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The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age…
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The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City… (2011)

by Paul Collins

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3522431,026 (3.49)21
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    Killer Colt: Murder, Disgrace, and the Making of an American Legend by Harold Schechter (gtown)
    gtown: Two great non-fiction accounts about murder and media frenzies in 1800s New York, showing that not much has changed since then.
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If you thought the murder of the 19th century might be Lincoln's this book tells that the murder of a guy named Guldensuppe in June of 1897 was transformed into the 19th century's most prominent murder by the Hearst and Pulitzer New York papers. The murder is not a particularly interesting one but those papers made it a sensation. The book is mostly based on the lurid newppaer coverage of the case. The account is of varying interest. One of the accused was represented by William F. Howe, a bellering New York lawyer who got away with things in court which no self-respecting judge should have permitted. And one stands in amazement that alternate jurors could not be selected in New York at the time and for some 33 years thereafter! ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 18, 2013 |
Someone else had a similar review to the one I'd like to leave -- interesting story, but I couldn't get into the writing style. I read "The Devil in the White City" and "The Beautiful Cigar Girl" and loved them both. I tried to read this, hoping for the same history/crime balance and found this one lacking. Neither the story of the murder and the hunt for the killer, nor the tabloid wars were enough to hold my attention. ( )
  DataAngel | Nov 1, 2013 |
A true crime offers a glimpse into petit-bourgeois fin-de-siècle New York about a woman, her estranged husband, her old lover and her new lover, as well as her trade as midwife and abortionist. The American obsession with court drama apparently has a long pedigree. Typically American too, women were excluded from the court room as soon as sex was mentioned, while they could stay as long as they wanted as long as the topic was describing violent acts. Similar to Sherlock Holmes upstaging Scotland Yard, newspaper reporters bested the police in gathering evidence. Under a fair trial, the main defendant could probably not have been convicted today (in dubio pro reo).

An amusingly dark book which could have been condensed into a magazine article. ( )
  jcbrunner | Oct 31, 2013 |
I think lots of people would like this book/audiobobok. Both the murder itself and what the tabloids did with this story are the two main themes. The book is non-fiction but reads as a novel. However, this is a double-edged sword. The press turned the murder/crime/trial events into pure sensationalism. The author too writes of the events in a sensational style, to capture the mood, the time, the way it was! That is good, BUT at the same time I found myself asking if the facts were being delivered in a straightforward, objective manner. No they were not. And if this is to be called non-fiction then you cannot add subjective interpretations into the story-telling. Yet, the story was fun because of the very way it was told. At the same time, the story is thoroughly told. You leave the book with a very clear understanding of what actually happened, of the trial and of the media at the turn of the 20th century in NYC. Equally interesting and well covered are the later events in the main protagonists' lives. It is books like this that will make people realize that non-fiction need never be dry.

The narration by William Dufris captured perfectly the sensational tone of both the criminal events and the press. ( )
2 vote chrissie3 | Sep 6, 2013 |
Good read. Better than the similar "Devils Gentleman". ( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
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To Mom and Dad, who let me read the mysteries fromtheir bookshelf
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It was a slow afternoon for news.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.… (more)

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