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Cry Rape
The True Story of One Woman's Harrowing Quest for Justice
Bill Lueders
University of Wisconsin Press, 2007
Cry Rape dramatically exposes the criminal justice system’s capacity for error as it recounts one woman’s courageous battle in the face of adversity. In September 1997, a visually impaired woman named Patty was raped by an intruder in her home in Madison, Wisconsin. The rookie detective assigned to her case came to doubt Patty’s account and focused the investigation on her. Under pressure, he got her to recant, then had her charged with falsely reporting a crime. The charges were eventually dropped, but Patty continued to demand justice, filing complaints and a federal lawsuit against the police. All were rebuffed. But later, as the result of her perseverance, a startling discovery was made. Even then, Patty’s ordeal was far from over.
     Other books have dealt with how police and prosecutors bend and break the law in their zeal to prevail. This one focuses instead on how the gravest injustice can be committed with the best of intentions, and how one woman’s bravery and persistence finally triumphed.
Courage Award Winner, Wisconsin Coalition against Sexual Assault

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Finding Amy
A True Story of Murder in Maine
Joseph K. Loughlin and Kate Clark Flora
University Press of New England, 2011
Combining the drama of a true crime story with the detail of a police procedural, Finding Amy chronicles the investigation into one of the most shocking murders in recent Maine history. Twenty-five-year-old Amy St. Laurent was attractive, intelligent, and responsible. One October evening, she went out to show a friend from Florida the exciting nightlife of Portland’s Old Port section. She played pool. She danced. And then she disappeared. The police investigation into her murder riveted the state of Maine for months. This inside account of the investigation alternates between Kate Clark Flora’s objective tale of dedicated police work and the dramatic recollections of then-Lieutenant Joseph K. Loughlin, who oversaw the case. From the first call to a Portland detective about a missing woman to the police’s growing certainty that she had been murdered, from the heroic efforts to locate the body to the flight from Maine of their chief suspect, and from the painstaking work of collecting evidence and building a case to the struggles over jurisdictional questions to the twists and turns of the eventual trial, Finding Amy is a dramatic story of brutal murder and exemplary police work.

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Forsaking All Others
A True Story of Interracial Sex and Revenge in the 1880s South
Charles F. Robinson
University of Tennessee Press, 2010

An intensely dramatic true story, Forsaking All Others recounts the fascinating case of an interracial couple who attempted, in defiance of
society’s laws and conventions, to formalize their relationship in the post-Reconstruction South. It was an affair with tragic consequences, one that entangled the protagonists in a miscegenation trial and, ultimately, a desperate act of revenge.

From the mid-1870s to the early 1880s, Isaac Bankston was the proud sheriff of Desha County, Arkansas, a man so prominent and popular that he won five consecutive terms in office. Although he was married with two children, around 1881 he entered into a relationship with Missouri Bradford, an African American woman who bore his child. Some two years later, Missouri and Isaac absconded
to Memphis, hoping to begin a new life there together. Although Tennessee lawmakers had made miscegenation a felony, Isaac’s dark complexion enabled the couple to apply successfully for a marriage license and take their vows. Word of the marriage quickly spread, however, and Missouri and Isaac were charged with unlawful cohabitation. An attorney from Desha County, James Coates, came to Memphis to act as special prosecutor in the case. Events then took a surprising turn as Isaac chose to deny his white heritage in order to escape conviction. Despite this victory in court, however, Isaac had been publicly disgraced, and his sense of honor propelled him into a violent confrontation with Coates, the man he considered most responsible for his downfall. Charles F. Robinson uses Missouri and Isaac’s story to examine key aspects of post-Reconstruction society, from the rise of miscegenation laws and the particular burdens they placed on anyone who chose to circumvent them, to the southern codes of honor that governed both social and individual behavior, especially among white men. But most of all, the book offers a compelling personal narrative with important implications for our supposedly more
tolerant times.


