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American history
literature
Killer Colt: Murder, Disgrace, and the Making of an American Legend
 
 
Author
Harold Schechter.
Publisher Ballantine  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780345476814
Pages/Publication Date 381/2010
Daedalus Item Code 21858
List Price: $28.00
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Description
The author of The Devil's Gentleman returns to the sinister shadows of gaslit New York City in this gripping true-crime account, beginning in 1841 with the last moments of the life of publisher Samuel Adams, whose stripped body was later found in the hold of a merchant ship. A trail of bloody clues points back to John Colt, the peripatetic older brother of the famous inventor of the revolver. Harold Schechter gives us John's life, the sensational Colt trial—which both fired the imagination of pioneering crime writer Edgar Allan Poe and fueled the indignation of journalist Walt Whitman—and Sam's vigorous defense of his brother, which may have been motivated, Schechter argues, by a secret the brothers shared.

"The 19th-century murder trial and subsequent sordid demise of John Colt would have been little noticed, except that Colt happened to be the older brother of Samuel Colt. Six years before the trial, Samuel had invented the revolver, and the use of 'Judge Colt' became the stuff of western lore and legend. John had also been moderately successful as a writer and accountant, but he tended to be volatile and irresponsible. He was accused of bashing in the head of a Mr. Adams during an argument over a debt and then concealing the corpse in a shipping crate. The trial attracted great attention in New York. Despite an admirable effort by his defense attorney that suggested self-defense, Colt was convicted. Hours before his scheduled execution, he was found dead in his cell, an apparent suicide. Schechter, a literature professor, has specialized in true-crime writing, and here he captures the early form of 'media circus' that surrounded the trial, providing interesting and sometimes tantalizing tidbits concerning relations between the brothers. This is a well-done account of a 'sensational' trial and its sad aftermath."—Booklist

 
You might also like:
The Fall of the House of Walworth: A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America
Geoffrey O'Brien.
Studio: Henry Holt.   Format: hardcover. ISBN: 9780805081152.  Daedalus Item Code: 32746
List Price: $30.00 Sale Price: $5.98 You Save: $24.02
 
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