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”Starkweather” Book Reviews

Below are some recent reviews of Harry MacLean's latest true-crime book coming out in November 2023, Starkweather:

“Surprise: We live in the golden age of crime writing. Exhibit A: Harry MacLean’s absorbing taxonomy STARKWEATHER (Nov. 28), a history of the murderer whose nihilism inspired generations of responses, from Springsteen’s “Nebraska” and to the media’s embrace of crime itself. ” —Christopher Borelli, Chicago Tribune

“A magisterial study of the infamous murders committed by 19-year-old Charles Starkweather across Nebraska and Wyoming in the 1950s. . . . Propulsive. . . . An instant true crime classic.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) Read review here »

“In this deeply empathetic take on the tale of 19-year-old spree killer Charles Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, all the assumptions made over the years about the two are questioned, and Caril Ann Fugate’s role in particular is reevaluated. When the two went on trial for the 1958 murders that made both infamous, Fugate was painted as either a murderous femme fatale or a heartless collaborator, rather than a victim of threats, domestic abuse, and terrible circumstances. MacLean rights the record and gets deep into the psychology of not only his subjects, but their claustrophobic and constrained time and place.” —Molly Odintz, CrimeReads Read review here»

“Edgar winner MacLean (In Broad Daylight) delivers a magisterial study of the infamous murders committed by 19-year-old Charles Starkweather across Nebraska and Wyoming in the 1950s. From November 1957 to January 1958, while accompanied by his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, Starkweather killed 11 people (primarily in Lincoln, Nebr.) including Fugate’s mother, stepfather, and two-year-old sister. The reverberations of those murders, MacLean asserts, helped create the concept of the serial killer and provided inspiration for Bruce Springsteen’s song “Nebraska,” Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers, and other works of pop culture. MacLean, who grew up in Nebraska and whose older brother had been Starkweather’s classmate, remained haunted by the killings and fascinated by unanswered questions about Fugate’s involvement for much of his life, poring over articles and trial transcripts for insights. Using that research—plus an in-person interview with Fugate that he conducted in 2022 after tracking her down in a Nebraska nursing home—MacLean pieces together a propulsive account that nails down concrete details from the “ten different versions” of events Starkweather provided in official documents, and presents crucial context about his and Fugate’s early lives. The result is an instant true crime classic. ” – Agent: Paul Bresnick, Paul Bresnick Literary

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