It could equally have been called the Beast of Kingsbury Run, Cleveland. AKA Cleveland’s Torso Killer Quote: “Slays in the same manner as Jack the Ripper.” Loc 57. Page number in this book unavailable.
Daniel Stashower is an acclaimed biographer and narrative historian and winner of the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony awards, as well as the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine.
Excerpt taken from Amazon.
American Demon is written by the highly regarded biographer and historian Daniel Stashower. In this his most recent publication Stashower documents the life, times, and cases of the eponymous Detective Eliot Ness. American Demon focuses on Ness’ most notable cases: The Cleveland Torso Killer, Al Capone and one that got away; the aptly labeled, American Demon.
Daniel used a diverse range of research resources that included: Eliot Ness’ original Manuscripts and the Library of Congress Manuscript Division; as well as books, magazines and journals. Written in a biographical style, Stashower catalogues Ness’ meteoric rise from his humble beginnings as the youngest son of an immigrant family, through his education in law enforcement and to his involvement with some of America’s most ignominious and memorable cases.
American Demon by Daniel Stashower, is an interesting historical account of the trials, successes, and tribulations of Eliot Ness’ many high profile criminal investigations.
Stashower’s narrative is easy to read, informative, expertly researched and concise. It was not the monograph I was expecting, but a compendium of Ness’ cases across his career. It was remarkably interesting learning about his various cases; some of which I was unacquainted with.
There is much to discover in this notable work. If you find the accounts discussed in this tome worthy of further research, Stashower provides an extensive bibliography for your reference.
Paul Fischer is the esteemed author and screenwriter of this most magnificent literary masterpiece: The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures. Fischer’s first non-fiction book, AKim Jong Il Production was transliterated into almost twenty languages and voted Best Book of 2015
by the National Public Radio (NPR). His work has appeared in such august publications as The Guardian Newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. He also wrote a screenplay adaption called The Body which premiered on Hulu during 2018.
Louis Le Prince could have been as famous as Thomas Edison but for a mystery that has occluded his achievements from history.
At mid-day on Tuesday, September 16, 1890, Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince was saying au revoir to his older brother and his niece at the train station in Dijon. Little did they know they would never meet again. Louis was on the very cusp of consolidating his decades long passion of creating realistic moving pictures and was about to disappear along with his belongings. He left a grieving widow, family and friends with a conundrum seemingly without end.
According to the author, Le Prince was working on a machine capable of creating motion pictures. Other innovators and entrepreneurs were endeavoring to be the first to claim the prestigious title of inventing the first reliable working cine camera. However, Le Prince’s technological innovation was decade’s in advance of his closest competitor. Lamentably, his hard-fought competitive advantage would disappear with him leaving behind only a few of his amazing inventions; some of which were utilized in modern cinematography until the digital revolution rendered them obsolete.
Paul Fisher provides a chronological essay into the development of moving pictures. He discusses the visionaries that tried to invent the motion camera and the circumstances surrounding Louise’s disappearance. Did Thomas Edison have him murdered, as Le Prince’s widow claimed, just so Edison could steal his patents? Was his disappearance more sinister, or did he just get tired of everything and walk away from his family and life?
The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures is a truly epic narrative with wide appeal. It is as educational as it is thrilling whilst inspiring and edifying in equal proportions. Paul Fischer’s manuscript is a lively and compelling read for those who enjoy a thrilling mystery. Additionally so, for those who enjoy photography and would value learning more about the key characters at the most revolutionary time in cinematic photography.
This work will enjoy broad appeal and a diverse reader base. Those that will find this book appealing will be: students and aficionados of photography and motion pictures; true crime and mystery readers; students of modern history during the Industrial Golden Age; and everyone who appreciates a well-written non-fiction book with a cast of compelling characters.
I highly recommend The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures byPaul Fischer. Itis a comprehensively researched investigation into the life and times of one of the greatest industrial pioneers. Fischer blows away the mists of time and reveals how anyone of us could be just one journey away from missing our destiny.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I would like to thank Paul Fischer, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies.