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Gay Bar
The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s
Will Fellows
University of Wisconsin Press, 2010

Vivacious, unconventional, candid, and straight, Helen Branson operated a gay bar in Los Angeles in the 1950s—America’s most anti-gay decade. After years of fending off drunken passes as an entertainer in cocktail bars, this divorced grandmother preferred the wit, variety, and fun she found among homosexual men. Enjoying their companionship and deploring their plight, she gave her gay friends a place to socialize. Though at the time California statutes prohibited homosexuals from gathering in bars, Helen’s place was relaxed, suave, and remarkably safe from police raids and other anti-homosexual hazards. In 1957 she published her extraordinary memoir Gay Bar, the first book by a heterosexual to depict the lives of homosexuals with admiration, respect, and love.
    In this new edition of Gay Bar, Will Fellows interweaves Branson’s chapters with historical perspective provided through his own insightful commentary and excerpts gleaned from letters and essays appearing in gay publications of the period. Also included is the original introduction to the book by maverick 1950s psychiatrist Blanche Baker. The eclectic selection of voices gives the flavor of American life in that extraordinary age of anxiety, revealing how gay men saw themselves and their circumstances, and how others perceived them.

Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association

Best Books for High Schools, selected by the American Association of School Libraries


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God Knows His Name
The True Story of John Doe No. 24
David Bakke. Foreword by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000

Police found John Doe No. 24 in the early morning hours of October 11, 1945, in Jacksonville, Illinois. Unable to communicate, the deaf and mute teenager was labeled “feeble minded” and sentenced by a judge to the nightmarish jumble of the Lincoln State School and Colony in Jacksonville. He remained in the Illinois mental health care system for over thirty years and died at the Sharon Oaks Nursing Home in Peoria on November 28, 1993.

Deaf, mute, and later blind, the young black man survived institutionalized hell: beatings, hunger, overcrowding, and the dehumanizing treatment that characterized state institutions through the 1950s. In spite of his environment, he made friends, took on responsibilities, and developed a sense of humor. People who knew him found him remarkable.

Award-winning journalist Dave Bakke reconstructs the life of John Doe No. 24 through research into a half-century of the state mental health system, personal interviews with people who knew him at various points during his life, and sixteen black-and-white illustrations. After reading a story about John Doe in the New York Times, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote and recorded “John Doe No. 24” and purchased a headstone for his unmarked grave. She contributes a foreword to this book.

As death approached for the man known only as John Doe No. 24, his one-time nurse Donna Romine reflected sadly on his mystery. “Ah, well,” she said, “God knows his name.”


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The Hardest Journey Home
A True Story of Loss and Duty during the Iraq War
Donleigh O. Gaunky
Westholme Publishing, 2017
Pulled Out of a Combat Deployment, the Author Escorted His Younger Brother's Body Home from War 

“Sergeant Donleigh Gaunky’s moving memoir speaks to everyone who has lost a loved one in defense of our great nation. It serves as a reminder that freedom is not free, and it is our responsibility to continue to care for our service members, veterans, and their families. I am touched that Fisher House provided a refuge for Sergeant Gaunky during such a difficult journey.”—Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO, Fisher House Foundation
“Fewer and fewer Americans have any close association with anyone serving in the Armed Forces. Donleigh Gaunky offers a heart-rending glimpse into his family as he, and they, grapple with the loss of Donleigh’s brother on a battlefield in Iraq. Every American should read this and, in so doing, learn what “Thank You for Your Service” really means.”
Gen. Carter F. Ham, USA, Ret., President and CEO, Association of the United States Army

In November 2005, while analyzing live action reports at his base in Baghdad, Iraq, Donleigh O. Gaunky froze. His younger brother Alex’s unit had been hit by the enemy. Almost immediately, arrangements were made for Donleigh to meet his wounded brother in Germany, but Alex succumbed to his injuries before he arrived. Instead, Donleigh was asked to assume the role of remains escort. Most of the time a remains escort is picked at random from the appropriate branch of service or is someone with a relationship to the deceased, most often from the soldier’s own unit. Rarely—if ever in modern times—is the escort a family member. In The Hardest Journey Home: A True Story of Loss and Duty During the Iraq War, Donleigh O. Gaunky describes the events that unfolded over the course of a few days, from the front line in Iraq to the Landstuhl military hospital in Germany to their small town in Wisconsin, where he arrived with his brother’s body on Thanksgiving Day. In an effort to keep his mind off the tragedy and remain focused on his task, the author describes the proto­col for escorting a body home—paperwork, appropriate attire, the proper use of the flag, when and where to salute—as well as how his divorced parents coped with the loss of one of their four sons serving in the military. Relying on commercial flights to bring Alex home, there was no military reception when they first landed in the United States and the author learned how little his brother’s sacrifice meant on a national level. But he was uplifted by his town’s response to his family’s loss when they unexpectedly lined the streets to pay their respects to one of their own. An important and moving story, The Hardest Journey Home reveals the human cost of a long, seemingly invisible war. 

