19-year-old Burmah White and the violent crime spree she and her husband committed in the sweltering hot summer days and nights of Los Angeles at the height of the Great Depression, detailing the terror of citizens in their path and the outrage they expressed at the female half as opportunistic politicians and a sensationalist press exploited her trial while trying to make sense of her crimes.


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Historian Julia Bricklin's BLONDE RATTLESNAKE, a narrative history of the trial of 19-year-old Burmah White and the violent crime spree she and her husband committed in the sweltering hot summer days and nights of Los Angeles at the height of the Great Depression, detailing the terror of citizens in their path and the outrage they expressed at the female half as opportunis Historian Julia Bricklin's BLONDE RATTLESNAKE, a narrative history of the trial of 19-year-old Burmah White and the violent crime spree she and her husband committed in the sweltering hot summer days and nights of Los Angeles at the height of the Great Depression, detailing the terror of citizens in their path and the outrage they expressed at the female half as opportunistic politicians and a sensationalist press exploited her trial while trying to make sense of her crimes.

30 review for Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrorized Los Angeles

  1. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    3.5 out of 5 Stars This turned out to be an interesting read about a media-heavy story back in the nineteen thirties about a five-days married couple, Burmah Adam White and Tom White, who were tracked down by law enforcement after a crime spree in Los Angeles that really had people on edge. They’d met at a dance, and had a rather whirlwind courtship of only a couple of weeks that coincided with the crime spree. It’s no surprise her family wasn’t a fan of the match, especially her dad, who really 3.5 out of 5 Stars This turned out to be an interesting read about a media-heavy story back in the nineteen thirties about a five-days married couple, Burmah Adam White and Tom White, who were tracked down by law enforcement after a crime spree in Los Angeles that really had people on edge. They’d met at a dance, and had a rather whirlwind courtship of only a couple of weeks that coincided with the crime spree. It’s no surprise her family wasn’t a fan of the match, especially her dad, who really tried to talk her out of it. But she was having none of it, being a headstrong nineteen-year-old. To the bride’s surprise, the groom turned out not to be a stockbroker with family wealth. He’s a stick-up man who used her as his driver and lookout person, and now she’s in all kinds of trouble sitting in jail awaiting her trial. Tom got the easy way out in a pine box after a shootout with the cops, so she’s also quickly a widow too. I kind of felt they had to pad this story a bit to get enough for a book out of it by going off on tangents at times, like there wasn’t enough information on the subjects themselves and the trial, etc. But since I wanted to read the story I stuck with it. It still makes for a decent read if you like historical true crime from this period, the Depression era. I really enjoyed the pictures that are included too.  Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Julia Bricklin, and Lyons Press. My BookZone blog: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)

    Blonde Rattlesnake is a thought provoking book. Not particularly immersive or nail-biting, it nonetheless tells Burmah Adams White's story in a fairly unbiased way, unlike the newspapers and radios of the time of her arrest and trial. While the book includes some of those, the author also includes quotations from Burmah herself, as well as from her mother. Unlike many biographical fiction books, there is not any creative nonfiction here, it is strictly written in a journalistic style. The book fo Blonde Rattlesnake is a thought provoking book. Not particularly immersive or nail-biting, it nonetheless tells Burmah Adams White's story in a fairly unbiased way, unlike the newspapers and radios of the time of her arrest and trial. While the book includes some of those, the author also includes quotations from Burmah herself, as well as from her mother. Unlike many biographical fiction books, there is not any creative nonfiction here, it is strictly written in a journalistic style. The book focuses less on the crimes committed - though there is plenty of page time given to those - than on the corruption in the California legal system in the 1930s, and whether or not Burmah actually received a fair trial. Also on the WHY she acted as she did, which is never answered fully enough to truly decide. No doubt as many people at the time did, some readers will decide for themselves whether or not she acted of her own free will or if she was coerced by an abusive husband, but for myself, I was never completely satisfied and couldn't state an opinion either way. 3.5/5 stars, rounded up. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram |

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy (DemonKittie)