The Organ Thieves is a compassionate retelling of events that introduced a new and highly anticipated advance in medical science. It’s a real-life drama of a radical new cutting-edge medical procedure,…
Holding a PhD in art history from Columbia University, Sheila Barker works at one of the leading Digital Humanities laboratories for the exploration of Renaissance history: The Medici Archive Project, a non-profit that is based in the USA but
carries out its work in Florence. There, in 2010, Doctor Barker founded the world’s first archival research program dedicated to women artists, which was recently given an award by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for the “Best digital scholarship, new media, or web -based project of 2014.” In addition to publishing on women artists of the 16th-19th centuries, she has published on Poussin, Michelangelo, plagues and art, early modern news circulation, Urban VIII, Maria de’ Medici, and the contributions of Medici women to pharmacy and medical science.
Artemisia Gentileschi(Illuminating Women Artists) is a laudatory, panegyric on the life and times of this remarkably talented Baroque artist. This biographical monograph is the second book of the sub-series of Illuminating Women Artist: Renaissance and Baroque, by Sheila Barker. In Artemisia Gentileschi, Barker has produced an authoritative account of the artist that is appropriate for knowledgeable art enthusiasts and those with an academic interest.
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) was the protégé and daughter of the illustrious and prolific artist, sculpture, architect, designer and internationally renowned Renaissance painter, Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563–1639). Artemisia was especially renowned in her time for her ability to paint complex large-scale compositions, as well as her ability to mix exquisite blues; considered a valuable skill during the period. Her skills and artistic abilities were appreciated at home, in Italy, and internationally; in such diverse locations as Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, and London. Her works convey a strong pictorial intelligence; with technical expertise equally as powerful as some of her male contemporaries. In recent times, Artemisia is becoming popular among collectors as new examples of her work are being discovered, increasing her oeuvre.
Artemisia Gentileschi is written as a comprehensive, detailed, historic, biographical, chronology of the life, times, travels, and work of this little known artist. Barker details the numerous challenges, tragedies and successes of this renaissance female. The imprint is grandiose in its span and breadth, detailing this International Baroque artist’s life and work. The publication is illustrated throughout with the highest-quality plates that depict many of Artemisia’s most notable works.
Barker details the artist, her attributed works, and her documented international travels during her life from her formative years through her active professional period. She discusses Artemisia’s commission for Urban VIII, Maria de’Medici in Venice, her later works and even her private life; finally, culminating in an account of Artemisia’s mysterious death and the search to find her final resting place.
Artemisia Gentileschi by Doctor Barker is an intricate and detailed analysis and expertly crafted eulogistic work on this much maligned female artist. Barker shines a light in this biographical account of the newly discovered archival finds.
My first impression of Artemisia Gentileschi: Illuminating Women Artists, is that the entire package is of the highest quality. Exceptional plates commingle in unity with the learned prose; accompanied by a comprehensive range of supportive content, references, image credits, a list of manuscripts and detailed bibliographical material. There is a subtle balance between the stunning imagery depicted by the large vibrant and dynamic images of Artemisia’s original works; works that stand as a testament to her unique and exceptional talents.
I’m mesmerized by the large, full color plates of her oversized and detailed paintings. The plates depicting numerous technically exceptional scenes executed with the grace and ease of an expert.
It seems, at times, that each consecutive plate exuded a greater level of technical excellence than the last. I’m struck by the diversity of subjects, poses, color harmony and hues combining to present powerful visual narratives that thrill the eyes and stir the senses. The imagery is not limited to the work of Artemisia, but is accompanied by examples of her contemporaries that include both Renaissance and Baroque Masters such as: her father Orizio; Van Dyck; Coppola, (a personal favorite I share with Artemisia) and Caravaggio.
Artemisia Gentileschi contains a plethora of dense and concise information. My favorite section discusses the opinions of her peers about her work. In the section entitled ‘Mizia,’ the author delves deeper into the observations and opinions of Artemisia’s burgeoning latent talents that were self-evident to her mature peers. I particularly enjoyed the section titled ‘Aquiring Skills,’ where the author introduces us to the opinions of other contemporary artists of her first foray into design; even though she was not yet a teenager.
This work is an exceptional piece of writing and as such will only really be appreciated by an elite few. Those who will find it most edifying are likely to be: art connoisseurs, art historians, art aficionados, art collectors, conservators, librarians, art graduates, students studying advanced degrees, historians, and archivists. In addition to these professionals, private artists may also enjoy the rewards of owning a copy. Artemisia Gentileschi is exceptional in every way and it along with the Illuminating Women Artist series is absolutely irreplaceable as a reference in any quality library.