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The True Story of the Best Basketball Team You've Never Heard Of
Larry Needle
Temple University Press, 2012

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In the Governor's Shadow
The True Story of Ma and Pa Ferguson
Carol O'Keefe Wilson
University of North Texas Press, 2014

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Innocent Until Interrogated
The True Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre and the Tucson Four
By Gary L. Stuart
University of Arizona Press, 2010
On a sweltering August morning, a woman walked into a Buddhist temple near Phoenix and discovered the most horrific crime in Arizona history. Nine Buddhist temple members—six of them monks committed to lives of non-violence—lay dead in a pool of blood, shot execution style. The massive manhunt that followed turned up no leads until a tip from a psychiatric patient led to the arrest of five suspects. Each initially denied their involvement in the crime, yet one by one, under intense interrogation, they confessed.

Soon after, all five men recanted, saying their confessions had been coerced. One was freed after providing an alibi, but the remaining suspects—dubbed “The Tucson Four” by the media—remained in custody even though no physical evidence linked them to the crime.

Seven weeks later, investigators discovered—almost by chance—physical evidence that implicated two entirely new suspects. The Tucson Four were finally freed on November 22 after two teenage boys confessed to the crime, yet troubling questions remained. Why were confessions forced out of innocent suspects? Why and how did legal authorities build a case without evidence? And, ultimately, how did so much go so wrong?

In this first book-length treatment of the Buddhist Temple Massacre, Gary L. Stuart explores the unspeakable crime, the inexplicable confessions, and the troubling behavior of police officials. Stuart’s impeccable research for the book included a review of the complete legal records of the case, an examination of all the physical evidence, a survey of three years of print and broadcast news, and more than fifty personal interviews related to the case. Like In Cold Blood, and The Executioner’s Song, Innocent Until Interrogated is a riveting read that provides not only a striking account of the crime and the investigation but also a disturbing look at the American justice system at its very worst.

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Looking for Strangers
The True Story of My Hidden Wartime Childhood
Dori Katz
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Dori Katz is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who thought that her lost memories of her childhood years in Belgium were irrecoverable. But after a chance viewing of a documentary about hidden children in German-occupied Belgium, she realized that she might, in fact, be able to unearth those years. Looking for Strangers is the deeply honest record of her attempt to do so, a detective story that unfolds through one of the most horrifying periods in history in an attempt to understand one’s place within it.

In alternating chapters, Katz journeys into multiple pasts, setting details from her mother’s stories that have captivated her throughout her life alongside an account of her own return to Belgium forty years later—against her mother’s urgings—in search of greater clarity. She reconnects her sharp but fragmented memories: being sent by her mother in 1943, at the age of three, to live with a Catholic family under a Christian identity; then being given up, inexplicably, to an orphanage in the years immediately following the war. Only after that, amid postwar confusion, was she able to reconnect with her mother. Following this trail through Belgium to her past places of hiding, Katz eventually finds herself in San Francisco, speaking with a man who claimed to have known her father in Auschwitz—and thus known his end. Weighing many other stories from the people she meets along her way—all of whom seem to hold something back—she attempts to stitch thread after thread into a unified truth, to understand the countless motivations and circumstances that determined her remarkable life.

A story at once about self-discovery, the transformation of memory, a fraught mother-daughter relationship, and the oppression of millions, Looking for Strangers is a book of both historical insight and imaginative grasp. It is a book in which the past, through its very mystery, becomes alive, immediate—of the most urgent importance.

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My Father's War
A True Story of Nazism and Treason
by Bjørn Westlie, translated by Dean Krouk
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
My Father’s War is simultaneously a history of the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II and a son’s sincere attempt to understand the silences, motivations, and experiences of an estranged father. In this carefully researched book, combining family memoir and historical retelling, Bjørn Westlie uncovers his father’s actions as a volunteer soldier for the Waffen-SS, the military wing of the infamous Schutzstaffel (SS), in the invasion of the Soviet Union. Balancing his role as both son and critical investigator, Westlie unflinchingly interrogates his father’s fascist convictions, which speak to the appeal Hitler’s ideology held for a small, disgraced segment of Norway’s mid-century population. A story of collaboration, tragedy, and treason, My Father’s War reveals the little-known history of Norway's frontkjempere (front fighters), the atrocities the Waffen-SS committed against Ukrainian Jews, and the complex legacies of ethnonationalism in Norway. 

