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The Pennsylvania Torso Murders
From 1934 to 1938, Cleveland, Ohio, was racked by a classic battle between good and evil. On one side was the city’s safety director, Eliot Ness. On the other was a nameless phantom dubbed the “Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” who littered the inner city with the remains of decapitated and dismembered corpses. Never caught or even officially identified, the Butcher simply faded into history, leaving behind a frightening legend that both haunts and fascinates Cleveland to this day. In 2001 the Kent State University Press published James Jessen Badal’s In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders, the first serious, book-length treatment of this dark chapter in true crime history. Though Murder Has No Tongue: The Lost Victim of Cleveland’s Mad Butcher—a detailed study of the arrest and mysterious death of Frank Dolezal, the only man ever charged in the killings—followed in 2010.
Now Badal concludes his examination of the horrific cycle of murder-dismemberments with Hell’s Wasteland: The Pennsylvania Torso Murders. During the mid-1920s, a vast, swampy area just across the Ohio border near New Castle, Pennsylvania, revealed a series of decapitated and otherwise mutilated bodies. In 1940 railroad workers found the rotting remains of three naked and decapitated bodies in a string of derelict boxcars awaiting destruction in Pennsylvania’s Stowe Township. Were all of these terrible murders the work of Cleveland’s Mad Butcher? Many in Ohio and Pennsylvania law enforcement thought they were, and that assumption led to a massive, well-coordinated two-state investigation. In Hell’s Wasteland, Badal explores that nagging question in depth for the first time.
Relying on police reports, unpublished memoirs, and the surviving autopsy protocols—as well as contemporary newspaper coverage— Badal provides a detailed examination of the murder-dismemberments and weighs the evidence that potentially links them to the Cleveland carnage. Hell’s Wasteland is the last piece in the gigantic torso murder puzzle that spanned three decades, covered two states, and involved law enforcement from as many as five different cities.
Ernest Hemingway resided in Cuba longer than he lived anywhere else in the world, yet no book has been devoted to how his life in Cuba influenced his writing. Hemingway, Cuba, and the Cuban Works corrects this omission by presenting contributions by scholars and journalists from the United States, Russia, Japan, and Cuba, who explore how Hemingway absorbed and wrote from the culture and place around him.
The volume opens with an examination of Hemingway’s place in Cuban history and culture, evaluations of the man and his work, and studies of Hemingway’s life as an American in Cuba. These essays look directly at Hemingway’s Cuban experience, and they range from the academic to the journalistic, allowing different voices to speak and different tones to be heard. The first section includes reflections from Gladys Rodriguez Ferrero, former director of the Museo Finco Vigía, who describes the deep affection Cubans hold for Hemingway; and recollections from the now-adult members of “Gigi’s All Stars,” the boys’ baseball team that Hemingway organized in the 1940s.
In the second part of the collection, Hemingway scholars— among them, Kim Moreland, James Nagel, Ann Putnam, and H. R. Stoneback—employ a variety of critical perspectives to analyze specific works set in Cuba or on its Gulf Stream and written during the years that Hemingway actually lived in Cuba. Also included are a long letter by Richard Armstrong describing the Machado revolution in Cuba and Hemingway’s photographs of fishermen at Cojimar, which provide vivid visual commentary on The Old Man and the Sea.
Appended to the collection are Kelli Larson’s bibliography of scholarly writing on Hemingway’s Cuban works and Ned Quevedo Arnaiz’s sample of Cuban writing on those works. A chronology placing Hemingway’s life in Cuba beside historical events is also provided.
This important volume illuminates Hemingway’s life and work during the Cuban years, and it will appeal to Hemingway fans and scholars alike.