Artemisia Gentileschi‘s biography by Sheila Barker Ph.D., has inspired me to read and research her work in greater detail. I discovered that a Gallery exhibition was recently held, posthumously, in her honor. It is pleasing to read that, at last, Artemisia’s first exhibition opened to some acclaim. It is a well deserved accolade that was long overdue; and at least the tiny portion of her attributed works were being openly acknowledged in recognition of her stellar achievements.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank Doctor Sheila Barker Ph.D, Getty Publications, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Artemisia Gentileschi(Illuminating Women Artists).
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Kathleen Hale was born and raised in Wisconsin. She graduated from Harvard in 2010. She is now a TV writer and true crime author based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair and other outlets.
Just how did an Internet meme of a fictitious Boogeyman, and two pre-teens end up in the tale of an attempted murder? More importantly, why did it happen at all?
It was the crime that shocked the world; every bit as infamous as the first US thrill killers Leopold and Loeb. The two adolescent girls conspired together, to befriended, lure, and stab their mutual acquaintance in a secluded woodland. Morgan and Anissa intended to act as proxies in the crime in order to becalm the Slenderman and save their own lives. In a complex, planned and highly detailed scheme, Morgan and Anissa conspired to kill. Fortunately, fate intervened and whilst terribly injured Bella endured the ferocious attack, but only just; having come within a millimeter of death.
Morgan Geyser, Anissa Weier and Payton “Bella” Leutner all lived in the idyllic Midwestern town called Waukesha, Wisconsin. Back in 2014, the three were peers in the sixth grade at the same local school. Whilst Bella was considered to be a happy well adjusted child, Anissa and Morgan were considered to be a little “strange.”
Morgan had a serious unseen mental health condition that she inherited from her father. No one understood just how ill she was and although she was a highly intelligent girl, she had an uncontrollable dark side; complete with visual and auditory hallucinations. She also suffered periods of manic behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as paranoia and dissociation. Her multiple challenges, noted by her peer group, left her isolated, bullied and derided by her cohorts and marginalized by the school faculty. As a consequence, Morgan Geyser would look for solace and lose herself in literature and the internet. It was on the Web that she first discovered the fantasy character – Slenderman.
Slenderman was a fictional character originally created for a Creepypasta meme by Eric Kundsen in 2009. Morgan, the troubled and lonely 12 year old became obsessed, and so began the fascination that led to the events of 31 May 2014. Soon Anissa was also introduced to the Slenderman, and what had begun with an interest quickly became their shared mutual obsession.
On that fateful day in 2014, Morgan and Anissa led Bella to nearby woodlands on the pretext of playing a game of hide-and-seek. Morgan used this excuse to pursue and eventually stab Bella 19 times. Convinced that Bella was dead Anissa and Morgan followed their plan to travel the hundred miles to join the Slenderman at his reputed home in the Nicolet National Forest.
What followed was a criminal trial that stunned the world, and that decided the futures of two twelve-year old children. So serious was the crime they were tried as adults despite their tender years.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Hale has produced a sympathetic account of a horrific crime; the attempted stabbing murder of 12 year old Payton “Bella” Leutner by two of her classmates in order to appease the fictional character Slenderman. The seriousness of Morgan Geyser’s actions are in no way ignored. Hale acknowledges that illness was one feature of this crime obsession, and she also opines that perhaps there may have been an element of “folie a deux.”
The author does a great job detailing the chronological events and of the crime itself as well as the the lives of all those directly involved. She covers the length and the breadth of the children from their upbringing, family history, their social interactions, the crime and the punishment. There is a sense that Hale fells some sympathy as she pays special attention to the mental health of Morgan and the lack of treatment she received prior to the crime and afterwards. Morgan was diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia, also known as adolescent onset schizophrenia while in custody.
Despite the significant life long injuries suffered by Bella, Hale prompts us to consider if it was appropriate for children of twelve years to be tried as adults; especially as the children had documented mental health challenges that were not being adequately treated at the time of the offense.
According to Hale, the medical neglect of Morgan prior to the crime and the neglect and clinical mismanagement since she has been incarcerated increased her continuing dis-functionality.
Slenderman by Kathleen Hale was an exceptional work; detailed, concise, informative and respectful. The focus of this book is different from many other true crime books. The interplay between the various individuals was the primary focus, and it made for a more fulfilling and satisfying read.
