03-03-2008 01:39 PM - edited 03-03-2008 01:40 PM
Dear Book Explorers:
I hope by now you trust me when I say something is worthy of your attention. On Tuesday March 4th at noon I will be doing a live interview with award-winning Vanity Fair reporter David Rose, the author of The Big Eddy Club, an investigative expose of race, injustice, and serial murder in the Deep South.
Over the course of eight bloody months in the 1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven elderly white women by strangling them in their beds. In 1986, eight years after the last murder, an African American, Carlton Gary, was convicted and sentenced to death. Though many in the city doubt his guilt, he remains on death row.
David Rose has followed this case for a decade in an investigation that led him to the Big Eddy Club—an all-white, members-only club in Columbus, frequented by the town's most prominent judges and lawyers . . . as well as most of the seven murdered women.
The Big Eddy Club is a gripping, revealing drama, full of evocatively drawn characters, insidious institutions, and the extraordinary connections that bind past and present. The book is also a compelling, accessible, and timely exploration of race and criminal justice, not just in the context of the South but in the entire United States, as it addresses the corruption of due process as a tool of racial oppression.
As you know by now, I am the editorial director of the Literary Ventures Fund. We have put our support behind this book to make sure that it finds the largest possible audience. Carlton Gary's attorneys have told us that this added spotlight may make a difference. But no need to take just my word for it -- see the list of impressive reviews, below. And please join us at noon on Tuesday, March 4. David will check in afterwards and will answer your posts all week and for as long as the discussion goes on.
Thanks to all,
"A gripping and brilliant piece of reporting that both lays bare an appalling miscarriage of justice and exposes its origins in the tortured history of the South."
"A compelling legal drama and expose of racism in the justice system... a convincing case of separate but unequal justice for blacks and whites."
"Rose spent 10 years reporting this case, and his meticulous analysis is devastating... Rose's writing is persuasive and assured."
"Its story is compelling. Questions raised beg for answers. It paints a picture of our town's loss of innocence."
"We see from time to time in this country conversations here and there about the death penalty, about those who sit on death row, about miscarriages of justice, about the way the death penalty system is applied in a racist and unfair way. But every now and then, we come across a story that kind of wraps all that together, and that's what 'The Big Eddy Club' is all about... David Rose, thank you for your wonderful investigative journalism."
"An engrossing blend of true crime, legal drama and acute exposé of racial antagonism... a compelling indictment of justice gone awry."
Message Edited by ande on 03-03-2008 01:40 PM
03-03-2008 02:15 PM
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
03-03-2008 05:07 PM
03-04-2008 12:00 PM
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03-04-2008 12:12 PM
In 1995, Georgia executed a brit, Nicholas Ingram. That case shocked me in several respects, and the following year I persuaded the Observer, the UK Sunday paper for which I was then crime and legal editor, to send me there for a couple of weeks to write a big feature piece. That led me to Columbus... and before long, to the case of Carlton Gary and the stocking stranglings, the subject (or part subject) of the Big Eddy Club.
03-04-2008 12:15 PM
03-04-2008 12:21 PM
03-04-2008 12:27 PM
As to what that was and is: it's a huge question, that takes up a large part of the book. I also think the situation is changing: slowly, attitudes are changing. But the short reply is that Columbus (pop. a little under 200,000) is an old, conservative place (one third African-American) with quite a dark and sometimes bloody history of racism, from pre-Civil War times onward. Jim Crow, lynching and the Klan all made their presence felt, and the book tries to illuminate some of the continuities between those times and the ere of Gary's trial. Some of the connections are very direct.
03-04-2008 12:29 PM
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03-04-2008 12:35 PM
03-04-2008 12:37 PM