News & Reviews
The Library of America’s latest a must-read for ‘True Crime’ aficionados
This fall, The Library of America presents "True Crime: An American
Anthology" (October 2008; hardcover; $40.00), the first fully
comprehensive collection of the true crime genre. Ranging from the
seventeenth century to the present, from William Bradford to Dominick Dunne,
True Crime assembles accounts of some of the most notorious criminal
cases in American history. Separately, The Library of America, a
nonprofit publisher, has recent and upcoming titles on tap from authors
as diverse as Phillip K Dick, William Maxwell and Katherine Anne Porter.
edited by Harold Schechter,
reminds us that Americans have had an uneasy fascination with dark
deeds since the earliest European settlements in the New World. This
collection reveals the many ways in which American writers have
explored crime, the motives that spur it, the shock of its impact on
society, and the effort to make sense of the violent extremes of human
According to Schechter, True Crime does more than titillate readers
with gruesome crimes, many of which were headline news in their time
but have been since forgotten.
"What critics of the genre fail to realize, of course, is that true
crime isn’t just, or even primarily, about titillation. It’s an age-old
form of storytelling, deeply rooted in folk tradition that help us to
cope with and make sense of the violence that is endemic to both our
inner and outer worlds," Schechter said in a press release.
True Crime tells again the stories of infamous cases that still excite
interest: the "Kentucky tragedy" of the 1830s, the assassination of
President Garfield, the black Dahlia, Leopold and Loeb, and the
Lindbergh kidnapping, among many others. Because the passages were
written by contemporary authors of the day, readers are given snapshots
of how society viewed the carnage at the time, instead of through the
prism of hindsight.
It draws upon the writing of literary figures as diverse as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, Mark
Twain, Theodore Dreiser, James Thurber, Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain,
Theodore Dreiser, James Thurber, Joseph Mitchell, and Truman Capote.
The Library of America, a nonprofit publisher, is dedicated to
publishing, and keeping in print, authoritative editions of America's
best and most significant writing. In addition to True Crime, other
recent and upcoming titles include Phillip K Dick’s "Five Novels of the
1960s & 70s," William Maxwell’s "Later Novels and Stories," and
Katherine Anne Porter’s "Collected Stories and Other Writings." Check
out The Library of America website
for more information.
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