History Humor, Supernaturalism, Internet Social Media Humor
Pages / Runtime
304 / 6 hours and 45 minutes / 473 KB
Book 978-1524872106 Kindle B09TVHJLLC Audiobook B09VYDGBWQ
A Haunted Road Atlas is written and performed by Christine Schiefer and her co-author Em Schultz. There is one word that sums up this insanity; cleverly wrapped up in either the written work or the unabridged audiobook, and that word is – fun. Schiefer and Schultz have created a powerful diversion from everyday irrelevant concerns with their fantabulous journey across the entire Continental United States!
Now back to the review. The book is subdivided into individual geographic locations. The reader joins the trip mentally with Christine and Em, visiting haunted hotels, paranormal tours and strange and weird places. That’s not all; oh no! A Haunted Road Atlas also covers: notorious criminals, murders, mayhem, massacres, and con-men. All these are accompanied by fun facts and opinions. I both read and listened to their productions, and I highly recommend the audiobook version. The narrative is rapid delivered and the staccato humor just blew my socks off.
Imagine for a moment the most unhinged but fun person that you know or can imagine. Now add in a touch of Zac Bagin’s of Ghost Adventures fame. Sprinkle in some spooky places with two uproarious, loud and gregarious story tellers, and you have a simple idea of just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
It confounds me just how they managed to cram so much humor into this book. If you enjoy alternative humor, delivered by consummate entertainers look no further.
I sincerely hope that they manage to get to visit Alaska and Hawaii just so that there will be another magical creation.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review A Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales.
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The crew, alerted to an emergency transmission, reluctantly answers the call and discovers horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew, and the company…
The last recorded radio transmission from MH370’s, Flight’s Captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah spoken to Malaysian Air Traffic Control (ATC) at 01:19. There was no further communication from the aircraft.
Ean Higgins grew up in Texas and Quebec, before moving to Australia with his Canadian father and Australian mother. He has worked as a reporter, section editor, chief-of-staff and foreign correspondent for Australia’s three national newspapers over nearly four decades. He served his cadetship on the Australian
Financial Review where he was appointed the newspaper’s first New Zealand correspondent, then moved to the Fairfax group’s investigative title Times on Sunday, before joining The Australian in 1988 where among other roles he served as foreign news editor, Inquirer editor, Europe correspondent and Sydney bureau chief. In recent years he has returned to reporting on The Australian, focusing on crime, corruption, politics, aviation and the interplay among them. Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Sussex, and a master’s from the Australian National University. He learned to fly as a young man in Quebec, as a student piloting Cessna 150s on skis in winter. He won a Kennedy Award for Best Online Reporting for his coverage of a bush fire, and a Quebec Grand Prize for Independent Journalism for an opinion piece on language politics published in the French-language national dailyLe Devoir.
In the early morning of 8 March, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. At the flight controls was 53 years old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his First Officer, 27 years old Fariq Abdul Hamid. Shah was an experienced pilot with and excellent reputation and extensive experience with 18,423 hours flight time; 8,659 in the Boeing 777-200. He was a Type Rating Instructor in the 777-200 airframe and was a Type Rating Examiner for Malaysia Airlines.
The weather that night was good, but for reason known only to Shah additional fuel was added; more fuel than necessary to cover the normal hours fuel contingency. The excess fuel gave the aircraft the ability to fly for almost two hours longer than the required flight time to the destination.
Around midnight the pilots began their normal run-up procedures beginning with the ‘walk around.’ Once complete, the pilots would gather in the cockpit to go through the Preflight Procedures whilst the Cabin Crew began boarding the 227 passengers that were heading for Beijing. The majority of the passengers were of Chinese nationality with an eclectic and diverse mix of other nationalities.
With the Preflight Checklist now complete and the Oxygen Check finished Shah and Hamid performed the ‘Before Start’ Checklist. Hamid requested pushback and engine start clearance from Kuala Lumpur Area Control Center. The time is now 0040 and Malaysia Flight MH370 taxis to runway 32 Right.
The last item on the ‘Before Take-off’ Checklist is ‘Flaps,’ with the response “Set,” Flight MH370 announced to the tower ‘370, 32 Right for Take-Off.’ The pilots pushed the throttles forward. The engines thrust increased, as did the vibration and speed. At V1 they rotated; and at 0042 local time on 8 March, 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 carrying 239 souls lifted off on a flight into oblivion.
The Hunt for MH370 is a detailed analysis posited by author Ean Higgins on the various scenarios that may have led to the disappearance of flight MH370. His opines are aided by expert assessments based on the available data of the likely events that lead up to the vanishing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The author digs deep and reveals facts that were concealed; facts that could have helped locate the missing plane. Higgins seeks to clarify the events that may have transpired during the last flight of MH370. He avoids wild speculation in favor of expert opinions, hard facts and available data. The investigative body that oversaw the search are held to account. A rational well conceived, yet speculative, analysis is given of the events that tragic evening.
