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Mémoires [Download] ✤ Mémoires Author Eugène François Vidocq – Criminal exploits secret agent intrigue and clever disguises fill the pages of Francois Eugene Vidoc’s memoirs A legendary figure in history Vidoc is known as the first detective and an inspiration Criminal exploits secret agent intrigue and clever disguises fill the pages of Francois Eugene Vidoc’s memoirs A legendary figure in history Vidoc is known as the first detective and an inspiration to great writers such as Honore de Balzac Victor Hugo and Edgar Allen Poe As a player in the criminal underworld Vidoc is a master of disguises and an accomplished thief eventually turning his unlawful talents toward catching criminals as the first French chief of secret police Playing both sides of the law Vidoc’s life highlights the blurry line between law enforcement and the criminals they pursue Vidoc has a knack for finding trouble throughout his topsy turvy life getting into one hot situation after another often finding himself behind bars only to escape the first chance he gets This book will take you on a whirlwind tour of s France including the circus stage pirate ships prison cells and beautiful women’s boudoirs Vidoc’s life story is unforgettable and includes some of the best crime stories and juicy tales ever written Last year Gerard Depardieu starred in the French film adaptation of the memoirs titled VidocHe preferred the tumultuous life of danger to the contentment of security His story is one long swashbuckling adventure as he breaks out of jails pursues actresses duels to the death raids the hells of criminals and stalks the Paris night in a thousand disguises—Philip John Stead Vidoc Picaroon of Crime.

  • Paperback
  • 433 pages
  • Mémoires
  • Eugène François Vidocq
  • English
  • 27 April 2014
  • 9781902593715

About the Author: Eugène François Vidocq

Eugène François Vidoc French pronunciation øʒɛn fʁɑ̃swa viˈdɔk was a French criminal and criminalist whose life story inspired several writers including Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac A former crook who subseuently became the founder and first director of the crime fighting Sûreté Nationale as well as the head of the first known private detective agency he is today considered by histori.

10 thoughts on “Mémoires

  1. Gary Inbinder Gary Inbinder says:

    “It takes a thief to catch a thief” The adage applies to Eugene François Vidoc 1775 1857 the reformed French criminal who became a police spy head of the Sûreté plainclothes criminal investigation division of the Paris Prefecture of Police and later private investigator A controversial figure he is generally recognized as a pioneer of modern police procedure forensics and a system for maintaining records on known criminals including detailed physical descriptions aliases disguises and methods of operation On the other hand he was often accused of instigating or staging the crimes he later took credit for solving His influential “Memoirs” were first published in 1828 and became an instant best seller Vidoc used ghost writers and much of the narrative reads like a picaresue novel of the period Vidoc maintained that he was a high spirited lad who fell into bad company at an early age and was framed while in prison for a relatively minor offense A stiff sentence following the alleged frame up led to a series of escapes captures and imprisonments The “Memoir” covers a turbulent period in French history The 1789 Revolution The Reign of Terror the fall of Robespierre and The Committee of Public Safety The Directory Napoleon’s coup d’etat November 9 1799 and the rise and fall of the First Empire A period of almost continuous warfare and civil strifeThe narrative is filled with daring escapes re captures mutinies and desertions Vidoc claimed to have served in than one army and navy under several assumed identities duels sexual escapades crimes and criminals of all types and descriptions too numerous to mention How much is fact how much fiction? Who knows? What is known is the influence Vidoc had on modern policing and the crime novel Hugo Balzac and Dumas pere knew Vidoc; his memoirs provided inspiration for some of their greatest novels and characters including Hugo’s Javert and Jean Valjean and Balzac’s Vautrin Moreover Poe’s Dupin Murders in the Rue Morgue was modeled on Vidoc and Conan Doyle referenced the great French detective in his Sherlock Holmes storiesCaveat The edition I read free for kindle is probably taken from a 19th century translation and has numerous typos Moreover it translates 19th century Parisian underworld slang into 19th century London underworld slang which might leave many readers either scratching their heads or searching online for a suitable dictionary of period criminal argot

