State University of New York at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, instructor.
(With Stephen Duncombe) The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York, New York University Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Andrew Mattson is an instructor of American history and media studies at the State University of New York at Old Westbury. In 2006 he teamed up with Stephen Duncombe, who teaches politics and history of media and culture at New York University, to write The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York. As the title suggests, the book covers the life and media hype created by Celia Cooney, known to 1920s New Yorkers as the "Bobbed Haired Bandit." Cooney and her husband became desperate after discovering she was pregnant and having no way to financially support a baby on their combined salaries. This realization started a highly publicized period of bank and grocery store robberies. Local newspapers hyped the story of this well-dressed female thief and created an aura of suspicion around any so-called liberated woman of the time.
Reviews of The Bobbed Haired Bandit were mostly positive. Mike Tribby, reviewing the book in Booklist, commented that Duncombe and Mattson "relentlessly reference their story without killing readability." However, Tina Jordan, in her review in Entertainment Weekly, felt that the book's "heavy dependence" on the very research Tribby praised "makes it occasionally dusty and dry." A critic writing in Publishers Weekly concluded, however, that the writing pair's "fast-paced account of Cooney's story is an absolute winner."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2006, Mike Tribby, review of The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York, p. 32.
Entertainment Weekly, February 24, 2006, Tina Jordan, review of The Bobbed Haired Bandit, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2005, review of The Bobbed Haired Bandit, p. 56.
Reference and Research Book News, May, 2006, review of The Bobbed Haired Bandit. *