    Not a very good book, but I read it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Most true crime fans know the story of Bonnie & Clyde. Their story is woven into the fabric of American folklore. A less well-know couple, Burmah Adams and Tom White had their own eight weeks of fame (or infamy), not in the mid-west, but in sunny Los Angeles. L.A. could well be taken as ground zero for noir style crime stories, especially if they were true. The time is 1933. A pretty young blonde, Burmah, once a promising student in high school. In her senior year she decides she wants more indep Most true crime fans know the story of Bonnie & Clyde. Their story is woven into the fabric of American folklore. A less well-know couple, Burmah Adams and Tom White had their own eight weeks of fame (or infamy), not in the mid-west, but in sunny Los Angeles. L.A. could well be taken as ground zero for noir style crime stories, especially if they were true. The time is 1933. A pretty young blonde, Burmah, once a promising student in high school. In her senior year she decides she wants more independence and distance from her family. She drops out of school and enrolls in cosmetology classes. Along the way she meets Tom White, a handsome young man who always had a wad of cash and a flashy handy. He told Burmah he was a mechanic. (But where did the loads of money come from?) As life often turns out for a starry-eyed girl like Burmah, she fell hard for Tom White. So, they get married. Before long, some of her family notice mood changes and barely hidden bruises. It all comes down fast. On a drive through L.A. one evening in August, 1933. A teacher, Cora Withington was driving home with her boyfriend after a movie. At an intersection another car pulls up. A man jumps out and demands money. A moment passed and the stranger shot Cora through the eye. The male companion claims that after the shot he noticed a blonde laughing. The blonde was, of course, Burmah Adams and the shooter was her new husband Tom White. So began eight weeks of random robberies carried out by Adams and White. It didn't end well for Tom White as you might expect. The police finally killed him in a brief shootout. Burmah was arrested and went to trial. Then she went to prison. This is a brief outline of the circumstances that put Burmah behind bars for years. She claimed she was coerced into aiding White. I am a fan of true crime, but I had never heard of their story. The historian and writer, Julia Bricklin is more than qualified to tell the story of the Blonde Rattlesnake. This book is well illustrated and contains a thorough reference section. Her writing style is concise and well-paced. I couldn't put the book down...it read like fiction. While reading the book, I thought about the strange relationships between women and their outlaw mates. Bonnie was 'all in' with Clyde. The Lady in Red betrayed Dillenger. The Manson girls supported Charlie wholeheartedly. Burmah, however, remains an enigma. It you're taste in reading is like mine, this slender but thorough book is a great find. Author Bricklin, to her credit, makes no judgement. She relates the story with accuracy and honesty. There is a full reference section and a gallery of photos that help fill out the strange story of a platinum blonde (think Jean Harlow) and a tough small-time outlaw who blinded a woman and ruined his young wife's life. I recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    Blonde Rattlesnake Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrorized Los Angeles by Julia Bricklin Rowman & Littlefield Lyons Press History , True Crime Pub Date 01 Jun 2019 I am reviewing a copy of Blonde Rattlesnake through Rowan Littlefield and Netgalley: Burmah Adam’s was born in January of 1914 leaving her only nineteen at the time of the crime spree that terrorized Los Angeles. Tom White was born in July of 1897, and was also part of this devastating, terrorizing crime spree. At the Blonde Rattlesnake Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrorized Los Angeles by Julia Bricklin Rowman & Littlefield Lyons Press History , True Crime Pub Date 01 Jun 2019 I am reviewing a copy of Blonde Rattlesnake through Rowan Littlefield and Netgalley: Burmah Adam’s was born in January of 1914 leaving her only nineteen at the time of the crime spree that terrorized Los Angeles. Tom White was born in July of 1897, and was also part of this devastating, terrorizing crime spree. At the time of the crime spree Burmah was on her honeymoon, she had attended Sant Anna High school and was formally a hairdresser, she and her ex con husband White had been married for less than a week. Burmah’s husband of only five days was killed by the cops after he and Burmah’s two day run of terror over Los Angeles! The worst of their crimes was shooting the popular elementary school teacher Cora Withington and former publisher Cromblie Allen Who was teaching Cora to drive his new car. A few days after the pair were shot, two detectives dressed as mechanics kept an eye on the apartment Build they stayed at until Burmah and white showed up one day. Burmah tried to throw herself out a window while White shot at officers and was gunned down. Ultimately Burmah would go to prison but she would spend less than eight years there to be released in 1941. I found Blonde Rattlesnake to be an interesting historical true crime story and find it to be worthy of five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dorie