The Hunt for MH370 is a mystery encompassed by an enigma. Higgins carefully explored the many possibilities that may have lead to the loss of MH370. He collected and collated data and accounts from a diverse range of involved persons. He creates a plausible assessment of the likely causes of flight MH370’s disappearance using first person accounts, original documents, and international experts that included those from the fields of: aviation crash investigation, professional pilots with decades of experience, engineers (both aviation and oceanographic), as well as satellite data .
What happened to the passengers and crew of Malaysia Flight MH370?Did Shah highjack his own aircraft, kill the crew and passengers, then fly out into the middle of nowhere and ditch the aircraft into the Indian Ocean killing himself in the process? If he did, why did he do it? What was the evidence and why were essential clues to the disappearance hidden even from those conducting the search? Ean Higgins lifts the lid on the mystery and perhaps one day, if-and-when MH370 is found, his analysis might be proven accurate.
The Hunt for MH370 is a compelling read and is never dry or overly technical. It is captivating from the outset and once your attention is secured you will be in for the flight. The narrative is gripping and Higgins writing style ensures that that grip is vise-like. If you enjoy reading real-life mysteries that have yet to be solved and you gain solace from using your own acumen to forge your own opinion; then reading The Hunt for MH370 is a no brainer.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank Ean Higgins, Macmillan Australia, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Hunt for MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth.
Author and Illustrator of Ocean Planet – A Marine Life Book for children aged 9-12 years. Ben lives in London and works from his small studio in the capital . See more here.
Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery, is an exceptional work for children. Rothery’s stupendously executed illustrations bring nature to life. Although Rothery’s exquisite masterpiece is meant for children aged 9-12 years, I believe that the book has a much broader appeal.
Ocean Planet covers a diverse range of wildlife as varied as the marine birds-of-the-air to the bacteria living in hydrothermal vents in the depths of the oceans. The book covers everything from the tiniest of microscopic organisms, also known as plankton, to the largest underwater species – the Blue Whale. Although Rothery primarily focuses on the marine environment, he also includes land animals and their environments and habitats. Polar Bears, Leopard Seals, and Penguins are not neglected; nor are the Wolves of British Columbia or the Bengal Tigers of the mangroves of north-west India.
Rothery shares his enthusiasm for his subjects with large, full color, high definition plates. All the plates are accompanied by comprehensive introductions to the relevant facts, figures, and details about the individual subjects. Rothery’s unbridled enthusiasm for nature and his undeniable skill coalesce into a joyful, engaging, and edifying experience. Ocean Planet is a true work of art in every sense of the word.
Ocean Planet is a banquet for the eyes, a stimulant for the mind, and a tonic for the soul. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and so it is with Ben Rothery’s magnificently illustrated work. It is not an over-statement to say that this book is truly epic.
The illustrations are bordering on hyperrealistic and are so well executed that they move ones soul and strain credulity. That one man could create with his primitive tools such a magnificent panoply of life like, natural subjects is truly an impressive feat.
Do you have a favorite book from your childhood? Does the thought of it even now stir your memory and take you back to more innocent, happy days? Well Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery could be that legacy for your child. Please do not take my word for it, I encourage you to get a copy and decide for yourself.
This book makes a great gift; but take care, it is such a valuable jewel that you may well claim it for yourself. I have to admit Ocean Planet is on the top of my gift list this year, and I cannot wait to own a stunning copy.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I would like to thank Ben Rothery, Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021), and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Ocean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore.
S.A. BARNES works in a high school library by day, recommending reads, talking with students, and removing the occasional forgotten cheese-stick-as-bookmark. The author has published numerous novels across different genres. Barnes lives in Illinois with more dogs and books than is advisable and a very patient spouse.
Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes is a space based tense sojourn into the Schitzo-effected world of Claire Kovalik, Team Leader of LINA – a communications repair space vehicle. Claire, as a child, was the sole survivor of the accident at the Ferris Outpost. An experience that left her traumatized and experiencing the supernatural, or is it just Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
The crew receives an emergency transmission from the Aurora; a space liner that disappeared twenty years ago without a trace. They reluctantly answer the call and discover horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew and the company to find her own salvation in the face of incredible odds. Will she be able to put her own demons to bed and rise to the occasion, or will she lose everything by trying?
