Murder, America

Murder, America : Homicide in the United States from the Revolution to the Present

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Product details

  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Ill.
  • 0245537643
  • 9780245537646

Review Text

Encyclopedist Nash, who previously has compiled lists of Bloodletters and Badmen, Hustlers and Con Men, "worldwide disasters," and missing persons, here recounts some 50-odd American murders, selected as "good murders" which add a bit of ingenuity to butchery. The cases range in time from Bathsheba Spooner's murder of her dull husband in 1778 to neo-Nazi Frederick Cowan's berserk shoot-em-up suicide at the Neptune Moving Company in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1977. Appended to these bloody tales is an interminable list of "the most infamous and distinctive homicides" in the history of the U.S., with a few lines devoted to each. Unfortunately, concerning all these crimes he describes with such ungrammatical relish ("Born about 1830, Lydia's background then, as it is today, was hazy"), Nash has not a single idea beyond the facile references to "smitten swains" and "voluptuous vixens." Nor does he seem to have a consistent principle of selection, for some of the "best" American murders (Professor Webster, Lizzie Borden, the Hall-Mills case) are conspicuously absent or shoved to the appendix alongside Nat Turner's Rebellion and the assassinations of Kennedy and King - which become, in Nash's compendium, simple acts of homicide. The supposedly "true-crime" cases are undocumented and rife with factual error and apocryphal accretions - but even such additives can't save a perennially fascinating subject from overkill. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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