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The murder of the century : the Gilded Age crime that scandalized a city and spa
Paul Collins
Adult Nonfiction HV6534.N5 C66 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A dismembered corpse and rival newspapers squabbling for headlines fuel Collins's intriguing look at the birth of "yellow journalism" in late-19th-century New York. On June 26, 1897, the first of several gory bundles was discovered: a man's chest and arms floating in the East River. The legs and midsection were found separately and "assembled" at the morgue for identification. The two most popular newspapers-William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World-devoted entire issues to the corpse, sending reporters out to shadow police and offering dueling rewards for identifying the man. Hearst even formed the "Murder Squad," reporters who were often one step ahead of the cops. Eventually identified as William Guldensuppe, the Danish immigrant had been caught between his landlady (and lover) Augusta Nack and her new suitor, Martin Thorn. Though both were suspects, only Thorn was tried and executed, after Nack cut a deal. Collins (The Book of William), founder of McSweeney's Collins Library imprint, gives an in-depth account of the exponential growth of lurid news and the public's (continuing) insatiable appetite for it. B&w illus. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In the sticky summer of 1897, New York City was rocked by the discovery of a human torso wrapped in oilcloth floating in the river. A second bundle wrapped in the same fabric was found, then a third. Who was the dead man, and where had his head been dumped? The murder terrified the populace but galvanized the newspaper tabloids. Upstart New York Journal, run by a very young William Randolph Hearst, took on the champion New York World, under Joseph Pulitzer, in a circulation duel to the death. The rival papers sent out investigators, hounded the police, and offered substantial rewards, not in the service of justice but of circulation. The dogged search eventually produced suspects, but how do you get a conviction when you can't even identify the body? Collins (The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World) utilizes newspaper accounts from more than a dozen dailies to bring this tale of sex, murder, and yellow journalism to life. VERDICT This intriguing case, sensational at the time but now long forgotten, will appeal to fans of early 20th-century social history and crime.-Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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