Dead Silence is expertly crafted and the stress ramps up as the story advances. There are shocks, jump scares, and descriptions of horrific encounters throughout. The crew are a disparate group of mismatched characters that are bound by a loose affiliation. As the team begins to be challenged, they pull together in an unholy alliance to combat the growing threats leveled against them. United in their hate for the Verux Company and the wish to grow rich, they combat the enemies within and without in a fight to the death.
A truly original narrative, captivating throughout, driven by the psychological complexity and flaws in the lead characters personality; together with the interplay of the small crew.
Dead Silence is written in a style of the great science fiction writers. It is every bit as consuming and compelling as Alien, Ghost Ship, or Event Horizon. There is a very real recognition of Claire as being a genuine character. We know she is unlikely to circumvent the multitude of challenges she must face and survive, but regardless we are encouraged to stay with her until the end.
Dead Silence is a must read! It is engaging, exciting, horrific, and surprising. It has been sometime since I have felt the kind of engagement with characters in a book that drive me to yearn for the next time I can pick it up; there is no higher form of praise than that.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank S. A. Barnes, Tor Nightmare and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Dead Silence.
True West magazine, in 2011 and 2013, named Boessenecker Best Nonfiction Writer. He received a prestigious Spur award from Western Writers of America and Best Book award from Westerners International. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media.
John Boessenecker breathed new life into an old case; the case of Lillie N. Davy known by the noms de guerre of Pearl Hart. Drawing upon his research skills, he’s removed the fallacies, the myths, the lies and revealed in extraordinary detail the life and times of Pearl Hart. She was one of the most notorious late 19th Century female criminals of the old West. Pearl was a cross-dressing female with a flare for making herself incognito when the need arose. Her endless dalliances with numerous men doesn’t mark her as unique however, her need to control situations was unique for a woman of that time. At a period in history where women were meant to be housebound homemakers; meek, submissive, barefoot and pregnant; Pearl railed against the expected norms and challenged the mores of the time.
What John Boessenecker has presented in Wildcat is the unoccluded view of a female recidivist from child to adulthood. His research is as exceptional as it is detailed and he comingles them into a completely engrossing narrative. Boessenecker artfully recounts Pearl’s story from her parents brief courtship to her birth and on. He details ad infinitum her early years as the daughter of an indigent, semi-literate, workshy child molester and petty criminal in Canada. We follow her itinerant lifestyle across many years and locations culminating with the pinnacle of her criminal enterprise; a coach robbery.
Throughout the book we discover Pearl’s life of bitter poverty, abuse, and abysmal parenting culminating in a damaged woman bereft of morals, dignity or honesty. Like many women in those historic days, she was often forced to make difficult decisions just to survive. After viewing her circumstances in the round one cannot help but be sympathetic.
Boessenecker reveals the uncompromising world that Pearl lived in and the uncompromising woman that it birthed. From his detailed accounts, she owned the ‘Wildcat’ nickname. She lived life her own way, loved risk taking and took the punishment where she found it. She was intelligent and ‘street smart,’ a potent combination for an erstwhile career criminal.
Living in a time where women rarely left the home once they were betrothed and were kept in check by societal and socio-cultural norms, Pear turned the world on its head to live her own way. She seamlessly integrates into the criminal underclass not as a woman, but as a boy and later a man. She would alter her outer appearance by cutting her hair and affecting a manly stride. She was often found in the company of the criminal class sharing or gleaning useful information for future criminal activities. Peal, we discover, took things to a whole new level when she began utilizing firearms. Weapons that no doubt added to her sense of safety and security, especially due to the company she would often keep.
She is such an outrageous character, that it is amazing that her story has been lost in time until now. It seems strange that she is forgotten but characters like Big Nose Kate still hold a semblance of allure for many Western History fans. If I were to compare the two, I would say that Pearl’s story has far more impact than the latter.
The review of Wildcat would not be complete without mentioning Katy Davy, Pearl’s younger sister. An outrageous character every bit as unique as her older sibling. Katy Davy, who used the sobriquets of Millie Davy has an incredible nerve and was talented physically and mentally. Both sisters were, without-a-doubt, survivors; Katy even more so. At thirty-six-years-old, in the 1890’s, Katy became an ascensionist and a descensionist. She took a rest from being a fille de joie started parachuting from a balloon at a thousand feet. Following a near fatal accident she retired, but not for too long. The many tales of prison escapes, her years as a teenage madam and rescuing her husband from prison, Katy appears to have an unending skill in creative problem solving. They sisters even made it into Cosmopolitan magazine, the nations most popular women’s publication at that time. The sisters were walking contradictions for women of their time.
