Paul Collins tells the story of the brutal, bloody murder of William Guldensuppe committed by his girlfriend and her lover. Narrator William Dufris gives a delightfully varied and nuanced performance. The book features the voices of a diverse cast of late-19th century New York characters, from Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst to a duck farmer in Woodside to employees of the Murray Hill bathhouse. Together, the characters tell the story of a gruesome crime that fueled a sensationalistic media juggernaut from the moment a group of young boys found a man's mutilated torso floating in the East River in New York City on a summer day in 1897. In Dufris' inventive performance, he expertly adopts the voice of the chillingly blasé murderers; then turns on a dime to describe, in a voice filled with wonder, the new forensic science that went into identifying the body. Dufris engages the listener by sounding as fascinated by the story as the author himself is.
It is vital that Dufris get the performances just right, since Collins has distinguished his book from other histories of the crime by telling the story of the investigation and trial largely through the voices of the people who were actually there. Collins carefully reconstructs their quotes into an intensely detailed narrative, and Dufris individualizes the voice of each witness, including the murder defendants themselves. Especially effective is his portrayal of one of the main defense attorneys in the story, William Howe, whom Dufris imbues with a bold, brash voice that enlivens the "Big Bill" persona that Collins describes. But Dufris is just as adept at capturing the macabre character of the women who, obsessed with the case, filled the sweltering courtroom gallery day after day to show their support for the dashing murder defendant, Martin Thorn. Maggie Frank
In Long Island, a farmer found a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discovered a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumbled upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime were turning up all over New York, but the police were baffled: There were no witnesses, no motives, no suspects.
The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most perplexing murder. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Re-creations of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio - an anxious cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor - all raced to solve the crime. What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim that the police couldn't identify with certainty - and that the defense claimed wasn't even dead.
The Murder of the Century is a rollicking tale - a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.
©2011 Paul Collins (P)2011 AudioGo
“Wonderfully rich in period detail, salacious facts about the case and infectious wonder at the chutzpah and inventiveness displayed by Pulitzer’s and Hearst’s minions. Both a gripping true-crime narrative and an astonishing portrait of fin de siecle yellow journalism.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"A dismembered corpse and rival newspapers squabbling for headlines fuel Collins’s intriguing look at the birth of 'yellow journalism' in late 19th-century New York. [A]n in-depth account of the exponential growth of lurid news and the public’s (continuing) insatiable appetite for it." (Publishers Weekly)
Online Grad Student, I prefer audiobooks to bound books. Preferences: history, disasters, Preston/Child, Lee Child
This is a well narrated audiobook of murder, forensics, and the incredible power and resources of yellow journalism in NYC at the turn of the 20th century. Pulitzer and Hearst battle to scoop each other in a grisly murder of a mutilated German-American. Forensic and courtroom procedures are described in stark contrast to today's format. The story swirls around collusion between the police and reporters, the handling of evidence, the subject of abortion, the conditions of the Tombs jail, the consolidation of the five boroughs into one municipality, and the apex of yellow journalism where news is made, not reported. Great story, especially if you're from NYC.
A very "listenable" book, factual, but well presented, interesting and captivating. A fascinating history of a short period in journalism - perfectly read!
Didn't know what to expect. I had been looking for a book to spark my interest in audio again, and this was it. Very tight writing. Intriguing story intermingled with a background of newspaper rivalries. Narration was perfect.
Details really bring the era to life without slowing the pace and pitch of the story, which unfolds like a police procedural and courtroom drama among other things. The author does not preach against sensationalism, but instead wisely shows us that even more than a century later, some have never managed to evolve (the brouhaha surrounding high-profile cases). Competent narration rounds out this perfect package.
I could listen to this story more than once, first for fast paced and interesting story and then the wonderful narrative reading. The story does get bit a graphic on the details of the murder but what would you expect, it's about a murder. The story never slows up and you are placed into that time period with fluidity of the story's timeline. I loved learning about the history of the papers and really enjoyed the writer including the epilogue. I will go out and buy the book to see if I missed anything. I love a book that makes you want to do more research on the time period because it opens your eyes to a different time.
Being a history buff I was fascinated to listen to a story about how life was back at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th. I really enjoyed learning about how police work, and court proceedings how they differ (and for that matter how they led to today's forensic evidence handling) today.
The description of the execution proceeding and it's aftermath.
The description of the trial proceeding and how well it was arranged and conducted.
No, but it was fascinating.
Excellent! An insane murder mystery and a journalistic dogfight between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. The beginnings of the aggressive news media we all know today...
More fun than I expected!!
Incredibly well written, and well performed.
Easily worth the credit. Solid 5stars.
Interesting, knowledgable, thorough
Defense council was portrayed very well by the narrator
He had a great way of distinguishing each character's voice and brought out emotion in the dialogue. William Dufris did a great job!
The package no one wants to open
Authors I like: Patrick O'Brian, Frederick Forsyth, Jane Austen, John Le Carre, Alan Furst, Jon Krakauer, Ernest Hemingway.
I'd recommend this especially to someone interested in journalism or the history of journalism, as opposed to somebody interested in mysteries or crime stories.
I think the book dragged in places and could have been edited down to be more concise.
My expectation was that The Murder of the Century would be akin to a real life version of Caleb Carr's "Alienist." i.e. Unusual murder case in late 19th Century NYC. There is an element of that, but the suspect is brought to trial before the book is halfway through, and so more than half the book is devoted to the courtroom drama, with particular emphasis on how it was reported in the press, the rivalries between newspapers and their publishers, and the major personalities of the leading newspapermen (Pulitzer and Hearst especially).
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Definitely! It was a great listen. New York City in the age of Tammany Hall and Pulitzer vs. Hearst duking it out in their tabloids. What's not to like?
Compulsion by Ira Levin, which was a novel about the Leopold/ Loeb murderers. This story is true though, and much more compelling because it is factual.
The scene I remember the most is when Augusta returns to the prison and asks for a job. I think she missed the attention she got as a high profile prisoner.
I enjoyed the book immensely but would never sit for 10 hours to finish any book...
This is a wonderfully written and narrated story about a real life murder in 1897 New York City. The most important thing about the narrative is the early police force, (fingerprints were not reliable at that time) and how the newsmen and women were just as likely to gather the clues as the cops. It was an important step in beginning a cohesive way to solve crimes and a lot of the people involved learned a great deal from being involved in this case.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.