Friday, November 7, 2008

True Crime: An American Anthology-Harold Schechter

True Crime: An American Anthology
Harold Schechter
The Library of America, Oct 2008, $40.00
14 East 60th St, NY, NY 10022
ISBN: 9781598530315

I hate to admit this publicly, but this excellent anthology highlights Americans’ (including guilty me) macabre fascination with crime through famous authors who over the years, especially the last few decades, have made this into a powerful genre. The collection starts in colonial times with Puritan documents and Ben Franklin; runs into the nineteenth century with Bierce, Hawthorne and Mark Twain; and into the twentieth century and this decade with a genre who’s who to include Dreiser, Thurber, Capote, Dunne, Rule, Ellroy and Talese. The compilation includes some of the most felonious activities in American history; several of which gained additional notoriety through movie versions like Double Indemnity, the Black Dahlia, and Compulsion. Finally, True Crime analyzes why people love the genre. This is a winner for fans as Harold Schechter analyzes the roots, the history, and the current popular state of the genre through authors and their subjects even with many of the cases included like Son of Sam of Bronx infamy well known.

Harriet Klausner

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