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Bestial

The Savage Trail of a True American Monster

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FROM SOCIAL OUTCAST TO NECROPHILE AND MURDERER -- HIS APPALLING CRIMES STUNNED AN ERA.

San Francisco, the 1920s. In an age when nightmares were relegated to the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe and distant tales of the Whitechapel murders, a real-life monster terrorized America. His acts of butchery have proved him one of history's fiercest madmen.

As an infant, Earle Leonard Nelson possessed the power to unsettle his elders. As a child he was unnaturally obsessed with the Bible; before he reached puberty, he had an insatiable, aberrant sex drive. By his teens, even Earle's own family had reason to fear him. But no one in the bone-chilling winter of
1926 could have predicted that his degeneracy would erupt in a sixteen-month frenzy of savage rape, barbaric murder, and unimaginable defilement -- deeds that would become the hallmarks of one of the most notorious fiends of the twentieth century, whose blood-lust would not be equaled until the likes of
Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Drawing on the "gruesome, awesome, compelling reporting" (Ann Rule) that is his trademark, Harold Schechter takes a dark journey into the mind of an unrepentant sadist -- and brilliantly lays bare the myth of innocence that shrouded a bygone era.

Photo Credit:

Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture. Renowned for his true-crime writing, he is the author of the nonfiction books Fatal, Fiend, Bestial, Deviant, Deranged, Depraved, and, with David Everitt, The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. He is also the author of Nevermore and The Hum Bug, the acclaimed historical novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe. He lives in New York State.

  • Publisher: Pocket Books (June 30, 2008)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781439117309

The Boston Book Review America's foremost pop historian of serial murder.

The Boston Book Review Yet another essential addition to Schechter's canon of serial murder history...deserves to be read and pored over by the hard-crime enthusiast as well as devotees of social history.

Journal Star (Peoria, IL) [A] deftly written, unflinching account....A fascinating police procedural....Schechter's macabre stories unfold like finely-tuned crime novels...well-documented nightmares for anyone who dares to look.

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