This riveting work of social history documents the role the news media played in spurring two murders revolving around Edmund Creffield, a charismatic "Holy Roller" evangelist who arrived in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1903 and quickly enraged the citizenry by defiantly challenging the religious and sexual mores of the time. When ardent female followers began refusing to speak to their nonbelieving husbands, vigilantes tarred and feathered Creffield, eventually forcing him to flee to Seattle.Once there, Creffield was murdered by George Mitchell, the brother of one of his followers. The news media in Seattle and Oregon applauded George's defense of his sister Esther's honor, influencing the jury. Citing temporary insanity, the jury quickly acquitted George, pleasing the cheering crowds and the approving media. As George prepared to return to Oregon, however, Esther shot him point-blank at Union Station and another moralizing media frenzy broke out. Esther was sent to Western State Hospital and committed suicide after her release. Her short life was among the most poignant of the dozens wrecked by the controversy.Gerald Baldasty's examination of Seattle and Oregon media coverage shows the tenacity with which frontier media protected traditional mores, particularly the notion that men are responsible for women's purity and have the right to take action if they feel another man has besmirched a woman's honor. Expertly crafted in a brisk, accessible style, Vigilante Newspapers illustrates through the tragic tale of Edmund Creffield, George Mitchell, and Esther Mitchell how the news media defined social deviance using vague concepts such as hysteria and temporary insanity, vigorously defending the established order of religious, class, and gender norms.
Edward Teach Blackbeard-is one of the legends of the so-called golden age of piracy. There have been so many accounts of his short, bloody career that it is hard to see him and his times in a clear historical light. This new study looks for the man behind the legend, and it gives a vivid insight into the nature of piracy and the naval operations that were launched against it.The narrative focuses on the roles played by the Governor of Virginia Alexander Spotswood who masterminded the pursuit of Blackbeard, and Lieutenant Robert Maynard of HMS Pearl who led the pursuit and finally cornered Teach and his crew and, after a vicious fight, saw him killed.In vivid detail, it reveals how the hunt for Blackbeard was orchestrated, how he was tracked down, and the parts played in the drama by the larger-than-life leading characters in this extraordinary story. This freshly researched study of the pursuit of the notorious pirate and his crew—and of the final fight in which Blackbeard lost his life—makes compelling reading.
This satirical short novel displays a side of Cooper unfamiliar to many modern readers. It is told from the point of view of an actual handkerchief: its origins in a French flax field, how it was passed around New York City society in the 1830s, and its eventual return to its maker. In this story, Cooper makes a point of ridiculing Victorian materialism—which places value on consumption, not production.
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