Bloodlines and the Color Line
A social historical reading of Hemingway through the lens of race
William Faulkner has long been considered the great racial interrogator of the early-twentieth-century South. In Hemingway, Race, and Art, author Marc Kevin Dudley suggests that Ernest Hemingway not only shared Faulkner’s racial concerns but extended them beyond the South to encompass the entire nation. Though Hemingway wrote extensively about Native Americans and African Americans, always in the back of his mind was Africa. Dudley sees Hemingway’s fascination with, and eventual push toward, the African continent as a grand experiment meant to both placate and comfort the white psyche, and to challenge and unsettle it, too.
Twentieth-century white America was plagued by guilt in its dealings with Native Americans; simultaneously, it faced an increasingly dissatisfied African American populace. Marc Kevin Dudley demonstrates how Hemingway’s interest in race was closely aligned to a national anxiety over a changing racial topography. Affected by his American pedigree, his masculinity, and his whiteness, Hemingway’s treatment of race is characteristically complex, at once both a perpetuation of type and a questioning of white self-identity.
Hemingway, Race, and Art expands our understanding of Hemingway and his work and shows how race consciousness pervades the texts of one of America’s most important and influential writers.
Ernest Hemingway’s enlistment with the American Red Cross during World War I was one of the most formative experiences of his life, and it provided much of the source material for A Farewell to Arms and his writings about Italy and the Great War. As significant as it was, Hemingway’s service has never been sufficiently understood. By looking at previously unexamined documents, including the letters and diary of Hemingway’s commanding officer, Robert W. Bates, official reports of the ambulance and canteen services, and section newspapers published by volunteers, author Steven Florczyk provides crucial insights into Hemingway’s service.
The book opens by sharing tales of the volunteer ambulance units from the Western Front, which also led to the involvement of the American Red Cross in Italy. This was where Hemingway came to know many of the experienced drivers from France. In the spring of 1918 the young writer enlisted, serving first with an ambulance unit in Schio and then as a canteen worker at the Piave River until he was wounded. After the war when the volunteer outfits disbanded, Hemingway returned home where he took up his plan to earn a living as a writer.
Hemingway’s Red Cross experience was a major influence on his development as a writer and a thinker. Through the power of words, Hemingway’s journalism, short stories, and novels exposed the falsehoods of World War I propaganda. His involvement with the Red Cross led to some of the finest American literature on the Great War.
Reflections on the Writer by His Longtime Majordomo
“This is the story of a poor, young Cuban boy who grew into a man and gained the trust and respect of a famous American author, whom he loved like a father. A man he called ‘Papa.’’—from the Preface
In 1996 René Villarreal returned to Cuba to retrieve his memoir of his life with Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia. Sadly, he learned that the manuscript and photographs had been lost. Determined to tell his story, Villarreal, together with his son Raúl, set about rewriting the account of how he came to be Ernest Hemingway’s majordomo, confidant, and friend—his Cuban son.
Hemingway, called El Americano by the Cubans, moved into the Finca Vigia, an estate outside of Havana, in 1939. He allowed the village children to play on his property, and they soon became fixtures, caring for his pets, performing odd jobs, and running errands. Hemingway recognized René as especially responsible and attentive and made him household manager, or majordomo, in 1946 when René was only seventeen.
For the next fifteen years, René ran the Finca, tending to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, and their visiting family and distinguished guests. Villarreal’s clear recollections offer up humorous stories of escapades and adventures with Hemingway as well as insightful comments on the writer’s work habits, moods, passions, and friendships. He also writes of Cuba before and after the revolution, capturing so well the sense of place and time. Scholars and readers of Hemingway worldwide will be caught up in this compelling story of a great friendship and will find insight into this complicated, fascinating, brilliant writer.
Daniel Carter’s Here Both Sweeter is a book in which you “have a seedling in each pocket,” a “body bodies,” and words are something you “carve out” so as to make a home. The poems are stories, are seeds, are secret messages cast and sent across the natural world to a reader, where they blossom in the imagination. The plot is “scatter-wild,” the lyrics “all willful and fallow.” Carter’s language serves as a garden, rich and strange, full of acorns and ink and ash, and in it the green world (of nature, of the heart and body, of words and ideas) is overturned, recycled, and remade.
