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Butcher's Work

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Member Reviews

This work provides some interesting insights, talking about killers who dominated the headlines of their times, only to fall into the dustbin of history, but the book feels incomplete somehow.

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Wonderfully researched and beautifully written - this true crime book is sublime. Remarkable stories that were all new to me (and I have been reading true crime books since I was a teenager). Each new story starts with a similar tale either before this story or after and is so incredibly interesting. You will find this book hard to put down. First book I have read by this author but definitely not the last. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publishers for an e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion

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Butcher's Work is a look at four different murderers in America, the title taken from the first narrative (story? essay?) The introduction, describing the murder of Marian Park by William Edward Hickman, really drew me in. Anton Probst's story and that of Carl Wanderer were the most capitivating. However, I can't help but thinking this book was missing something. The book's introduction is abbreviated. After telling of Park's murder, the author quickly explains there are some reasons why other murderers are left out of history. The book then has a section on each murderer, explaining the victims and the chronology. There is not much contextualization here; the acts are not put into any historical framing and there was a lack of analysis. I was curious about what research and what coverage had been done on these perpetrators, but the book really comes across as true crime. The lack of conclusion was also disheartening; this could have been the spot for more analysis. Furthermore, why these particular murderers? Surely there are others that stand out, but the author does not explain what the significance of these individuals
To be sure, these are interesting stories, and it made me question, but I wanted more discussion. I think 0this book should be marketed more as a true crime book, rather than a work of history, as it seems to leave out a lot of the typical historical methodology.

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I've enjoyed Schechter's books in the past and liked this one as well. It's always a good thing when I can find true crime cases that I've never heard about before after reading it for nearly 50 years now. This book tells about some that were new to me, so a bit obscure to the average reader. They made Leopold and Loeb (whom I just finished reading an upcoming new book about) look like rank amateurs. I was especially mesmerized by the "Bluebeard" who got so many women to marry him under so many names. Then he would make off with most or all of their assets.

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This is a well written body of work packed full of in depth case information. The description of the time the cases take place put you in a front row seat to the mayhem.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. Even tho I knew that cases quite well as is I learned things I didn’t.

A true crime lovers must read!

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This true crime book is difficult to read for two reasons: the 19th century murder cases explored in the book are grisly (hence the title). Also, the author's writing style is filled with dry, expository background material which slows down the reader. Schechter makes it difficult for the reader to engage with the material.

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I like Harold Schechter's books and this one was no different. It was interesting and told stories I'd not heard before.
I'd recommend this book to add to your true crime library.

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My biggest pet peeve with true crime is people not only copy and paste but will totally rewrite the same story over and over again. That is not a problem with this book. Not only of these stories obscure, but they are so interesting. In One of the stories the murder victims preacher sold the case and found the culprit. There were so many stories that I hadn’t heard of and he would only reference popular ones to get to the ones unheard of before. I truly enjoyed this book and although I haven’t finished it yet is it super long I wanted to write this review so others could enjoy Butcher’s Work bye Harold Schechtner. This isn’t the first book I have read by him and I must say I look forward to reading more. I received this book from net Gally and I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own.

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