With an insightful introduction from translator Dean Krouk, My Father’s War is a contemporary classic of war literature. Committed to genuine understanding without falling into undue sympathizing, this sober and reflective book presents an eye-opening, moving, intense, and necessary account of the allure of fascism in a world at war—and its personal costs.

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Naming Infinity
A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity
Loren Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor
Harvard University Press, 2009

In 1913, Russian imperial marines stormed an Orthodox monastery at Mt. Athos, Greece, to haul off monks engaged in a dangerously heretical practice known as Name Worshipping. Exiled to remote Russian outposts, the monks and their mystical movement went underground. Ultimately, they came across Russian intellectuals who embraced Name Worshipping—and who would achieve one of the biggest mathematical breakthroughs of the twentieth century, going beyond recent French achievements.

Loren Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor take us on an exciting mathematical mystery tour as they unravel a bizarre tale of political struggles, psychological crises, sexual complexities, and ethical dilemmas. At the core of this book is the contest between French and Russian mathematicians who sought new answers to one of the oldest puzzles in math: the nature of infinity. The French school chased rationalist solutions. The Russian mathematicians, notably Dmitri Egorov and Nikolai Luzin—who founded the famous Moscow School of Mathematics—were inspired by mystical insights attained during Name Worshipping. Their religious practice appears to have opened to them visions into the infinite—and led to the founding of descriptive set theory.

The men and women of the leading French and Russian mathematical schools are central characters in this absorbing tale that could not be told until now. Naming Infinity is a poignant human interest story that raises provocative questions about science and religion, intuition and ­creativity.


front cover of A Night in the Emperor's Garden
A Night in the Emperor's Garden
A True Story of Hope and Resilience in Afghanistan
Qais Akbar Omar and Stephen Landrigan
Haus Publishing, 2015
In 2005, everything seemed possible in Afghanistan. The Taliban was gone. A new government had been elected. A cultural renaissance was energizing the country.

An actress visiting from Paris casually proposed to some Afghan actors in Kabul: Why not put on a play? The challenges were huge. It had been thirty years since men and women had appeared on stage together in Afghanistan. Was the country ready for it? Few Afghan actors had ever done theater. Did they even know how? They had performed only in films and television dramas.

Still, a company of actors gathered—among them a housewife, a policewoman, and a street kid turned film star. With no certainty of its outcome, they set out on a journey that would have life-changing consequences for all of them, and along the way lead to A Night in the Emperor’s Garden.

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Old Abe the War Eagle
A True Story of the Civil War And Reconstruction
Richard Zeitlin
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1986

The story of Old Abe, the bald eagle that became the mascot of the Eighth Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. It is also the story of the men among whom Old Abe lived: the farmers, loggers, clerks, and immigrants who flocked to the colors in 1861.

Reissued in 2012 with a new cover.


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One Hour in Paris
A True Story of Rape and Recovery
Karyn L. Freedman
University of Chicago Press, 2014
In this powerful memoir, philosopher Karyn L. Freedman travels back to a Paris night in 1990 when she was twenty-two and, in one violent hour, her life was changed forever by a brutal rape. One Hour in Paris takes the reader on a harrowing yet inspirational journey through suffering and recovery both personal and global. We follow Freedman from an apartment in Paris to a French courtroom, then from a trauma center in Toronto to a rape clinic in Africa. At a time when as many as one in three women in the world have been victims of sexual assault and when many women are still ashamed to come forward, Freedman’s book is a moving and essential look at how survivors cope and persevere.

At once deeply intimate and terrifyingly universal, One Hour in Paris weaves together Freedman’s personal experience with the latest philosophical, neuroscientific, and psychological insights on what it means to live in a body that has been traumatized. Using her background as a philosopher, she looks at the history of psychological trauma and draws on recent theories of posttraumatic stress disorder and neuroplasticity to show how recovery from horrific experiences is possible. Through frank discussions of sex and intimacy, she explores the consequences of sexual violence for love and relationships, and she illustrates the steep personal cost of sexual violence and the obstacles faced by individual survivors in its aftermath. Freedman’s book is an urgent call to face this fundamental social problem head-on, arguing that we cannot continue to ignore the fact that sexual violence against women is rooted in gender inequalities that exist worldwide—and must be addressed.

