Honor Killing: Race, Rape, and Clarence Darrow's Spectacular Last Case

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9780143036630: Honor Killing: Race, Rape, and Clarence Darrow's Spectacular Last Case
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In the fall of 1931, Thalia Massie, the bored, aristocratic wife of a young naval officer stationed in Honolulu, accused six nonwhite islanders of gang rape. The ensuing trial let loose a storm of racial and sexual hysteria, but the case against the suspects was scant and the trial ended in a hung jury. Outraged, Thalia’s socialite mother arranged the kidnapping and murder of one of the suspects. In the spectacularly publicized trial that followed, Clarence Darrow came to Hawai’i to defend Thalia’s mother, a sorry epitaph to a noble career.

It is one of the most sensational criminal cases in American history, Stannard has rendered more than a lurid tale. One hundred and fifty years of oppression came to a head in those sweltering courtrooms. In the face of overwhelming intimidation from a cabal of corrupt military leaders and businessmen, various people involved with the case—the judge, the defense team, the jurors, a newspaper editor, and the accused themselves—refused to be cowed. Their moral courage united the disparate elements of the non-white community and galvanized Hawai’i’s rapid transformation from an oppressive white-run oligarchy to the harmonic, multicultural American state it became.  

Honor Killing is a great true crime story worthy of Dominick Dunne—both a sensational read and an important work of social history

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About the Author:

David E. Stannard received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a professor of American studies at the University of Hawai’i. A Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and American Council of Learned Societies fellow and a widely recognized authority on Hawai’ian history and culture, he has written five previous books, including American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World.

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The Hawai`i of 1931, for most Americans, was a balmy haven of green mountains and white sand beaches, the floral "Paradise of the Pacific" to which movie stars and millionaires traveled for romance and recreation. Less famously, it was a forcibly annexed U.S. territory, controlled by the military and a white supremacist oligarchy. The overwhelming majority of residents were native Hawaiians and Asians who toiled on plantations for near-slave wages or filled Honolulu's crowded and restless urban slums.

It was against this background that Thalia Massie, the wan, aristocratic wife of a naval officer stationed at Pearl Harbor, accused five nonwhite young men of gang rape. The ensuing trial brought out the best and the worst in Hawai`i's citizenry, but the case against the suspects was weak and the trial ended in a hung jury. Outraged, Thalia's husband and socialite mother arranged the kidnapping and murder of one of the suspects, Joseph Kahahawai. The national press described it as a justifiable lynching and an "honor killing," while the American public rose up almost as one-to support the killers. In the spectacularly publicized trial that followed, the country's greatest criminal lawyer, Clarence Darrow-for his largest fee ever-sailed to the islands to defend the lynchers, a sad epitaph to a noble career.

The Massie trial was Darrow's last case. Its daily progress commanded the front pages of the nation's press, and it remains today one of America's most sensational courtroom dramas. But David Stannard's masterly account reaches beyond the headlines. With access to scores of personal letters, medical records, trial documents, and hundreds of unpublished interviews, Stannard reveals the surprising private lives and disquieting motivations of all the main players. Re-creating the dramatic courtroom clashes and their political aftermath, he shows how, even in the face of a powerful cabal of corrupt military leaders and corporate magnates, a small group of courageous people-attorneys, jurors, a judge, a single newspaper editor, and the falsely accused rapists themselves-refused to be cowed.

Their moral courage in the face of injustice united the disparate elements of the islands' Hawaiian and Asian communities and laid the foundation for what may be the most stunning political turnaround in American history: the overthrow of the longstanding white oligarchy. Riveting, richly detailed, and written with authority and grace, Honor Killing is both a gripping true crime story and a pathbreaking work of social history.

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9780670033997: Honor Killing: How the Infamous

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the fall of 1931, Thalia Massie, the bored, aristocratic wife of a young naval officer stationed in Honolulu, accused six nonwhite islanders of gang rape. The ensuing trial let loose a storm of racial and sexual hysteria, but the case against the suspects was scant and the trial ended in a hung jury. Outraged, Thalia s socialite mother arranged the kidnapping and murder of one of the suspects. In the spectacularly publicized trial that followed, Clarence Darrow came to Hawai i to defend Thalia s mother, a sorry epitaph to a noble career.It is one of the most sensational criminal cases in American history, Stannard has rendered more than a lurid tale. One hundred and fifty years of oppression came to a head in those sweltering courtrooms. In the face of overwhelming intimidation from a cabal of corrupt military leaders and businessmen, various people involved with the case--the judge, the defense team, the jurors, a newspaper editor, and the accused themselves--refused to be cowed. Their moral courage united the disparate elements of the non-white community and galvanized Hawai i s rapid transformation from an oppressive white-run oligarchy to the harmonic, multicultural American state it became. Honor Killing is a great true crime story worthy of Dominick Dunne--both a sensational read and an important work of social history. Seller Inventory # AAS9780143036630

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