America in the early twentieth century was rife with threats. Organized crime groups like the Mafia, German spies embedded behind enemy lines ahead of World War I, package bombs sent throughout the country, and the 1920 Wall Street bombing dominated headlines. Yet the story of the one man tasked with combating these threats has yet to be told. The Bulldog Detective: William J. Flynn and America’s First War Against the Mafia, Spies, and Terrorists is the first book to tell the story of Flynn, the first government official to bring down the powerful Mafia, uncover a sophisticated German spy ring in the United States, and launch a formal war on terrorism on his way to becoming one of the most respected and effective law enforcement officials in American history.
Long before Eliot Ness and the Untouchables went after Al Capone and the Italian mob in Chicago, Flynn dismantled the first Mafia family to exist in America. Next stop for the indefatigable crime fighter would be Chief of the Secret Service where he would set his crosshairs on the country’s most notorious currency counterfeiters. Coined “the Bulldog” for his tenacity, Flynn’s fame soared as he exposed Kaiser Germany’s sophisticated spy and sabotage ring on the cusp of America’s entry into World War I. As the Director of the Bureau of Investigation (the forerunner of the FBI), the Bulldog would devise the first counterterrorist strategy in U.S. history. In this riveting biography, author Jeffrey D. Simon brings to life the forgotten saga of one of America’s greatest crime and terrorist fighters. Exquisitely researched, The Bulldog Detective finally uncovers the important legacy of this fascinating man who will now no longer be lost in history.
Jeffrey D. Simon is the author of several books about terrorism and is a former RAND analyst who also taught at UCLA. His writings have appeared in many publications, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Foreign Policy, and the New York Times. He has also been interviewed by several media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. You can find him at futureterrorism.com.
"The director of the forerunner to the FBI strides right off the pages... in this lively account.... Simon covers a great deal of ground in his brisk and vivid narrative. Cloak-and-dagger enthusiasts will find much to savor."
“Fascinating.... A terrific feat of research that unearths a valiant crime fighter.”
"Readers intrigued by recent FBI histories such as Beverly Gage’s G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century should access this first comprehensive biography of one of Hoover’s predecessors. It has the rapid pace of a spy novel."
“If you are looking for a great historical read you can’t go wrong with Jeffrey D. Simon’s The Bulldog Detective. It is said that there are eight million stories in New York, the 'Naked City.' Simon’s biography of the Damon Runyon-type, larger-than-life character William Flynn is certainly one of those stories, lost in the dustbin of early 20th-century history until now. His story makes for even more compelling, relevant, and entertaining reading in the first quarter of the 21st century. It will hold your interest from beginning to end."
“The Bulldog Detective is the inspirational story of William Flynn, a forgotten American patriot and hero. Readers will be enthralled with the story of the September 16, 1920 terrorist attack on Wall Street, the worst act of domestic terrorism until the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. As a former Director of the United States Secret Service, I thoroughly enjoyed this riveting account of our Nation's, and of the United States Secret Service's war against the mafia, spies, and terrorism.”
“The Bulldog Detective is a turn-of-the-century true-life American crime story that has it all – spies, Mafia thugs, corrupt police, assassination attempts, and an affecting family saga to boot. I was hooked from the first page and kept reading through the night. William J. Flynn was a forgotten hero until Jeffrey D. Simon ‘discovered’ him. But thanks to Simon’s compelling book, this great American sleuth and his many exploits will finally receive the recognition they amply deserve."
“It’s amazing that until now we’ve not had a biography of William J. Flynn. Policeman, spy-hunter, pulp author and all-round showman, he is one of the liveliest characters onstage in early twentieth-century America. Jeffrey D. Simon has told the story of his colorful life with both care and verve.”
"Jeffrey D. Simon has created a fascinating visit to America’s past. We often forget that America and American crime stories were just as brutal and cunning a hundred years ago as they are today. In the era that Simon vividly relives, real Lawmen did not have the benefit of today’s technology to guide them. Instead, they had to rely on grit, tenacity, and intelligence to get the job done! Secret Service Agent William J. Flynn was just that man."
“Incredibly well written. Simon transforms the reader into the detective that Flynn was without sacrificing historical accuracy or academic rigor. The Bulldog Detective is a tour de force that awakens us to a 20th-century first mover in the secret service, war on the mafia, espionage in WWI and the FBI. It is a shame that Orson Welles is not alive to play the lead in the movie. That would have pleased Flynn and done him justice.”
“In Simon's Bulldog Detective, Flynn has at last received a full-length biography worthy of his consequential and controversial career."