The wilderness of ruin : a tale of madness, fire, and the hunt for America's youngest serial killer

by Montillo, Roseanne,

Format: Print Book 2015
Availability: Available at 10 Libraries 10 of 10 copies
Available (10)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Brookline Non-Fiction Collection HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
Location  CLP - Brookline
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
CLP - Sheraden Non-Fiction Collection HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
Location  CLP - Sheraden
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
CLP - South Side Non-Fiction Collection HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
Location  CLP - South Side
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
CLP - Woods Run Non-Fiction Collection HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
Location  CLP - Woods Run
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV6248.P6 M66 2015x
Carnegie Library of Homestead Non Fiction 364.152 Mont
Location  Carnegie Library of Homestead
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  364.152 Mont
Carnegie Library of McKeesport Nonfiction 364.1523 M767
Location  Carnegie Library of McKeesport
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  364.1523 M767
Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 364.15 M
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  364.15 M
Springdale Free Public Library Adult Nonfiction 364.15 MONT
Location  Springdale Free Public Library
Collection  Adult Nonfiction
Call Number  364.15 MONT
Whitehall Public Library Nonfiction Collection NF 364.15232 M767w
Location  Whitehall Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction Collection
Call Number  NF 364.15232 M767w

"A captivating tale of depravity in the Athens of America." --Mitchell Zuckoff, author of the New York Times bestsellers Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time

In late nineteenth-century Boston, home to Herman Melville and Oliver Wendell Holmes, a serial killer preying on children is running loose in the city--a wilderness of ruin caused by the Great Fire of 1872--in this literary historical crime thriller reminiscent of The Devil in the White City.

In the early 1870s, local children begin disappearing from the working-class neighborhoods of Boston. Several return home bloody and bruised after being tortured, while others never come back.

With the city on edge, authorities believe the abductions are the handiwork of a psychopath, until they discover that their killer--fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy--is barely older than his victims. The criminal investigation that follows sparks a debate among the world's most revered medical minds, and will have a decades-long impact on the judicial system and medical consciousness.

The Wilderness of Ruin is a riveting tale of gruesome murder and depravity. At its heart is a great American city divided by class--a chasm that widens in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1872. Roseanne Montillo brings Gilded Age Boston to glorious life--from the genteel cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill to the squalid, overcrowded tenements of Southie. Here, too, is the writer Herman Melville. Enthralled by the child killer's case, he enlists physician Oliver Wendell Holmes to help him understand how it might relate to his own mental instability.

With verve and historical detail, Roseanne Montillo explores this case that reverberated through all of Boston society in order to help us understand our modern hunger for the prurient and sensational.

The Wilderness of Ruin features more than a dozen black-and-white photographs.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Delving deep into the history of Boston circa the 19th century, Montillo (The Lady and Her Monsters) unearths a riveting true-crime tale that rivals anything writers in the 21st century could concoct. Jesse Harding Pomeroy, an adolescent from a deeply troubled family, earns notoriety in working-class Boston and surrounding towns by kidnapping and torturing young boys. The sensational journalism of the period soon turns him into a subject of grotesque fascination in the city and beyond. After Jesse is apprehended by court order and sent off to reform school, his mother secures a commutation that returns the teenager to the city, with monstrous results. A masterly storyteller, Montillo skillfully evokes the poor and patrician neighborhoods that served as a backdrop for the crimes, particularly after the 1872 fire that ravaged the city center. The police investigations that tracked down Jesse are stunning in their similarity to modern-day sleuthing. Alongside the graphic, disturbing details of Pomeroy's crimes, Montillo chronicles the contemporary fascination with mental illness by writers such as Herman Melville, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and other paragons of 19th-century Boston. A host of doctors and lawyers also figure prominently in these pages, as they all try to understand what drove a young boy to commit horrific crimes that gripped a city for decades. B&w illus. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Pomeroy, Jesse Harding, -- 1859-1932.
Serial murderers -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Biography.
Juvenile homicide -- Massachusetts -- Boston.
Murder -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- History.
Boston (Mass.) -- History -- 19th century.
Publisher New York, NY :William Morrow,2015
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 308 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 287-300) and index.
ISBN 9780062273475
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