About the Book



In the early 20th century, money, power, and reputation were king. With infamous gangsters like Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson roaming the streets, it was a lawless time, with lawless opportunists taking their fates and fortunes into their own hands.

Decades after their heyday, author Asa Dunnington learned that his uncle, Emmett Long, was one of these outlaws. An infamous bank robber who had taken Cesar’s Palace for half a million dollars, Long was also known as a moonshiner, gambler, and even a killer. But unlike many of his contemporaries, his journey didn’t end in a blaze of guns and fury. Instead, his path took an unexpected turn, and he lived to a ripe age as a changed man.

After Long’s death, Dunnington finally transcribed his uncle’s unbelievable life story. In this true account, a legend comes to life: a man who made his own rules and broke them whenever it suited him.

Through Selectively Lawless: The True Story of Emmett Long, an American Original, Dunnington reveals a riveting, little-known tale that puts a fresh twist on the classic outlaw narrative.

"Emmett was a kind of urban cowboy of the early twentieth century, even if many of his exploits recall the wildest days of the Old West. He may remind us of the outlaws we meet in books and movies, but Selectively Lawless has the irresistible ring of the real thing."
— Jonathan Kirsch | Attorney, best-selling author, former LA Times book reviewer, and National Book Critics Circle member