One Hour in Paris is essential reading for survivors of sexual violence as well as an invaluable resource for therapists, mental health professionals, and family members and friends of victims.

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Paralyzing Summer
The True Story of the Ann Arbor V.A. Hospital Poisonings and Deaths
Zibby Oneal and S. Martin Lindenauer
University of Michigan Press, 2016
In the summer of 1975, an alarming number of patients at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital began experiencing mysterious respiratory failures that left ten dead and over thirty more clinging to life. Doctors struggled to determine the cause of the attacks, and further analysis revealed each of the victims’ intravenous drip bags had been contaminated with a powerful muscle relaxant named Pavulon—a drug traditionally used in hospitals when inserting patient breathing tubes in preparation for surgery. The discovery of Pavulon was particularly disturbing because hospital safeguards made it unlikely the chemical had been introduced to patients’ drip bags by mistake. This suggested deliberate poisoning, but with no apparent connection between the victims, the motive behind the crime was unclear. The tangled investigation that followed gripped the nation’s attention, particularly after the FBI narrowed its focus to two improbable suspects: a pair of well-liked nurses from the hospital’s intensive care unit. Both were of Filipino decent, and the national media speculated racism was a major factor in the scrutiny placed on the nurses. Drawing extensively from court documents, news coverage from the time, and interviews with participants, Zibby Oneal and S. Martin Lindenauer’s Paralyzing Summer presents a gripping account of the baffling case, following the incredible twists and turns that unfolded over a two and a half year period starting July 1975.


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The Plea
The True Story of Young Wesley Elkins and His Struggle for Redemption
Patricia L. Bryan
University of Iowa Press, 2022
2023 Midwest Book Awards in Nonfiction - History, Regional, winner

On a moonlit night in 1889, Iowa farmer John Elkins and his young wife, Hattie, were brutally murdered in their bed. Eight days later, their son, eleven-year-old Wesley Elkins, was arrested and charged with murder. The community reeled with shock by both the gruesome details of the homicides and the knowledge of the accused perpetrator—a small, quiet boy weighing just 75 pounds.

Accessible and fast-moving, The Plea delivers a complete, complex, and nuanced narrative of this horrific crime, while shedding light on the legal, social, and political environment of Iowa and the country in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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Religion of Fear
The True Story of the Church of God of the Union Assembly
David Cady
University of Tennessee Press, 2020
Religion of Fear reveals the story of how a Pentecostal sect, the Church of God of the Union Assembly, a small splinter group of the holiness Church of God movement, evolved into one of the largest and wealthiest cults in America. At its height in 1995, the Union Assembly included fifty-four churches spread across nineteen states. Spanning nearly a hundred years and three generations of family leadership and relying on hundreds of interviews with members and former members, David Cady’s groundbreaking investigation begins, in 1917, with the Church’s illiterate but magnetic founder, Charlie (C. T.) Pratt, summoning a congregation of resilient followers with little more than a flair for spectacle. As power dynamics stir within the maturing Church, Cady turns to C. T.’s fourth son, Jesse, who conspires to wrest the Union Assembly from his five brothers and dismiss his own parents from the church they had created. Jesse dominated the Church with fear and a demand of total obedience from its nearly 15,000 members until his mysterious death at age fifty-six.

As Cady reveals, this event triggered a succession crisis in the Pratt-family ranks as Jesse’s wife fostered her son Jesse Junior’s rise to power and spurned other heirs presumptive to the Church. Jesse Junior turned out to be a tormented leader who drove his followers to the brink of poverty with an uncompromising demand that they give their all to God—and to him. The church’s fortune squandered and its future under threat, Jesse Junior’s mother was finally forced to have her favored son removed and defrocked. For all its troubling twists and turns, Cady’s chronicle ends with a minor miracle, as Jesse’s younger brother, Charlie T. Pratt III, takes over leadership and manages to expel the oppressive air of authoritarianism from the body of the Church and hold the community together in the process.

