The Artful Dodger: The 20-Year Pursuit of World War I Draft Dodger Grover Cleveland Bergdoll [Langeveld]


Shortly after he was convicted of dodging the draft in World War I, Grover Cleveland Bergdoll asked the U.S. Army to temporarily release him from prison. He had buried a valuable cache of gold during the war, he claimed, and he wanted to recover it before someone else did. Bergdoll's subsequent escape would mark the start of a 20-year standoff with the American government.

Although the case is largely forgotten today, Grover Cleveland Bergdoll was a household name for much of the early 20th century. He was the son of a wealthy German-American brewing family, an amateur race car driver, and a skilled aviator who trained with the Wright Brothers. After his draft evasion, he was captured at his stately mansion as his gun-toting mother tried to fend off the police. Bergdoll's escape overseas would prove to be a thorny issue in international politics. It resulted in a contentious investigation in Congress, where one witness was nearly shot by a representative. He was regularly pilloried by veterans' groups, and American servicemen twice tried to kidnap him. As Bergdoll's exile dragged on, he was left with a harsh choice: return to the country where he was a wanted man, or stay in Europe to face the perils of the Nazi dictatorship.

This book was printed in the United States.