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True Crime History

Send proposals via mail or e-mail to:
Will Underwood, Director
The Kent State University Press
1118 Library
Kent, OH 44242-0001 USA
wunderwo@kent.edu
The True Crime History Series, aimed at both a general readership and a scholarly audience, features effectively written, well-documented studies of notable criminal cases from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, primarily American. Books in the series will often focus on once-sensational crimes that, at the time of their occurrence, captivated the public and will explore the social and cultural factors that help explain their significance. The series also includes studies of real-life crimes that served as the inspiration for important works of American fiction.

The Lincoln Assassination Riddle

and | Filed under: American History, History, Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
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Most Americans are aware that their sixteenth president was mortally wounded by a man named Booth at a Washington theater in April 1865. These are facts that nobody can dispute. However, a closer look at this history-changing catastrophe raises questions that have still not been fully answered. The passing of the 150th anniversary of the United States’ first presidential assassination is an ideal time for students and scholars to consider these questions.

 


Hauptmann’s Ladder

| Filed under: True Crime History
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Hauptmann’s Ladder is a testament to the truth that counters the revisionist histories all too common in the true crime genre. Author Richard T. Cahill Jr. puts the “true” back in “true crime,” providing credible information and undistorted evidence that enables readers to form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions.

 


Nameless Indignities

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Upon discovering that her great-great aunt was the victim and central figure in one of Illinois’s most notorious crimes, author Susan Elmore set out to learn more. She uncovered a perplexing case that resulted in multiple suspects, a lynch mob, charges of perjury and bribery, a failed kidnapping attempt, broken family loyalties, lies, cover-ups, financial devastation, and at least two suicides.

 


Guilty by Popular Demand

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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The townsfolk of Logan, Ohio, a mined-out area of the Appalachian foothills, cheered as an innocent man was convicted and sent to death row. The occasion was the conviction of Dale N. Johnston. His trial ended nothing; the tragedies had just begun. What really happened on that bitter cold day in January 1984 was the total collapse of the local criminal justice system.

 


The Supernatural Murders

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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This anthology of thirteen true crime stories includes the mysterious slaying of Charles Walton, who was found slashed and pierced to death in an area notorious for its associations with black magic; the murder of Eric Tombe, whose body was located because of a recurring dream in which his mother saw Eric down a well; the terrorizing of Hammersmith, London, in the early nineteenth century by the nocturnal appearance of a “ghost”; the Salem witchcraft trials; the murder of Rasputin, who was believed by some in Russia to be a miracle worker and by others to be a dangerous charlatan; a Scottish tale in which evidence given by the ghost of the victim was allowed at the murderer’s trial; and the bizarre goings-on at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York, where Ronnie DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family—the new occupants were subjected to all manner of sinister events, including the presence of poltergeists, or were they?

 


The Christmas Murders

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Here are ten murder cases of “the old-fashioned sort”—evoking a nostalgia more obviously associated with fiction—that all took place during the festive period from mid-December to Twelfth Night between 1811 and 1933. In The Christmas Murders, Jonathan Goodman has collected stories as fascinating and compulsively readable as one would expect from a writer described by Jacques Barzun as “the greatest living master of true-crime literature” and by Julian Symons as “the premier investigator of crimes past.”

 


Born to Lose

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Stanley Barton Hoss was a burglar, thief, and local thug from the Pittsburgh area. In eight short months in 1969, however, he became a rapist, prison escapee, murderer, and kidnapper; the subject of an intense nationwide manhunt; and one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. In Born to Lose, author James G. Hollock traces Hoss from his earliest misdemeanors at the age of fourteen to a daring rooftop escape from the Allegheny Workhouse in Blawnox, Pennsylvania, where he was being held on a rape charge, to his killing of police officer Joseph Zanella in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, to the kidnapping near Cumberland, Maryland, and his ultimate murder of Linda Peugeot and her two-year-old daughter Lori in the autumn of 1969. Their bodies have never been found.