The Untold Story of the Killing Spree that Changed America
by Harry N. Maclean
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 28 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 27 Oct 2023
Catapult, Counterpoint Press, and Soft Skull Press, Counterpoint
On January 21, 1958, nineteen-year-old Charles Starkweather changed the course of crime in the United States when he murdered the parents and sister of his fourteen-year-old girlfriend (and possible accomplice), Caril Ann Fugate, in a house on the edge of Lincoln, Nebraska. They then drove to the nearby town of Bennet, where a farmer was robbed and killed. When Starkweather’s car broke down, the teenagers who stopped to help were murdered and jammed into a storm cellar. By the time the dust settled, ten innocent people were dead and the city of Lincoln was in a state of terror. Schools closed. Men with rifles perched on the roofs of their houses. The National Guard patrolled the street. If there is a cultural version of PTSD, the town suffered from it.
Starkweather and Fugate’s capture and arrest, and the resulting trials about the killing spree, received worldwide coverage. The event would serve as the inspiration for the movie Natural Born Killers and Springsteen’s iconic album Nebraska. Today, the story has dropped far from the national consciousness. With new material, new reporting, and new conclusions about the possible guilt or innocence of Fugate, the tale is ripe for an updated and definitive retelling. In Starkweather, bestselling author Harry N. MacLean tells the story of this shocking event and its lasting impact, a crime spree that struck deep into the heart of the heartland.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR STARKWEATHER
“Starkweather is a profound and beautiful reexamination and reinvestigation of a story that is instantly familiar. Not simply essential reading for true crime fans, but for anyone who wants to understand the root of our fascination with the genre. Mythbusting and surprising, MacLean's latest transcends the genre that it also elevates.”
—Ivy Pochoda, author of Sing Her Down
“MacLean offers the most comprehensive work to date on the horrific murder spree launched in Nebraska by nineteen-year-old Charles Starkweather. As a community insider, MacLean presents a convincing case that the myth of teenage lovers on a murderous lark must be remedied. True-crime fans will be enthralled.”
—Dr. Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology and award-winning author of Confession of a Serial Killer
“Spellbinding. Starkweather is not only a chronicle of Charlie’s brief life and crimes, but also a skillful examination of the dark moment when a shocking murder spree in an unexpected place collided with a nascent national media—and changed America forever. Anyone today who seriously wonders how our crimescape became so freakish must read this book. It's one of our most meticulously researched and important crime-history books in a long time.”
—Ron Franscell, New York Times bestselling author of ShadowMan: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling
“Harry N. MacLean’s Starkweather examines the famous killing spree committed by a teenage couple, nineteen-year-old Charles Starkweather and fourteen-year-old Caril Fugate—a spree that shocked millions and changed forever how America thought of violence. Murder is a complex event. Its consequences ripple forever through the lives of those left to live with what was lost. What was lost in the Starkweather killings has never been so fully revealed as it is here, in MacLean’s uncommon close reading of this legendary tragedy. Caril, who walked out of high school one afternoon and entered history in a way that nobody could have seen coming, is, in a way, the secret story in Starkweather. We thought we knew the story, but the author may have uncovered what had been hidden in plain sight since 1958.”
—Mikal Gilmore, author of Shot in the Heart
“Starkweather is a comprehensive, poetic, and brutal examination of American violence and our collective propensity for self-deception that upends everything you think you know about these so-called natural born killers. MacLean has penned an instant classic.”
—Tod Goldberg, author of Gangsters Don’t Die