Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The American Impulse for Violence

Local author and UI faculty member John Griswold has published a gritty, fictionalized account of the Herrin Massacre of 1922, titled A Democracy of Ghosts.

In June of that year, a miner's strike in southern Illinois flared into a conflict that left 19 strikebreakers and two miners dead.

Having studied the historic record, Griswold artfully re-imagines the tensions between union laborers and the "scabs" sent by business owners to replace them. The barbaric outcome horrified the nation.

If historical fiction, state history, or true crime interest you, take a look at these other titles ...

Bloody Williamson: A Chapter in American Lawlessness
Paul M. Angle (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1992)

The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America
John E. Hallwas (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1999)

Brothers Notorious: The Sheltons: Southern Illinois' Legendary Gangsters
Taylor Pensoneau (Downstate Publications, 2002)

Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers
John E. Hallwas (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2008)

A Knight of Another Sort: Prohibition Days and Charlie Birger
Gary DeNeal (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1998)

Murder in Little Egypt
Darcy O'Brien (Carroll & Graf, 2002)

The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock
Otto A. Rothbert (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1996)

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