Tuesday, December 27, 2011

True Crime: An American Anthology compiled by Harold Schechter

In the interest of full disclosure, this was also the first book purchase I made when I realized that I really did love true crime.  

This book was an excellent companion in waiting rooms, doctor's offices, Workman's Comp appointments, and while I sat waiting for faxes and doctor's phone calls as my husband recovered from a traumatic brain injury (and several other broken bones as well). Which is to say it is an absorbing book you will want to bring everywhere and is perfect for doing so. 

But I doubt that's what made me love this book. It really is a well thought out anthology. From Lincoln's musings on a murderer he defended and Mark Twain's essay on the saloon owners and general lawlessness of early Nevada, to the raging yellow journalism of Damon Runyan's court coverage and the cold analysis of an F.B.I. profiler of the Son of Sam, this book truly has it all; it is a veritable kaleidoscope of true crime. 

It made me wish people still had the patience to read broadsheet stories on covering court, but reading those selections was the next best thing. I highly reccommend this for even non-true crime fans because it's worth reading even for those who want to see a tight, inclusive glimpse of the true crime genre from a purely literary history perspective.

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