    Blonde Rattlesnake by Julia Bricklin due 6-1-2019 Rowan & Littlefield/Lyons Park 5.0 / 5.0 ´Blonde Rattlesnake´ is a fun and engaging crime story, written well and easy to become immersed in. It intimately captures the terror and chaos caused by Burmah Arline Adams White, 19, and her husband, 28 year old, Thomas White. Their crime spree across Los Angeles during the summer of 1933, committing robberies at gunpoint; one that left a woman blind, and many others hurt, was headline news. Named the ´ Blonde Rattlesnake by Julia Bricklin due 6-1-2019 Rowan & Littlefield/Lyons Park 5.0 / 5.0 ´Blonde Rattlesnake´ is a fun and engaging crime story, written well and easy to become immersed in. It intimately captures the terror and chaos caused by Burmah Arline Adams White, 19, and her husband, 28 year old, Thomas White. Their crime spree across Los Angeles during the summer of 1933, committing robberies at gunpoint; one that left a woman blind, and many others hurt, was headline news. Named the ´Rattlesnake Bandit´, they evaded the police for 6 weeks before Thomas was shot and killed and Burmah was taken into custody. The details and memories of this crime are included, with testimony and B&W photos. Burmah was sentenced to 30 years at San Quentin, served 8 and was released into obscurity, until her death in the 1960ś of alcoholism. Her life and past are so different than her legacy and was interesting and captivating to read. Thanks to the publisher for sending me this e-book ARC fro review. #BlondeRattlesnake #netgalley

  7. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    This story was interesting enough, but never really pulled me into it. There seemed something superficial about it, but probably only because author Julia Bricklin didn't take the "creative nonfiction" route, didn't embellish it with made-up dialogue and such. She stuck with the facts of the case. The main fact being that Burmah Adams accompanied her husband on multiple robberies, driving the getaway car. Was she an ice-cold gangster moll, as the male dominated press tried to make her out to be, This story was interesting enough, but never really pulled me into it. There seemed something superficial about it, but probably only because author Julia Bricklin didn't take the "creative nonfiction" route, didn't embellish it with made-up dialogue and such. She stuck with the facts of the case. The main fact being that Burmah Adams accompanied her husband on multiple robberies, driving the getaway car. Was she an ice-cold gangster moll, as the male dominated press tried to make her out to be, or was she a teenaged wife who was terrified of her physically and mentally abusive older husband? By the end of the book, I still didn't have a definite opinion about the matter, and Ms. Bricklin didn't try to sway the reader's opinion one way or another, either. As stated earlier, she stuck with the facts that she had about the case. (Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher or author.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    I decided to read this book based on the description which sounded interesting. While the author does a decent job I found the book to not be overly engaging and somewhat repetitive, but it is short and a fast read. Bricklin does give brief background on a large number of individuals involved in the case which was helpful in gaining a better understanding of the events that took place. I recomend this book only for those looking for a quick read on a very short crime spree that captured the atten I decided to read this book based on the description which sounded interesting. While the author does a decent job I found the book to not be overly engaging and somewhat repetitive, but it is short and a fast read. Bricklin does give brief background on a large number of individuals involved in the case which was helpful in gaining a better understanding of the events that took place. I recomend this book only for those looking for a quick read on a very short crime spree that captured the attention of the Los Angeles area. I would also recommend checking it out from your local library rather than purchasing. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook and Twitter pages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aga Durka