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Stamford '76
A True Story of Murder, Corruption, Race, and Feminism in the 1970s
JoeAnn Hart
University of Iowa Press, 2019
In July 1976, a twenty-four-year-old white woman, Margo Olson, was found in a shallow grave in Stamford, Connecticut, with an arrow piercing through her heart. A few weeks later, Howie Carter, her black boyfriend, was killed by the police. Howie and Margo’s interracial relationship held a distorted mirror to the author’s own, with Howie’s best friend, Joe. Joe’s theory was that the police didn’t have any evidence to arrest Howie; operating on the assumption that the black man is always guilty, they killed him instead. Margo’s murder was never solved.

Looking back at what might have happened in 1976, the author discovers a Bicentennial year steeped in recession, racism, and unrelenting violence. It was also a time of flourishing second-wave feminism, when young women were encouraged to do anything, if only they knew how. Stamford was in the midst of urban renewal, destroying historically black neighborhoods to create space for corporations escaping a bankrupt and dangerous New York City, just forty miles away. Organized crime followed the money, infiltrating Stamford at all levels. The author reveals how racism, misogyny, the economy, and corruption affected the young people’s daily lives, and helped lead Margo and Howie to their deaths.

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Stubborn Gal
The True Story of an Undefeated Sled Dog Racer
Dan O'Neill
University of Alaska Press, 2015
Stubborn Gal is the true story of a 60-mile sled dog race and a young woman determined—if not precisely qualified—to run it. Sarah has never competed in a race before and never run a big team of dogs. But when a race official strongly discourages her from entering, she boldly signs up. To answer the naysayers, she must learn how to control a dog team twice as powerful as any she has ever run. And she has three days to do it. Two practice runs end disastrously. On the third day, Sarah enters the race, and the results surprise everyone.

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True Story
How a Pulp Empire Remade Mass Media
Shanon Fitzpatrick
Harvard University Press, 2022

The larger-than-life story of Bernarr Macfadden, a bodybuilder who turned his obsession with muscles, celebrity, and confession into a publishing empire that transformed global media.

In True Story, Shanon Fitzpatrick tells the unlikely story of an orphan from the Ozarks who became one of history’s most powerful media moguls. Born in 1868 in Mill Spring, Missouri, Bernarr Macfadden turned to bodybuilding to transform himself from a sickly “boy” into a creature of masculine perfection. He then channeled his passion into the magazine Physical Culture, capitalizing on the wider turn-of-the-century mania for fitness. Macfadden Publications soon become a pioneer in mass media, helping to inaugurate our sensational, confessional, and body-obsessed global marketplace.

With publications like True Story, a magazine purportedly written and edited by its own readers, as well as scores of romance, crime, and fan magazines, Macfadden specialized in titles that targeted women, immigrants, and the working class. Although derided as pulp by critics of the time, Macfadden’s publications were not merely profitable. They were also influential. They championed reader engagement and interactivity long before these were buzzwords in the media industry, breaking down barriers between producers and consumers of culture. At the same time, Macfadden Publications inspired key elements of modern media strategy by privileging rapid production of new content and equally rapid disintegration and reconfiguration of properties in the face of shifting market conditions.

No less than the kings of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, Macfadden was a crucial player in shaping American consumer culture and selling it to the world at large. Though the Macfadden media empire is overlooked today, its legacies are everywhere, from true-crime journalism to celebrity gossip rags and fifteen-minute abs.


front cover of The True Story of Alice B. Toklas
The True Story of Alice B. Toklas
A Study of Three Autobiographies
Anna Linzie
University of Iowa Press, 2006
In this original and intriguing study, Anna Linzie examines three mid-twentieth-century texts never before treated as interrelated in a book-length work of literary criticism: Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) and Alice B. Toklas's The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book (1954) and What Is Remembered (1963). Taking these three texts as intertexts or as an assemblage of the true story of Alice B. Toklas, Linzie challenges assumptions about primary authorship and singular identity that have continued to limit lesbian and feminist rereadings of autobiography as a genre and of Stein and Toklas as writers and historical figures.The True Story of Alice B. Toklas explores how the concept of autobiography as a primarily referential genre is challenged and transformed in relation to autobiographical texts written about the same person, the same life, but differently, by different writers, at different points in time. The concept of one true story is deconstructed in the process as Linzie modifies Homi K. Bhabha's “almost the same but not quite/not white” for the purposes of this particular study as “almost the same but not quite/not straight.” The investigation moves simultaneously on the planes of textuality and sexuality in order to provisionally articulate a “lesbian autobiographical subject” in Linzie's reading of these three texts.Linzie's study fills a gap in literary criticism where Stein's companion and her work have been more or less neglected, conceptualizing the Stein-Toklas sexual/textual relationship as fundamentally reciprocal. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas provides a new critical perspective on Toklas as indispensable to Stein's literary production, a cultural laborer in her own right, and a writer of her own books. Making a significant contribution to recent lesbian/feminist reconceptualizations of the genre of autobiography, this study will fascinate Stein and Toklas scholars as well as those interested in queer and autobiography studies.

