Depraved: The Shocking True Story of America's First Serial Killer

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9780671732165: Depraved: The Shocking True Story of America's First Serial Killer

The author of Deviant chronicles the life of H. H. Holmes, who, in the late 1800s, committed twenty-seven murders in his ""Castle,"" fully equipped with torture chambers, surgical tools, acid vats, and a crematorium.

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Review:

Herman Mudgett, who called himself Dr. H. H. Holmes, seemed the epitome of the late 19th century "Golden Age": he was a well-dressed, charismatic, self-made entrepreneur (think Andrew Carnegie). Unfortunately for his many victims, he was also a liar, bigamist, debtor, con man, and murderer. The setting for several of his murders was the bizarre urban "castle" he built in Chicago--a ramshackle construction with mazelike corridors, soundproof rooms, sealed vaults, oversized furnaces, and chutes leading down to the cellar. Holmes's undoing was an insurance scam in which he planned to use a corpse supplied by a doctor to fake his partner's death, but ended up killing the partner, his wife, and his five children. The Boston Book Review wrote, "[Harold] Schechter's account of this charming, repulsive monster is both an astonishing piece of popular history as well as a near clinical analysis of as sinister a killer as this country has ever produced."
Also recommended: Schechter's books about Albert Fish (Deranged) and Ed Gein (Deviant).

About the Author:

Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture. Renowned for his true-crime writing, he is the author of the nonfiction books Fatal, Fiend, Bestial, Deviant, Deranged, Depraved, and, with David Everitt, The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. He is also the author of Nevermore and The Hum Bug, the acclaimed historical novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe. He lives in New York State.

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Schechter, Harold
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