    True crime novels are not really my favorite genre, but I do like to venture out from time to time and read something that I would not normally read. When I decided to read “Blonde Rattlesnake” by Julia Bricklin, I was not expecting much, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the author did great job at researching this book, and her writing style kept me interested in the story. I have learned great deal about the 1930s (Great Depression and Prohibition time) criminal justice True crime novels are not really my favorite genre, but I do like to venture out from time to time and read something that I would not normally read. When I decided to read “Blonde Rattlesnake” by Julia Bricklin, I was not expecting much, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the author did great job at researching this book, and her writing style kept me interested in the story. I have learned great deal about the 1930s (Great Depression and Prohibition time) criminal justice and law enforcement system. I would recommend this book to all fans of true crime genre. Thank you NetGalley, Julia Bricklin, and Rowman & Littlefield Lyons Press for giving me a chance to read an advance reader copy of this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Blonde Rattlesnake is the tale of Burmah Adams and Tom White, a married couple of 5 days at the time of arrest and death, and their crime spree in Los Angeles in 1933. I was very much looking forward to reading this book based off of the description and that I had never heard of Burmah Adams before. Overall the book was enjoyable but I had a hard time staying immersed throughout the entire story. I do appreciate that this book was all facts and the author didn't creative liberty to embellish the Blonde Rattlesnake is the tale of Burmah Adams and Tom White, a married couple of 5 days at the time of arrest and death, and their crime spree in Los Angeles in 1933. I was very much looking forward to reading this book based off of the description and that I had never heard of Burmah Adams before. Overall the book was enjoyable but I had a hard time staying immersed throughout the entire story. I do appreciate that this book was all facts and the author didn't creative liberty to embellish the story. *ARC provided from publisher and Netgalley for an honest review*

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pat Wahler

    I knew nothing about Burmah Adams or Tom White prior to picking up this book, and found the story to be a fascinating one. What factors could drive a nineteen-year-old Depression-era woman, previously of exemplary behavior, to participate in a vicious crime spree with her brand new husband? The author offers several possible explanations, allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind. A glimpse into the details of Burmah's trial were interesting to read and in sharp contrast to what one mig I knew nothing about Burmah Adams or Tom White prior to picking up this book, and found the story to be a fascinating one. What factors could drive a nineteen-year-old Depression-era woman, previously of exemplary behavior, to participate in a vicious crime spree with her brand new husband? The author offers several possible explanations, allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind. A glimpse into the details of Burmah's trial were interesting to read and in sharp contrast to what one might see or experience today. If you enjoy true crime stories, don't miss this one!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    Blonde Rattlesnake by Julia Bricklin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May. The blonde of the title is Burmah White, who, with her husband Tom, offer rides to people to shake them up for their money at gunpoint, as well as holding up business counters. At the start of the book, it initially seemed like a whole lot of court proceeding notes, but, then, no, the entire thing is court proceeding notes. No interpretation, no behind the scenes, no insight on who the Whites were prior to the Blonde Rattlesnake by Julia Bricklin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May. The blonde of the title is Burmah White, who, with her husband Tom, offer rides to people to shake them up for their money at gunpoint, as well as holding up business counters. At the start of the book, it initially seemed like a whole lot of court proceeding notes, but, then, no, the entire thing is court proceeding notes. No interpretation, no behind the scenes, no insight on who the Whites were prior to their crimes and, later, info is given from criminal reports filed during their imprisonment.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Agnes Muscoreil

    NetGalley got me this book and I thank them! I had a hard time with the story, it never really got me hooked and I found myself putting the story down, then trying it again later.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robbie White

    Very interesting true crime story of a very young woman and her husband and the robberies they committed in California during the Depression. It was so shocking to see the difference in the way the media and the court treated her back then versus my perception of she would be treated today. Was she a bad girl or a good girl with a bad husband?? I received an Advance Review Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    keryn

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda Harris

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marie Piper

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kari Mathias

  20. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Francis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dominique

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacquelyn White

  23. 5 out of 5

    Neats

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christy Johnston

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Jensen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

  28. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dean Jobb

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Kranzler-gacke

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