We Is Got Him by Carrie Hagen

We Is Got Him

The city was about to host the United States Centennial celebration, and the mass panic surrounding the Charley Ross case plunged the nation into hysteria.The desperate search led the police to inspect every building in Philadelphia, set up saloon surveillance in New York’s notorious slums, and begin a national manhunt. With white-knuckle suspense and historical detail, Hagen vividly captures the dark side of an earlier America. Her brilliant p...

Details We Is Got Him

TitleWe Is Got Him
Release DateMay 26th, 2019
PublisherOverlook Press/ Peter Mayer
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, History, Mystery, North American Hi..., American History, Literature, 19th Century

Reviews We Is Got Him

  • Jill Hutchinson
    I am really going to be in the minority here but I didn't like this book very well at all. It should have been spell-binding since it tells the true story of the first recorded kidnapping for ransom case in the country. The year is 1874 and four year old Charley Ross is taken from his yard in broad daylight by two men, unknown to anyone who witnessed the incident. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Ross receives his first ransom request, most of which will ...
  • Katherine Addison
    This is a better book about the Ross kidnapping than Zierold's Little Charley Ross, but it is not a substantially different book. Hagen doesn't have any new information, although she does offer a better analysis of the political response to Charley Ross' kidnapping and she does have a theory about what happened to him that is perfectly plausible, at least arguably supported by the evidence, and greatly advantageous in that it offers both an expla...
  • Doreen
    The book is fascinating. This kidnapping is the first recorded kidnapping-for-ransom in America, occuring more than fifty years before the Lindbergh case. And while the details can make for a pretty, dry read, it's well worth the effort. The atmosphere of 1874 Philadelphia is described perfectly. There is a corrupt, inept, police force which employs men with questionable characters, as well as with motives for personal financial gain. The lackada...
  • Stephanie
    I wavered between 1 and 2 stars, and by about halfway through the book, I was really skimming through parts of it. I was intrigued b/c it is literary journalism that chronicles the kidnapping (America's first to include ransom notes, apparently) of a 4 year old boy from his front lawn, broad daylight, by complete strangers. It gives a thorough history of Philadelphia in the 1870s, the levels of government, the police force, investigators, media, ...
  • Gail
    1874 was a pivotal year for Philadelphia. It was about to host America's centennial celebration but the planning was almost scuttled due to a kidnapping.Charley Ross was out playing in his front yard when two men approached him enticing him with candy. The following day the first of 23 ransom notes appeared demanding $20,000. Newspapers printed the news for the public and it would become a nationwide search for the missing child.Author Carrie Hag...
  • Bonnie
    The story of America's first ransom kidnapping, in Philadelphia in 1874, this book was disappointing. The execution felt muddled and I was often confused about the players and their purpose in the story. I never felt like I knew any of the characters, either, and couldn't feel for them one way or the other, sympathy or anger. A lot was made at the beginning about how politics played into the case but I frankly didn't see much involvement on that ...
  • Sophie Godley
    This was a DEEPLY ANNOYING book. No resolution, too many characters, too much jumping around.... hard to feel empathy for those involved. I love historical non fiction, but this was tiresome.
  • Annie
    In 1874, a young boy named Charley Ross was snatched from his front yard in Philadelphia. The child's father received a letter that read: ""Mr. Ross; be not uneasy you son charley bruster be all writ. we is got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand. You wil have two pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent to." "Philadelphia had just won the bid to host America's centennial celebration. The country had survived re...
  • Annette
    Usually, I either really like or intensely dislike. In this case, I think this book would have been better served as a shorter one.Also, the claim of first kidnapping for ransom... I think this is ultimately unsustainable. People have been kidnapped for ransom for just as long as there has been something to ransom such people with.
  • Kelley
    Normally this type of book is right up my alley, but this seemed slow. Interesting story. Surprising how long the family and city just let it go on. The perspectives on how to deal with the situation were interesting to read and the searches that took place were also enlightening to read about. But overall this didn't engage me like I expected it to.
  • Donna Gabbard
    Interesting but the vast array of characters made the story hard to follow at times. The "wrap-up" of the story, when it finally did happen after 250 pages of story, was a brief 5 pages.
  • Catherine Khella
    I want to read this book again. I love anything about Philadelphia.
  • Nicole
    Sort of a Philadelphia “Devil in the White City”. Fascinating, but I would have loved more about the centennial!
  • Theremin Poisoning
    This is the kind of book that I like, but for whatever reason this one failed to do much for me.
  • Bob Hauseman
    Confusing tale about a kidnapping in 1874. Many, many characters, introduced at dizzying speed. And the reveal is very awkwardly done. I still have no idea why this crime "changed America."
  • Brian Kelley
