Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of

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Random House Publishing Group, Aug 7, 2012 - True Crime - 416 pages
AMERICA’S MOST COLD-BLOODED!
 
In the horrifying annals of American crime, the infamous names of brutal killers such as Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy, and Berkowitz are writ large in the imaginations of a public both horrified and hypnotized by their monstrous, murderous acts. But for every celebrity psychopath who’s gotten ink for spilling blood, there’s a bevy of all-but-forgotten homicidal fiends studding the bloody margins of U.S. history. The law gave them their just desserts, but now the hugely acclaimed author of The Serial Killer Files and The Whole Death Catalog gives them their dark due in this absolutely riveting true-crime treasury. Among America’s most cold-blooded you’ll meet
 
• Robert Irwin, “The Mad Sculptor”: He longed to use his carving skills on the woman he loved—but had to settle for making short work of her mother and sister instead.
 
• Peter Robinson, “The Tell-Tale Heart Killer”: It took two days and four tries for him to finish off his victim, but no time at all for keen-eyed cops to spot the fatal flaw in his floor plan.
 
• Anton Probst, “The Monster in the Shape of a Man”: The ax-murdering immigrant’s systematic slaughter of all eight members of a Pennsylvania farm family matched the savagery of the Manson murders a century later.
 
• Edward H. Ruloff, “The Man of Two Lives”: A genuine Jekyll and Hyde, his brilliant scholarship disguised his bloodthirsty brutality, and his oversized brain gave new meaning to “mastermind.”
 
Spurred by profit, passion, paranoia, or perverse pleasure, these killers—the Witch of Staten Island, the Smutty Nose Butcher, the Bluebeard of Quiet Dell, and many others—span three centuries and a host of harrowing murder methods. Dramatized in the pages of penny dreadfuls, sensationalized in tabloid headlines, and immortalized in “murder ballads” and classic fiction by Edgar Allan Poe and Theodore Dreiser, the demonic denizens of Psycho USA may be long gone to the gallows—but this insidiously irresistible slice of gothic Americana will ensure that they’ll no longer be forgotten.
 

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User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

I like my true crime to have more to it than this. As a collection of people it would be interesting to learn more about, this book is fine, but it isn't interesting of itself. Read full review

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User Review  - lovelylime - LibraryThing

There's nothing I love more than reading about some true crime--the more unknown the better. Sure, I like learning new things about all the cases I've already heard about but it doesn't beat learning ... Read full review

Contents

WILLIAM BEADLE FAMILY ANNIRILATOR
9
PRODIGY OI CRIME
17
JESSE STRANG AND THE CHERRY HILL MURDER
24
PETER ROBINSON THE TELLTALE HEART KILLER
41
DR VALOROUS R OOOLIDGE THE WATERVILLE POISONER
60
RETURN J M WARD THE TRIPLE MURDERER
79
FRANCIS GOULDY PREGIVIL WAR MASS MURDERER
95
LOUIS WAGNER THE SMUTTY NOSE BUTCHER
170
UARLYLE HARRIS THE LIBERTINE 995
240
8001 JAGKSON WHO SLAUGHTERED POOR PEARL BRYAN
257
Law
269
WILLIAM EDWARD HICKMAN THE Fox
295
PEARL OLOUGHLIN WIOKED STEPMOTHER
313
Fact and Fantasy
333
JULIAN HARVEY AND THE BLUEBELLES LAST VOYAGE
369
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
385

JOSEPH LAPAGE THE FRENCH MONSTER
193
EMELINE MEAKER T112 VIRA60 OP VERMONT II4
222

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About the author (2012)

A professor of American literature and culture at Queens College, Harold Schechter is the dean of American true crime. The author of more than thirty books, he is best known for his historical true-crime writing. His essays have appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He lives in Brooklyn and Mattituck, New York, with his wife, the poet Kimiko Hahn.

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