John Boessenecker’s writing style is compelling from the very beginning. His research is second to none, and his narrative is fascinating throughout.
The book is entertaining, inspiring, alarming and touching in equal measure. The main characters are mentally re-created. Boessenecker did an exceptional job in breathing life back into the long dead. He avoided tainting the account with his own opinions and simply reported the facts previously occluded by time, myth, disinformation and lies. Overall, John Boessenecker created a fair illustration of the characters, the time period and the environment in which they lived. He’s managed to inject new life in the antics and life of Pearl Hart and her sister. It is a superior read. Some of the material discussed will remain with you long after you have read it.
I highly recommend Wildcat to all adults and children over the age of sixteen. It is entertaining, heartbreaking, outrageous and so much more in-between. If you enjoy reading about true survivors of extreme circumstances, look no further because Wildcat is the story of two consummate survivors.
Wildcat will resonate with you if you are an avid reader of Western History of the United States, Criminal Biographies or Women in History. This it is a rip-roaring tale. You know that if Pearl were alive today, she would be down at Cancún during Spring Break doing whatever she wants whilst engaging in some nefarious activity. You are left with the feeling that she was mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that she was also probably huge fun.
Why not give it a read yourself? Be prepared, it’s quite a ride; remember to hold on to your hat!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank John Boessenecker, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman.
Dr. Anne Woollett is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA.
HOLBEIN: Capturing Character was edited primarily byDr. Anne Woolett. Her collaborator’s include: Ulrich Hans Birkmaier, Austėia Mackelaitė, Peter van der Coelen, and John T. Qillen. This work is a comprehensive monograph of the work of Hans Holbein The Younger(1497/98–1543). This compact Gallery Book was published to accompany the exhibition of the 16th Century renaissance Master Hans Holbein The Younger. The exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Centre on October 19, 2021, – January 9, 2022; and continuing at the Morgan Library & Museum from February 11, 2022, to May 15, 2022.
HOLBEIN: Capturing Character,although petite at just 9×12 inches, contains a genuine treasure trove of ultra high quality plates that depict:
a selection of Holbein The Younger’s most valued paintings,
silverpoint by Hans Holbein the Elder (1460/70-1524),
designs for a stained glass window,
paintings from tempera and oil on panel,
oil on canvas,
oil on paper glued to panel,
a selection of ornamental lids,
tempera on unprimed canvas,
an example of a rundel portrait, and
studies pen and brown ink, brown and black ash ink wash and highlights of white gouache and black chalk on paper.
Anne Woolett and her associates have produced a invaluable asset for anyone who wants to study Holbein or those who simply enjoy his amazing talents.
Each listing is individually numbered and contains essential details relating to the image containing information on:
the artist, the subject where available,
the date, the material used,
the dimensions of the original,
its current location, and
the current owner if known.
Hans Holbein was an artist with unsurpassed levels of observation and the ability to translate his vision to oil on panel or many other mediums.
Additional information included in the book are:
an impressive Forward that sets the context for the reader
a detailed list of Illustration Credits
a list of short biographies covering the most notable figures who sat for Holbein
a chronology of each of the more significant works
an extensive bibliography
a list of Lenders to the exhibition, and
1(a method originally accredited to Leonardo da Vinci. It involved tempera and oil, called tempera grassa, to try and extend the limitations of the medium. He would use one part egg yolk mixed with one part linseed oil to form the binder for his pigments.)
The plates in this work are exquisite in their reproduction being large, high quality, full-color images of the Master’s works. They are accompanied by comprehensive pertinent details relating to each work of art. The Editor and her collaborators excelled at the presentation, format, and underpinned these with exquisite insights to the zeitgeist of the times.
Holbein: Capturing Character is a catalogue that is engaging, entertaining, informative and an accomplished illumination worthy of the Great Master. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed notes for each chapter, and in addition a short comprehensive Bibliography. Holbein: Capturing Character proved to be an addictive read.
It is often said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever and so it is for this pocket-sized library of perfection.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I would like to thank Editor Dr. Anne Woolett, et al. , J. Paul Getty Museum, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review HOLBIEN: Capturing Character.