front cover of The True Story of the Novel
The True Story of the Novel
Margaret Anne Doody
Rutgers University Press, 1996

Twentieth-century historians and critics defending the novel have emphasized its role as superseding something else, as a sort of legitimate usurper that deposed the Epic, a replacement of myth, or religious narrative. To say that the Age of Early Christianity was really also the Age of the Novel rumples such historical tidiness––but so it was. From the outset of her discussion, Doody rejects the conventional Anglo-Saxon distinction between Romance and Novel. This eighteenth-century distinction, she maintains, served both to keep the foreign––dark-skinned peoples, strange speakers, Muslims, and others––largely out of literature, and to obscure the diverse nature of the novel itself.

This deeply informed and truly comparative work is staggering in its breadth. Doody treats not only recognized classics, but also works of usually unacknowledged subgenres––new readings of novels like The Pickwick Papers, Puddn’head Wilson, L’Assommoir, Death in Venice, and Beloved  are accompanied by insights into Death on the Nile or The Wind in the Willows. Non-Western writers like Chinua Achebe and Witi Ihimaera are also included. In her last section, Doody goes on to show that Chinese and Japanese novels, early and late, bear a strong and not incidental affinity to their Western counterparts. Collectively, these readings offer the basis for a serious reassessment of the history and the nature of the novel.

The True Story of the Novel marks the beginning of the twenty-first century’s understanding of fiction and of culture. It is essential reading for anyone with an interest in literature.


front cover of The United States Governed by Six Hundred Thousand Despots
The United States Governed by Six Hundred Thousand Despots
A True Story of Slavery; A Rediscovered Narrative, with a Full Biography
John Swanson Jacobs
University of Chicago Press, 2024
Lost on the other side of the world since 1855, the story of John Swanson Jacobs finally returns to America.
For one hundred and sixty-nine years, a first-person slave narrative written by John Swanson Jacobs—brother of Harriet Jacobs—was buried in a pile of newspapers in Australia. Jacobs’s long-lost narrative, The United States Governed by Six Hundred Thousand Despots, is a startling and revolutionary discovery. A document like this—written by an ex-slave and ex-American, in language charged with all that can be said about America outside America, untampered with and unedited by white abolitionists—has never been seen before. A radical abolitionist, sailor, and miner, John Jacobs has a life story that is as global as it is American. Born into slavery, by 1855, he had fled both the South and the United States altogether, becoming a stateless citizen of the world and its waters. That year, he published his life story in an Australian newspaper, far from American power and its threats. Unsentimental and unapologetic, Jacobs radically denounced slavery and the state, calling out politicians and slaveowners by their names, critiquing America’s founding documents, and indicting all citizens who maintained the racist and intolerable status quo.
Reproduced in full, this narrative—which entwines with that of his sister and with the life of their friend Frederick Douglass—here opens new horizons for how we understand slavery, race, and migration, and all that they entailed in nineteenth-century America and the world at large. The second half of the book contains a full-length, nine-generation biography of Jacobs and his family by literary historian Jonathan Schroeder. This new guide to the world of John Jacobs will transform our sense of it—and of the forces and prejudices built into the American project. To truly reckon with the lives of John Jacobs is to see with new clarity that in 1776, America embarked on two experiments at once: one in democracy, the other in tyranny.