    In 1874 a four year-old child named Charley Ross became the first kidnapped person in America held for ransom. Carrie Hagen's novel we is got him traces the kidnapping that grew into a national embarassment. Hagen brings 19th century Philadelphia to life. Born and raised in Philadelphia, I learned a lot about society, corruption, and the quality of life for most from we is got him. Through the setting Hagen recreated the events of the day and bro...
  • Mary
    True story chronicling America's first kidnapping for ransom (which occurred in Philadelphia in 1874) set upon the backdrop of preparations for the Centennial celebration (of American's Independence) to take place in Philadelphia. The book bounces back and forth between the demands of the kidnappers (of a 4 year old boy) which were sent as personal ads in newspapers and the politics in planning the Centennial (if the crime is not solved quickly, ...
  • Mary
    Carrie Hagen's book chronicles the first kidnapping for ransom in US history. In 1874, two brothers were kidnapped from their front yard in suburban Philadelphia. The five year old was returned later that night, but the kidnappers demanded $20,000 for the safe return of the four year old. It was just the beginning of a long ordeal for the Ross family, the City of Philadelphia, and the entire country. Before reading this book, I had never heard of...
  • Nicole
    This was an okay nonfiction read. I think the hope was for a book on par with Devil in the White City, but ultimately it was lacking. I read the book quickly enough, but more out of wanting to finish than being emotionally invested in the writing. There was some interesting history, particularly about the politics of Philadelphia and NYC, but not enough of it. The Charley Ross story itself felt a little too long and convoluted. And there were som...
  • Mary Christine Delea
    I had never heard of Charley Ross or this case before reading this book. The story is fascinating, and Hagen has done a mind-blowing amount of research. Although the focus of the book is the kidnapping of Charley Ross, the author evokes the time, the place, and the people in exquisite detail. Particularly interesting to me were the on-going depictions of the police corruption, the preparation for the Centennial World's Fair, and the effects of th...
  • Stephanie
    This book tells the story of Charley Ross - the first child kidnapped for ransom in the United States. Hagen relays the story in a very journalistic format to the point where parts are incredibly dry and seem to drag on longer than necessary.The story itself is intriguing. It gives insight to the way the police worked {or in this case didn't work that hard} to find missing children in the 1800s. Charley was taken right after police forces were es...
  • Lesley
    Fantastic true crime book. As the first recorded ransomed kidnapping in US history, I can't believe I didn't know more about this story. There is a huge cast of characters in this book, since the crime stretches from Philadelphia to New York City, and the time span covered is over 14 months. But it's well worth the effort. Great depiction of the time period, and the inclusion of the ransom letters and newspaper correspondence is fascinating. The ...
  • Michael
    Well... an interesting event. Not a bad book. Could have been better. Kinda had a "slapped together" feeling. Didn't really have a good flow. Started out pretty good then just sort of fell apart. Your following events then all of a sudden, Bam!... here's who did it, here's what happened to them, then this happens... that happens... nothing comes together... the end. I just feel that it could have been written better.
  • Wanda
    Competently written for the most part, albeit somewhat repetitive and in need of editing. The synopsis on the publisher's site gives the details of this turn of the century true story. Perhaps the strength of this book is that the author does a very nice job of conveying the atrmosphere of Philadelphia and politics prior to the U.S. centennial. Like the Penn State scandal, politics and reputation trumps the needs of children. Nothing has changed.
  • Jennifer W
    The story was interesting. A big crime takes place at a big time in a city's history. I think if this had just been a story of a little boy kidnapped for ransom I wouldn't have bothered, but the fact that Philly was also preparing for the Centennial celebration was a selling point. I think this story in better hands would have been utterly compelling. However, the story jumped around too much and had too many characters that weren't well enough d...
  • Edi
    A community outrage and a personal family tragedy is exacerbated by the response of the political powers-that-be. Obstruction, police investigation thwarted, even misdirected from within. Two major city police departments, Philadelphia and New York, are deep into this investigation of the crime. Charley Ross, a small boy, is a headline story for the media, but is a story suppressed until it is tragically too late.
  • Gloria
    I don't usually read non-fiction books, but this book kept my interest through the entire book. Whether it was because it was set in Philadelphia or just the subject matter, I really couldn't say, but it was unusual and written very well. Ms Hagen didn't just list facts, she told a story. I liked it and wanted to know what was coming next in the story. I had never heard of this case and it was quite interesting.
  • Sharon
    I remain mystified as to why Goodreads altered the title of this book, but it's a good read in the Eric Larson tradition. While the story drags a little at times, and while Hagen doesn't quite have Larson's gift of bringing to life the cause and culture of a certain period through the telling of a specific narrative, she's well on her way.
  • Holly (The Grimdragon)
    DNF -- 100 pages left.I found that I was not emotionally connected to any of the people, the story was too confusing & the writing was muddled. I could not get into it, so although I rarely abandon books, this is just one of those instances where I feel like my (limited) free time could be spent better on something else, rather than finishing this.