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Rooster Bogle is the epicenter of the book. He was not the first of at least 60 criminals in the family -- that distinction goes to his parents and his older brothers--nor was he the most violent. Claiming that title, are one of his sons and a nephew. Each committed murders that earned them life sentences. In Texas, a place where men grow big and strong, Rooster was a slight five feet eight and just 120 pounds, when he was first sent to prison at 17. But Rooster was the most malignant family member, spreading what the Bogles called the family curse of crime.

Kathy, Rooster, and Linda

Rooster had a habit of taking his nine sons and daughters to burglarize neighbors' houses and made a point of often showing his boys a local prison, prophesying that when they grew up, that was where they would live. He also forced his young boys to drink alcohol till they got drunk and later, as they became teenagers, brought older women to motels and ordered his sons to have sex with them while he watched. Rooster had devised the perfect formula to raise criminal children. Take them and physically and mentally torture them. Deprive them of their dignity so they have no sense of empathy for others, little psychopaths in training. Then teach them that they will grow up to be outlaws, imitating his behavior. In fact, all of Rooster's offspring did end up in jail or prison, just as he had predicted.

Kathy was just 14 when she became Rooster's first wife. At their wedding when the preacher reached the part of the ceremony where he asked Kathy, "Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?," she stammered, "I take this man to be my awful husband." Kathy's words were an omen of things to come in her marriage to Rooster, slapstick-funny before it became sad, violent and destructive. They soon had three children with a fourth on the way when Rooster was smitten by a pretty, shy and smart 16-year-old daughter of two migrant farm workers, Linda White.


They met at a party to celebrate Linda's older brother's release from prison. Rooster was soon taking Linda to parties with live music, drinking and dancing, an excitement Linda had never experienced. He had a deep commanding voice, and Linda thought Rooster was the smartest man she had ever met, even though he had dropped out of school after the eighth grade. Rooster effectively kidnapped Linda when her parents objected to her relationship with a married man, but then Kathy and Rooster invited Linda to move in with them and their now four children. Some nights Rooster had sex with one woman, sometimes with both, and he was often drunk and beat both of them. In time Linda had two children by Rooster, and all the kids watched the sex and the abuse through peepholes in their bedroom walls. At school, the boys explained to their teachers that they had two mothers, "My mother and my other mother." It was a breeding ground for dysfunction and delinquency. 

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