front cover of Victims
A True Story Of The Civil War
Phillip Shaw Paludan
University of Tennessee Press, 2004
"Phillip Paludan has combined the findings of the social sciences with an exercise in la petite histoire to create an intriguing study. From his base point, the massacre of thirteen Unionist mountaineers at Shelton Laurel, North Carolina, the author expands the investigation to embrace larger issues, such as the impact of the Civil War on small communities, the causation and characteristics of guerrilla warfare, and the focus underlying human perversity." —Civil War History
". . . the definitive history of the Shelton Laurel Massacre, but more important it is a pathbreaking study of a principal theater of the guerrilla aspect of the Civil War. Paludan has succeeded admirably in rooting a historically neglected topic in the lives of ordinary people."—Frank L. Byrne, American Historical Review
"The questions Paludan asks about Shelton Laurel in 1863 are appropriate to My Lai in 1968 and Auschwitz in 1944. Victims is not only a good book; it is also an important book. And it is a profoundly disturbing book."—Emory M. Thomas, Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Outwardly a superb analysis of the impact of war and war-time atrocity on the life of a remote mountain community, this slim volume harbors far-reaching implications for the study of class conflict and the modernization process in the Appalachian region."—Ron Eller, Appalachian Journal

front cover of Whiskey River (Take My Mind)
Whiskey River (Take My Mind)
The True Story of Texas Honky-Tonk
By Johnny Bush with Rick Mitchell
University of Texas Press, 2007

When it comes to Texas honky-tonk, nobody knows the music or the scene better than Johnny Bush. Author of Willie Nelson's classic concert anthem "Whiskey River," and singer of hits such as "You Gave Me a Mountain," "Undo the Right," "Jim, Jack and Rose," and "I'll Be There," Johnny Bush is a legend in country music, a singer-songwriter who has lived the cheatin', hurtin', hard-drinkin' life and recorded some of the most heart-wrenching songs about it. He has one of the purest honky-tonk voices ever to come out of Texas. And Bush's career has been just as dramatic as his songs—on the verge of achieving superstardom in the early 1970s, he was sidelined by a rare vocal disorder that he combated for thirty years. But, survivor that he is, Bush is once again filling dance halls across Texas and inspiring a new generation of musicians who crave the authenticity—the "pure D" country—that Johnny Bush has always had and that Nashville country music has lost.

In Whiskey River (Take My Mind), Johnny Bush tells the twin stories of his life and of Texas honky-tonk music. He recalls growing up poor in Houston's Kashmere Gardens neighborhood and learning his chops in honky-tonks around Houston and San Antonio—places where chicken wire protected the bandstand and deadly fights broke out regularly. Bush vividly describes life on the road in the 1960s as a band member for Ray Price and Willie Nelson, including the booze, drugs, and one-night stands that fueled his songs but destroyed his first three marriages. He remembers the time in the early 1970s when he was hotter than Willie and on the fast track to superstardom—until spasmodic dysphonia forced his career into the slow lane. Bush describes his agonizing, but ultimately successful struggle to keep performing and rebuild his fan base, as well as the hard-won happiness he has found in his personal life.

Woven throughout Bush's autobiography is the never-before-told story of Texas honky-tonk music, from Bob Wills and Floyd Tillman to Junior Brown and Pat Green. Johnny Bush has known almost all the great musicians, past and present, and he has wonderful stories to tell. Likewise, he offers shrewd observations on how the music business has changed since he started performing in the 1950s—and pulls no punches in saying how Nashville music has lost its country soul. For everyone who loves genuine country music, Johnny Bush, Willie Nelson, and stories of triumph against all odds, Whiskey River (Take My Mind) is a must-read.


logo for University of Wisconsin Press
The Wonder Team
The True Story of the Incomparable 1927 New York Yankees
Leo Trachtenberg
University of Wisconsin Press, 1995
The Wonder Team describes in detail the year 1927, when the New York Yankees became the Wonder Team—probably baseball’s best team ever. That club included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Waite Hoyt, Tony Lazzeri, Earle Combs, Herb Pennock, Bob Meusel, and Wilcy Moore. Also part of the narrative are recollections by owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert, manager Miller Huggins, business manager Ed Barrow, and scout Paul Krichell. No participant of that great team is omitted.
    In detailing the events leading to the 1927 World Series, Leo Trachtenberg weaves players’ profiles and histories along with those of the Yankee owner, management, coaches, scouts, trainer, and batboy/mascot. Also included are 1927 statistics and photos from Yankee archives.

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