The murder of the century the Gilded Age crime that scandalized a city and sparked the tabloid wars

by Collins, Paul, 1969-

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Summary
On Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects. The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most baffling murder mystery. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Reenactments of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio, a hard luck cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor, all raced to solve the crime. What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim whom the police couldn't identify with certainty, and who the defense claimed wasn't even dead. This book is a tale of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.
Contents
The Victim.
The mystery of the river
A detective reads the paper
The jigsaw man
The wrecking crew
Jill the Ripper
The Suspects.
The baker in Hell's Kitchen
The undertaker's neighbor
The widow's friend
The disappearing shoemaker
The silent customer
The Indictment.
A case of life and death
Heads or tails
Queen of the tombs
The high roller
Klondike Willie
The Trial.
Corpus delicti
Covered in blood
Caught in the headlight
Scythe and saw
A wonderful murder
The Verdict.
Mrs. Nack's office
The smoker to Sing Sing
A job for Smith and Jones
A story of life in New York
Carry out your own dead
The last man standing.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Collins, the literary detective often featured on NPR's Weekend Edition, has constructed a gripping work of narrative nonfiction. He revisits 1897 New York, where the discovery in the East River of a male torso with arms was first dismissed as a medical-student prank. But other findings of body parts soon convinced experts that a grisly murder had been committed. The public became galvanized by the horrific crime, in large part because of the spotlight turned on the case by the two masters of yellow journalism, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Collins shows how the press sensationalized both the crime and the hunt for the murderer. More than a good true-crime story, this is absorbing social history, especially of the tabloid press of the time, including good portraits of Hearst and Pulitzer. Collins was able to draw on many eyewitness accounts as recorded by the contemporary press, which add greatly to the book's immediacy.--Fletcher, Conni. Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "A dismembered corpse and rival newspapers squabbling for headlines fuel Collins's intriguing look at the birth of "yellow journalism" in late-19th-century New York. On June 26, 1897, the first of several gory bundles was discovered: a man's chest and arms floating in the East River. The legs and midsection were found separately and "assembled" at the morgue for identification. The two most popular newspapers-William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World-devoted entire issues to the corpse, sending reporters out to shadow police and offering dueling rewards for identifying the man. Hearst even formed the "Murder Squad," reporters who were often one step ahead of the cops. Eventually identified as William Guldensuppe, the Danish immigrant had been caught between his landlady (and lover) Augusta Nack and her new suitor, Martin Thorn. Though both were suspects, only Thorn was tried and executed, after Nack cut a deal. Collins (The Book of William), founder of McSweeney's Collins Library imprint, gives an in-depth account of the exponential growth of lurid news and the public's (continuing) insatiable appetite for it. B&w illus. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Nack, Augusta
Murder New York (State) New York Case studies
Crimes of passion New York (State) New York Case studies
Tabloid newspapers New York (State) New York History 19th century
True Crime
Nonfiction
History
New York (N.Y.) History 19th century.
Electronic books.
19th century.
Publisher New York :Crown Publishing Group,2011
Crown2011
Edition 1st ed.
Contributors OverDrive, Inc.
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: OverDrive READ
Format: Kindle Book
Format: Adobe EPUB eBook
Requires Amazon Kindle or Adobe Digital Editions
Description 1 online resource
ISBN 9780307592224
9780307592224
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