  2. Rex Hurst Rex Hurst says:

    An abridged version of the original written in French in 1832 it is actually the first of four novels by the author The others being Thieves A Psysiology of their Customs and Habits; The True Mysteries of Paris; and The Rural Bandits of the North Seemingly forgotten the name of Vidoc carried great weight in post revolutionary France and England In a sense he was the original police detective and inspired the entire genre of fiction Hugo who was auainted with them man took him as inspiration for both Jan Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Misérables the first character being on Vidoc the criminal and the later when he switched teams Balzac’s Valtean is openly based on the man as is Gaboriau’s Leco Charles Dickens consulted with him when writing Great Expectations Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle were both influenced by the memoirs when creating their famous detectives and the man is mentioned by name in Moby Dick Some notable real life lawmen took inspiration and copied techniues described by Vidoc in the Memoirs Both Allan Pinkerton founder of the famous or infamous depending on your political bent Pinkerton Detective Agency and J Edgar Hoover of FBI fame praised the work and read it religiously He refers to himself as the Master of Crime I assume due to his ability to root out criminals as his career as a felon seems to mostly consist of womanizing petty thievery drunken brawls desertion of duty and escapes from prison rather than big scores And while he did break out of a number of prisons he kept getting caught The book doesn’t get interesting until halfway through when he begins his vocation as a professional snitch or police spy as he calls it Already familiar with French criminal underworld and its argot he launched into his he job with a hungry appetite Soon he became too well known to operate effectively so he began to master the art of disguise and affecting different accents This lead him to eventually be inducted into the police as an inspector and then be given his own semi autonomous suad There he help to pioneer or champion various techniues to cut down on counterfeiting a large problem at the time crime scene investigations and rudimentary ballistic testing His success brought on many enemies both inside the police and out Jealousy of his achievements caused many on his side of the fence to view him as a threat At least according to him In his writing he doesn’t fail at every opportunity to demonstrate or comment on his own brilliance and acumen So I have no doubt that this arrogance helped to garner him a vast number of professional detractors Several critics have attacked them claiming that they were “spurious” or at least exaggerated that he had them ghost written and so on But I have to point out here that most of the cases he discusses as a police detective were well known at the time and the facts could easy be check up on even if now they have wallowed into obscurity And in a sense the accuracy of the memoirs is unimportant Like those who argue about the historical existence of King Arthur the stories themselves have shaped our culture much than any truth could have Look at the list above again and see what it inspired then think on how much else was inspired by those works and you will see exaggerated or not the Memoirs of Vidoc are extremely culturally valuable

  3. Betawolf Betawolf says:

    This is a strange sort of memoir In part I think this is because Vidoc's life was a strange and fantastical thing and whatever embellishment there might be in his own account of it even the bare bones of his biography is difficult to believe He was a soldier a prisoner a criminal a businessman a spy a chief of police a publisher and an author He arrested thousands of criminals and later employed a significant number of them Some housekeeping Vidoc first published his Memoirs in four volumes of which the item I read was a collection in translation The translator of this version seems to be unknown He finished writing them in January 1828 before handing them over to an editor cum ghostwriter of sorts who Vidoc alleges mangled the first and second volumes producing a difference in tone between those and the latter Frankly his account of the publication process is confusing and hard to believe which sort of sets the tone Vidoc begins with his early life in which he was a violent and unruly child eventually fleeing home to join the circus leaves to join a puppet show where he sleeps with the puppeteer's wife becomes a merchant's assistant then joins the army fights a bunch of soldiers in duels helps a friend escape prison becomes a corporal gets court martialled escapes rejoins as a cavalryman goes to war is found as a deserter goes over to the Austrians on the other side of the war becomes a duelling instructor there eventually deserts again he deserts both sides of this war at least three times Tired yet? Yeah that was just Chapter 1 Of 78 The narrative does settle down a little and in fact becomes somewhat repetitive Vidoc eventually finds himself imprisoned for reasons I cannot now really recall I think he was there for desertion and then got embroiled in someone else's attempt at forging a pardon and this sets up the script for approximately the first half of the collected volume Vidoc is imprisoned becomes either feared or loved by his fellow prisoners guards etc effects an escape by means as diverse as jumping out of a window digging a tunnel disguising himself a large intimidating man as a woman and then eludes the authorities across France for some time finding himself some new and possibly criminal employment before bad fortune finally catches up with him and he is again apprehended Vidoc has no ualms about spinning out these stories to great length In one notable chapter where we set out with Vidoc helping a drunk companion find his way to a brothel the story does not end until months later having covered police raids pirates sea voyages shipwreck and mutiny The movement in the narrative comes slowly but it is appreciated when it does arrive Vidoc from uite early on professes a distaste for spending time with criminals because it brutalises him it is in prison that he learns many of his disreputable skills and becomes entangled with characters who will pull him down in the outside world He does not cease to escape prison and accumulates something of a reputation for his abilities in that regard but his exploits become slowly bent toward him finding gainful employment of some kind under a false identity usually This comes to its head when having met and married the woman he would call his wife at the time of publication and running a warehouse business with some success he finds himself entrapped by three ex cons who extort him with the threat of reporting him to the police He is eventually captured again and this time he resolves on another way out working for the policeThis begins roughly the third uarter of the collected volume Vidoc the spy and policeman He demonstrates his worth in prison by reporting on the particulars of crimes he extracts from fellows there a dangerous occupation he manages to carry off because of his own celebrity amongst criminals and his general purpose social engineering skills He is then permitted to 'escape' and runs for a while in Paris amongst the criminals helping police find the notorious of such This sort of 'setting a thief' was it later becomes clear the SOP for French authorities of the day Vidoc protests rather strongly that he never did what most of said agents did and entrap thieves by leading them to commit a particular crime and then catching them in the act of it Make of that what you will Vidoc is rather too effective however and uickly raises the ire of the thieves and policemen both by catching the former effectively than the latter He becomes head of the Bureau de Suretie a sort of public safety police This gives rise to the new script for a significant proportion of the Memoirs which is Vidoc in disguise engineering himself into the good graces of some criminals being invited along to commit crime with them sending warning to the police passing time with the criminals by drinking and talking about that 'damned Vidoc' and then arresting them in the act while he was meant to be standing watch These accounts lose the strict chronology of the earlier half of the book so the seuence of events becomes somewhat confused The final uarter of the Memoirs goes decidedly off script Vidoc promises us that he will provide a reveal of the entirety of the operations of the police but uite conspicuously fails to do that a note in the appendices of this version suggests this might be down to interventions from his successor in office who if so somehow failed to notice all of Vidoc's unflattering references to him personally Instead Vidoc regales us with a sort of typography of criminals according to the names they use themselves to delineate their trade and punctuates this with some stories of example criminals One of these the story of Adele is notable for its social commentary Vidoc points out the extreme conditions that poverty can force people to in an undoubtedly fictional but imaginative biography over several chapters The concluding note however is strangely limp The actual autobiography petered out well before the end of the text and if it were not for the editorial notes you would not even understand that Vidoc left his office in Paris The criminal typography is interesting but hardly a memoir and seems almost spun out to fill an engagement with a bookseller The mystery frustratingly seems unanswered For those looking to read of Vidoc's life this is not necessarily a good source To be true a great deal of detail is preserved about his early exploits but the verity of these accounts is open to uestion certainly the unnamed Translator catches him in a fabrication regarding one account of London with which Vidoc was obviously unfamiliar and there is very little material about Vidoc's later life which seems to have been when all his most notable accomplishments took place The establishment of the French National Police and the first detective agency are all beyond these memoirs' timeframe The memoirs are probably best read for entertainment value where the exact truth is less important than the adventure occasional wit and rare glimpses of social commentary

