From law officer to murderer to Hollywood consultant: the strange career of a man who became myth
Can it be fair? Humane? Deter crime? These very current questions troubled Americans just as much in the day of the Salem witch trials as in the day of Timothy McVeigh
He was a Northerner. He was an industrialist. He was a Jew. And a young girl was murdered in his factory.
IT BEGAN AS America’s most modern penal institution, and for generations the Vermont State Prison reflected the changing ways by which we thought we should punish our wrongdoers. Then a tormented era and a ghastly crime combined to end its old career—and give it a surprising new one.
Is trial by jury the essential underpinning of our system of justice or—as more and more critics charge—a relic so flawed it should perhaps even be abolished? An experienced trial judge examines the historical evidence in the case.
During a single decade Chicago invented modern organized crime and saw John Dillinger, the most famous of the hit-and-run freelancers, die in front of one of its movie houses. For those who know where to look, quiet streets and sad buildings still tell the story of an incandescent era.
Why Litigiousness Is a National Character Trait
On the hundredth anniversary of the unsolved double murder of Andrew and Abby Borden, is it time to ask: What was going on in that family?
On the twentieth anniversary of Watergate, a recently discovered diary reveals a similar conspiracy four decades earlier
Sociologists continue to be vexed by the pathology of urban violence: Why is it so random, so fierce, so easily triggered? One answer may be found in our Southern past.
The legend of the most famous of all outlaws belongs to the whole world now. But to find the grinning teen-ager who gave rise to it, you must visit the New Mexico landscape where he lived his short life.
Back in Prohibition days, the citizens of a West Virginia town decided to crack down on bootlegging and prostitution. The author remembers it well.
The penitentiary was invented in the United States as a more rational and humane way of punishing. It quickly ran into problems that still overwhelm us.
Hard Looks at Hidden History
Up until the last century in some parts of the country, a murderer’s guilt could legally be determined by what happened when he or she touched the victim’s corpse
The Lone Star state as it once was—proud, isolated, independent, the undiluted essence of America forever inventing itself out of the hardscrabble reality of the frontier
The Secret Service considered Emanuel Ninger a common counterfeiter. He saw himself as an American master of the impressionist school.
Eight generations back, the author discovered a forebear hanging on the family tree
Did the fifty-five statesmen meeting in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention know that a witch-hunt was taking place while they deliberated? Did they care?
In 1913 the Ouija board dictated a novel. Twenty years later it commanded a murder. It is most popular in times of national catastrophe, and it’s selling pretty briskly just now.
With the Depression pushing the studio toward bankruptcy, Warner Brothers had to resort to crime—and crime paid so well that the company was able to recruit the toughest guys that ever shot up a sound stage.
—More than a century ago, the city of St. Louis enacted a well-thought-out plan to legalize vice. What went wrong? Everything .
In the shadow of Bunker Hill, bigots perpetrated an atrocity that showed a shocked nation that the fires of the Reformation still burned in the New World
An Unfortunate Affair at Fullerton Which at the End is Amicably Adjusted.
One of Ruth Snyder’s Crimes Was Murder
On a warm Florida evening in 1933 a madman with a pistol and a personality profile now all too familiar—“unskilled, unfriendly, unmoneyed, and unwell”—came within inches of altering the course of American history in one of its most critical moments