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True crime : an American anthology

Format: Print Book 2008
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From the Mayflower to the Menendez brothers, a sweeping survey of the best writing about crime in America

Americans have had an uneasy fascination with crime since the earliest European settlements in the New World, and right from the start true crime writing became a dominant genre in American writing. True Crime: An American Anthology offers the first comprehensive look at the many ways in which American writers have explored crime in a multitude of aspects: the dark motives that spur it, the shock of its impact on society, the effort to make sense of the violent extremes of human behavior. Here is the full spectrum of the true crime genre, including accounts of some of the most notorious criminal cases in American history: the Helen Jewett murder and the once-notorious "Kentucky tragedy" of the 1830s, the assassination of President Garfield, the Snyder-Gray murder that inspired Double Indemnity , the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Black Dahlia, Leopold and Loeb, and the Manson family. True Crime draws upon the writing of literary figures as diverse as Nathaniel Hawthorne (reporting on a visit to a waxworks exhibit of notorious crimes), Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser (offering his views on a 1934 murder that some saw as a "copycat" version of An American Tragedy ), James Thurber, Joseph Mitchell, and Truman Capote and sources as varied as execution sermons, murder ballads, early broadsides and trial reports, and tabloid journalism of many different eras. It also features the influential true crime writing of best-selling contemporary practitioners like James Ellroy, Gay Talese, Dominick Dunne, and Ann Rule.
Hanging of John Billington / William Bradford
Pillars of salt / Cotton Mather
Murder of a daughter / Benjamin Franklin
An account of a murder committed by Mr. J- Y-, upon his family, in December, A.D. 1781 / anonymous
"A crime more atrocious and horrible than any other" / Timothy Dwight
The record of crimes in the United States / Jesse Strang
The recent tragedy / James Gordon Bennett
"A show of wax-figures" / Nathaniel Hawthorne
Remarkable case of arrest for murder / Abraham Lincoln
Crime news from California / Ambrose Bierce
From Roughing it / Mark Twain
Jesse Harding Pomeroy, the boy fiend / anonymous
Gibbeted / Lafcadio Hearn
A memorable murder / Celia Thaxter
The trial of Guiteau / José Martí
The murder of Annie Downey, alias "Curly Tom" / Thomas Byrnes
Hunting human game / Frank Norris
The Hossack murder / Susan Glaspell
Murder ballads : Poor Naomi ; Stackalee ; The murder of Grace Brown ; Belle Gunness ; The murder at Fall River ; Trail's end
Mrs. Cordelia Botkin, murderess / Thomas S. Duke
Hell benders, or The story of a wayside tavern / Edmund Pearson
The eternal blonde / Damon Runyon
From The gangs of New York / Herbert Asbury
The mystery of the hansom cab / Alexander Woollcott
Execution / Joseph Mitchell
More and better psychopaths / H.L. Mencken
Dreiser sees error in Edwards defense / Theodore Dreiser
Sex and the all-American boy / Dorothy Kilgallen
Miss Ferber views "vultures" at trial / Edna Ferber
Ditch of doom / Jim Thompson
A sort of genius / James Thurber
Veteran kills 12 in mad rampage on Camden Street / Meyer Berger
Butcher's dozen / John Bartlow Martin
The case of the scattered Dutchman / A.J. Liebling
The trial of Ruby McCollum / Zora Neale Hurston
The black dahlia / Jack Webb
The life and death of Caryl Chessman / Elizabeth Hardwick
The shambles of Ed Gein / Robert Bloch
Superman's crime : Loeb and Leopold / Miriam Allen deFord
Eight girls, all pretty, all nurses, all slain / W.T. Brannon
The pied piper of Tucson / Don Moser
A stranger with a camera / Calvin Trillin
Charlie Manson's home on the range / Gay Talese
Then it all came down / Truman Capote
"Son of Sam" / Jimmy Breslin
The Turner-Stompanato killing : a family affair / Jay Robert Nash
The Medea of Kew Gardens Hills / Albert Borowitz
My mother's killer / James Ellroy
Young love / Ann Rule
Nightmare on Elm Drive / Dominick Dunne.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The first example of American true-crime writing was an account of Mayflower pioneer John Billington, who came to America to evade his London creditors and murdered a fellow colonist with his fowling piece. Schechter, professor of American literature at Queens College, captures this entry from William Bradford's The History of Plymouth Plantation in this extensive (50 selections) and eerily fascinating collection. Writers expected (Damon Runyon, Truman Capote, Jimmy Breslin, and Dominick Dunne) rub shoulders with the unexpected (Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and James Thurber). What keeps this volume from seeming either sensationalistic or chaotic is Schechter's commentary. His introduction is a brilliant overview of styles of American crime writing, from Puritan execution sermons, through lurid penny-press accounts, and all the way to the literary journalism of In Cold Blood. Each entry is given a short introduction, explaining context and significance. Great as a reference tool or for escapist reading.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2008 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects Crime -- United States.
True crime stories.
Publisher New York :Library of America,2008
Contributors Schechter, Harold.
Language English
Notes "A special publication of the Library of America."
"350 years of brilliant writing about dark deeds"--Jacket.
Includes index.
Description xx, 788 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781598530315
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