  4. Tosh Tosh says:

    Very similar to Fantomas and Lupin but all true Master criminal who becomes super cop in the mid 1800's Inspiration for the above two as well as to Poe among others Sort of the essential true crime book to own

  5. Judah T. Judah T. says:

    Compared to You Can't Win not nearly as engrossing Where Jack Black recounts his exploits with a good dose of self effacement and folksy charm Vidoc loves to toot his own horn It just got kind of boring after a little while I finished it anyway because I am OCD

  6. Alex Alex says:

    Like meeting one of those people who has a seemingly endless trove of amazing stories at first you're enthralled but after a while you're kind of ready for the guy to shut up That being said this book is a great window into the criminal classes of France at the turn of the 19th century And what's really fascinating is speculating on the motives for the way Vidoc presents himself I'm not sure how much of the style is standard braggadaccio of the era how much of it is an indictment of the standards of justice at the time and how much of it is a desperate attempt to justify his evolution from fugitive to police spySometimes he seems fully justified in the tricks he plays to arrest criminals and you can sympathize with his desire to rid society of the kind of people who roped him into the fugitive life Other times his methods just seem like outrageous entrapment His stories often involve disguising himself as a close friend of a certain criminal tricking the criminal's family into believing that he is trying to help so and so escape justice and then arresting the whole family He occassionally seems regretful of tricks like these but mostly dismissiveAnd how much of it is true? When a public official says something along the lines of Oh all those people who are accusing me of setting up crimes so I can take kickbacks and get credit for arresting the criminals are just jealous of my success your first uestion for that official is probably going to be Are you lying? I believe him though Mostly

  7. Danny Danny says:

    Eual parts fascinating and long in the tooth Vidoc recounts his life of crime that transforms into his becoming one of the most celebrated and feared members of the Paris Police force in the early 1800s No doubt that Vidoc can tell a tale but the one problem with the book is that it reads like a series of anecdotes and episodes rather than a memoir with a conventional arc Vidoc is a transformed man by the end but you never really feel that transformation It happens as a matter of course The book just bulldozers on with one anecdote following the other After awhile none seem important than the next A hundred pages shorter and I would have loved it but at its length I was kind of waiting to be done with it And I imagine I could have just stopped reading it and not missed a thing

  8. Spiros Spiros says:

    This abridged memoir of the man who was the true founder of detective fiction starts as an interminable series of clever escapes followed by dunderheaded blunders which lead our hero right back into stir repeated over and over again Only when Vidoc finds his vocation as a police agent or rat fink if you prefer does the narrative gain any momentum Curiously it is only when he is throwing thousands of them into jail that Vidoc expresses any sympathy for the thieves and brigands he is arresting

  9. James Beezhold James Beezhold says:

    This guy was a stage actorcircus clowndisguise masterthiefcon artistlock pick masterloverwho became one of Paris' most celebrated and controversial police chiefsHe was the inspiration for Victor Hugo's Valjean and in his life he really did believe in rehabilitation of criminals and in economic opportunities for those like himself who were largely reactives to a crumbling and corrupt society

  10. Dan Logue Dan Logue says:

    The autobiography of Vidoc one of France's most famous criminals and Inspectors is an entertaining collection of criminal tales mainly his own prison breaks and his entrapment and double crossing of other thieves from the late 18th and early 19th centuries Unfortunately Vidoc is no Voltaire and it's repetitiveness makes it a bit tough to get through

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