Radical History and the Early Republic
A new perspective on the cultural politics of Charles Brockden Brown
The novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the most accomplished literary figure in early America, redefined the gothic genre and helped shape some of America’s greatest writers, including Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, little has been said about the latter years of Brown’s career. While his early novels are celebrated for their innovative and experimental style, Brown’s later historical narratives are often dismissed as uninteresting, and Brown himself has been accused of having become “a stodgy conservative.”
Through a re-examination of these neglected historical writings, Mark L. Kamrath takes a fresh look at Brown’s later career and his role in the cultural politics of the early national period. This interdisciplinary study uses transatlantic historical contexts and recent narrative discourse to unveil Brown’s philosophic inquires into the filiopietistic tradition of historiography and increasingly imperialistic notion of American exceptionalism. It recovers a forgotten debate—and radical position—about the nature of historical truth and representation and opens up for contemporary discussion what it means to write about the past.
A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter
An important addition to the literature on modern English poets and poetry
A significant poet in her own right, Ruth Pitter has long deserved this biography, which thoughtfully assesses her place in the British poetic landscape. Popular in the United Kingdom from the early 1930s until her death in 1992, Pitter won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1937 for A Trophy of Arms and was the first woman to win the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 1955. A working artisan from Chelsea, she lived through World War I and World War II and appeared often on BBC radio and television. Pitter had close relationships with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Lord David Cecil, and other Inklings. Author Don W. King’s exploration of these notable friendships brings a critical perspective to Pitter’s remarkable life and work.
Once she found her poetic voice, Pitter created work that is profound, amusing, and beautiful. The lyricism and accessibility of her poems reflect her personality—humorous, independent, brave, kind, stern, proud, and humble. King draws on Pitter’s personal journals and letters to present this overview of her life and also offers a close, critical reading of Pitter’s poetry, tracing her development as a poet.
Hunting the Unicorn is the first treatment to discuss the entire body of Pitter’s verse. It will appeal to scholars and general readers as it places Pitter into the overall context of twentieth-century British poetry and portrays a rather modest, hardworking woman who also “witnessed” the world through the lens of a gifted poet.
The Turn-of-the-Century First Lady through War, Assassination, and Secret Disability
This is the first full-length biography of Ida Saxton McKinley (1847– 1907), the wife of William McKinley, president of the United States from 1897 to his assassination in 1901. Long demeaned by history because she suffered from epilepsy—which the society of her era mistakenly believed to border on mental illness—Ida McKinley was an exceptional woman who exerted a strong influence on her hus-band’s political decisions.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Ida Saxton was the eldest of three children. Throughout her youth, Ida was remarkably independent and energetic. She was interested in art, architecture, and current events, and she was sensitive to the plight of working women. In 1871 she married lawyer and Civil War veteran William McKinley. Following the deaths of their two daughters and her mother, Ida’s physical condition deteriorated. During the years her husband served as a U.S. congressman and as Ohio governor, her health fluctuated.
Throughout William’s 1896 presidential campaign, delegations came to the McKinley home in Canton to hear the candidate speak from the front porch. Occasionally, Ida was healthy enough to speak with and meet political figures; sometimes she simply sat to hear his speeches; at other times she was entirely absent. Her husband’s devotion to her in her state became an attribute of the campaign. Author Carl Sferrazza Anthony shows that despite her frail health, Ida was determined to fulfill as much of her role as First Lady as she could. She made keen and accurate political observations—particularly in assessing the motives of those ambitious for appointments—and her unrelenting lobbying on behalf of Methodist missionary efforts factored into the president’s decision to retain the Philippine Islands for the United States.
This fascinating biography is essential reading for anyone interested in the life and times of an extraordinary First Lady.
Published in cooperation with The National First Ladies Library