The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars

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In Long Island, a farmer found a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discovered a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumbled upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime were turning up all over New York, but the police were baffled: there were no witnesses, no motives, no suspects. The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most perplexing murder. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Re-creations of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio-an anxious cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor-all raced to solve the crime. What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim that the police couldn't identify with certainty, and that the defense claimed wasn't even dead. The Murder of the Century is a rollicking tale-a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609983383
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Pages: 8
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Paul Collins is the author of several books. An assistant professor of English in the MFA program at Portland State University, Collins is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the founding editor of the Collins Library imprint of McSweeney's Books. His work has appeared in Slate, New Scientist, and the New York Times, and he is regularly featured on NPR's Weekend Edition as their "literary detective."

William Dufris attended the University of Southern Maine in Portland-Gorham before pursuing a career in voice work in London and then the United States. He has won more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, was voted one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century by AudioFile magazine, and won the prestigious Audie Award in 2012 for best nonfiction narration. He lives with his family in Maine.

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Murder of the Century 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 210 reviews.
Peanut61 More than 1 year ago
Fascinating story written so well it reads like fiction! The investigators and detectives have their hands full without any of the modern forensic tools and even fingerprints are considered junk science! And the media? Boy if you think the media is out of control today... you've got to read this!!
merrycoz More than 1 year ago
The murder is fascinating enough, but Collins also explores the ways in which the war between competing newspapers and the corruption in the New York City judicial system affected the investigation and trial--and vice versa. Collins has a lively writing style; he knows just what historical details to add and when to spice things with humor. This is well researched, highly entertaining, and one of the best true crime books around. Formatting of the ebook version is excellent.
romeo_alpha More than 1 year ago
I bought this book thinking that I would read about a grizzly murder and the subsequent investigation and trial. And I did that and so much more. Society, the working class, corruption and the city. But the most disturbing aspect of this story is the "yellow journalism" of the time. I have lost any respect I had for William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. I have even greater respect for The New York Times. Paul Collins did a great job telling this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Murder, a headless body cut into 3 sections, history, adultery, and an epic battle between two of the greatest names in newspaper history...Hearst and Pulitzer! The story starts with the murder of William Guldensuppe by his lover, Augusta Nack and her other lover, Martin Thorn. (Augusta's husband wasn't involved!) Problems start right away because no one is completely sure that the body is Guldensuppe...because there's no head! As big as this story is, it's almost the backstory to the real story...the battle between Pulitzer's New York World and Hearst's New York Journal newspapers. It's this battle over this story that marks the beginning of "yellow journalism" and tabloid newspapers! Extremely well researched (63 pages of notes, credits, and acknowledgments) and very well written, Collins will even make you chuckle a few times! My only criticism, and it's a minor one, is that sometimes it's hard to tell if this is a murder story or a journalism history lesson. Enjoy this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read and well told real life historical murder mystery
Amelia Mccurdy More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the book. The history of print journalism and the story itself was very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book brings perspective to the newspaper wars and William Randolph Hearst, one of the most interesting characters of the 20th century. A great read with many interesting people, some you will know, others you wish you did!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating book, as much for the New York history, and the yellow journalism of Hearst, as the so-called Murder of the Century. An interesting and educational glimpse into the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a fast interesting read. The detail and just the story were amazing. The history of this and the way the author dishes out the information kept me drawn from the first words to the last.
krpoole1 More than 1 year ago
The book description sounded interesting to me, so I decided to buy it.  I am glad that I did.  Paul Collins writes in an entertaining yet educating way that maintained my attention from beginning to end.  He incorporates newspaper articles and letters from the period, written by those involved in the case, and he brings this historical event to life for us a century later.  For those who like history but do not like to read history textbooks, and for those who like an enthralling story, this book is for you.  My wife read it after I did and had many of the same comments that I write here.  I look forward to reading more of Paul Collins's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The historical references and information were facinating and were well woveninto the story. Very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very surprised by the depth and scope of this novel. The dynamic interplay with all of the characters and how the author guides you through the events really brings this entire drama to life and gives you an almost disturbing look into the reality of the human mind. The changes that happen during this investigation and it shapes the way that we do things still today is a marvel.
Dominican More than 1 year ago
This was a very well written true crime thriller and I don't believe the crime was truly solved by the officials at the time. It is much more than the crime when the newspapers of the day make a circus out of it. The study of how Hearst and Pulitzer handle the story (or become part of it) could easily become more interesting than the crime itself.
cat2tat More than 1 year ago
This is a nicely paced book about a sensational murder trial that took place in the late 1800’s. It is not only about the murder but also includes events surrounding this murder trial. The publishing war between Hearst and Pulitzer and some ramifications and changes brought about by the coverage of this trial. It was an easy read that was educational as well as enjoyable.
