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The murder of the century : the Gilded Age…

The murder of the century : the Gilded Age crime that scandalized a city… (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Paul Collins

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5843024,537 (3.41)29
Title:The murder of the century : the Gilded Age crime that scandalized a city and sparked the tabloid wars
Authors:Paul Collins
Info:New York : Crown, c2011.
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:Non-fiction, True crime

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The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins (2011)

  1. 00
    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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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
I enjoyed learning this piece of crime history, but found the "story-telling" a bit choppy. I don't regret reading it, and if you are a fan of true crime, suggest you give it a look. You might enjoy it. Certainly the history is fascinating. ( )
  ptkpepe98 | Mar 19, 2018 |
I enjoyed this book, but it could have been much better. Using the story of a murder to explore the rise of William Randolph Hearst and his competition with Joseph Pulitzer is a great idea, it just feels that the author didn't go deep enough. I would have like a little more of the newspaper angle and a little less of the murder. An entertaining, quick read, just not much depth to it. ( )
  hhornblower | Aug 26, 2017 |
In 1897, sections of a man wrapped in oilcloth, paper and string, began appearing in the boroughs of New York City. A group of children at the shore found a bundle that contained a man's chest, another child in the woods found the pelvis, until the coroner was able to piece together nearly the whole man. What was never found was his head, making identification of the victim a drawn-out affair.
The murder occurred during the newspaper wars of New York, a time when bombastic young Hearst was running his paper on sensationalism, Pulitzer's World was being knocked from the top, and The Times and Herald were struggling to stay in business. This murder became top billing for each paper as they sent out reporters to compete with the police in finding clues and witnesses. Papers printed anything that might give them the edge. They created fake evidence and printed headlines accusing people who weren't even under arrest.
Once the victim was identified, arrests were made and the trial became the first tabloid trial, with a galley of reporters and sketch artists racing to deliver the proceedings first for their readers. With all the print about the victim and the defendants, you'd think this would have been a murder that would still be well-known, but I'd never heard of it. It's a story of jealousy and betrayal for some that leads to enormous profit for others. Collins is one of my favorite non-fiction writers. Some photos of the people involves would have been great, as the book includes just one in the back, taken years after the fact. ( )
1 vote mstrust | Apr 10, 2017 |
This is a generally good historical true-crime story which includes not only an account of the crime, the investigation, and the trial, but also details about the larger community, and specifically about the ways in which newspaper coverage played a role during the "tabloid wars" between Hearst and Pulitzer. Overall, I enjoyed it, and found it to be a pretty quick read. I would recommend it to fans of The Devil in the White City, with the caveat that it is not quite as good. ( )
  pursuitofsanity | Sep 6, 2016 |
At least as much a history of the newspaper coverage as of the crime itself. Fascinating. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Mar 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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To Mom and Dad, who let me read the mysteries from their 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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