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True Crime: An American Anthology written by Harold Schechter

 

True Crime: An American Anthology written by Harold Schechter

Overview:

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.

Synopsis:

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.

The Barnes & Noble Review

If people read detective fiction to see justice done, they read true crime stories in order to see innocence lost. From Edgar Allan Poe (who invented the detective genre) to Arthur Conan Doyle (whose Sherlock Holmes proved its greatest popularizer) through to today's assortment of imaginary private and public investigators, fictional detective stories center on the heroic ingenuity of the detective, whose guts, guile, and guiding intelligence result in a solution that is -- for entertainment's sake -- typically counterintuitive and unpredictable. The detective outwits the criminal and justice is served.

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Title: True Crime: An American Anthology

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