JJP22 More than 1 year ago
I think this book makes fascinating reading for history buffs. It is well-written and an easy read. It definitely held my attention. The lengths the tabloids went to at the turn of the century to gain readership is truly something to read about.
Pat-Tee1947 More than 1 year ago
Why criticize a book without reading it first. This happens to give an old case "A UNIQUE WAY OF SEEING HOW ROTTEN JURISPRUDENCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN".while leaving it suspenseful and timely. TRY TO KEEP AN OPEN LITERARY MIND!
AnnBradleyBell More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading books about journalism and I enjoy mysteries. This book had both. I love when a non-fiction book reads like fiction and this book did. It's not fair for people to give it one star because they were angry that the book was shipped for free to their Nook. That is lowering the review mark unjustly. I paid for my copy and I loved it.
Debbie-V More than 1 year ago
I throughly enjoyed this book. It took me to history of the newspaper business in the early 1900's! Profiles of well know people that established the newspaper guidelines and how industry.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you think the media circus surrounding a sensational murder is a 21st century phenomenon, you'll rethink that assumption after reading Paul Collins's The Murder of the Century. In this case, the century is the 19th, not the 21st. The discovery of parts of a man's body in various locations near New York soon capture the city's attention. Media rivals Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst and their papers make no pretense of objectively reporting the news about the murder. They become active participants in the murder investigation as well as shapers of public opinion.This is more than just a story about a sensational murder. Collins's account provides both examples and cautions for today's journalists and media consumers. The investigators of the 1897 crime lacked most of the forensic tools available to modern investigators, yet they were able to identify the headless victim, zero in on suspects, and build a strong circumstantial case against the defendants. Despite the technological advances of the last 100 years, there are still cases lacking physical evidence. Collins's book could be used as a case study of a trial based on circumstantial evidence.Recommended for readers interested in the history of journalism, the ethics of journalism, criminal investigation, or New York history, and for true crime readers.
gtown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The full title tells what you need to know here, the book follows the story of a gruesome murder in late 1800s New York and the brutal newspaper battle to capitalize on it, pitting Pulitzer against Hearst.A great story, more for the media frenzy than the murder itself. With over a dozen daily newspapers in New York at the time, some with two editions a day (plus special editions) it proves the 24 hour news cycle is nothing new, it's just now we have it on TV instead of the press.My review is based on an advance uncorrected proof.
phoenixcomet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The ultimate yellow journalism battle between established newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World and newcomer William Randolph Hearst and the New York Journal. When body parts are fished out of the East River by kids in 1897, the rush is on to determine who the dead body is and who murdered him. The dead body turns out to be one Willie Guldensuppe, murdered by his lover and her love, Mrs. Nack and Martin Thorn.
melaniehope on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and WOW, it was a fantastic read into what was once dubbed "the murder of the century." A grisly find of a dismembered body on the morning of 1897 in NYC begins one of the most sensational and puzzling crimes of the times. What follows is the detailed description and events surrounding the mysterious death of William Guldensuppe. The victims lover, and then boyfriend become suspects is this sensational love triangle and every moment seems to be captured by the top newspapers of the day.It was so neat to catch a glimpse of what life was like in NYC in 1897. This was a time before fingerprinting and forensics and careful documentation by police investigators. I was shaking my head at the way the crime scenes and investigation were conducted. So interesting! Plus, a HUGE part of this book is the rivalry between two newspapers, the Journal owned by Hearst and the World, by Pulitzer. It was amazing to read that so much of the initial investigation was conducted by these newspapers for the sole purpose of outdoing one another. The author perfectly captures how the papers relished their role in the unfolding drama. The author gives us an account of the growth of lurid news and the public¿s fascination for it.I was so addicted to this book. I loved it!! The author really did his research for the book but it does not come off dry and too fact ridden. This is a non-fiction book that is both fascinating and so well written it was a joy to read. If you are ready for a real life tale that includes murder, dismemberment, adultery, contract killing, false identity, grave robbing, gambling, illicit abortion and medical malpractice, this is the book that has it all, you will not be disappointed.It's compelling history that's also great page-turning entertainment. Five stars and a definite must read!!
sogamonk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disappointing read. this was mostly about the newspaper wars (turn of the century) between the Journal and the World.Perhaps i was expecting more than quotes from the newspapers, which is how most of the book is written.Good effort for research.
SwitchKnitter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a fun read. The murder mystery was gripping, and I had a hard time putting it down. The ways the yellow journalists interfered with the police investigation were appalling, yet some of it was downright hilarious. I really enjoyed this book. Definitely recommended.
arielfl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was expecting to love this book a little more that I did. I love true crime and this period of history in New York City as recanted in the excellent Poisoner's handbook but it was a tad dry and repetitive in places. The murder consists of a run of the mill love triangle consisting of Augusta Nack,a thoroughly distasteful woman and her two lovers, Martin Thorn and murder victim William Guldensuppe. The murder tale is set against the backdrop of the rivalry between the two great newspapers of the day, William Randolph Hearst's The World and Joseph Pulitzer's The Journal. In an effort to get the scoop they end up creating the news. One cannot help but think of the Casey Anthony trial and the circus surrounding it while reading this book. People should know that if they commit a murder and it catches the public's fancy, then they will be investigated not only by law enforcement but by the media as well and to no end. I don't know if the murder that was examined here can really be called "the murder of the century" but none the less it was an interesting look at how media and murder can intersect.