This ineptly titled tome is an engrossing blend of true crime, legal drama and acute exposé of racial antagonism. Vanity Fair contributing editor Rose (Guantánamo: The War on Human Rights) examines the brutal rape-murders of seven older white women in Columbus, Ga., in 1977–1978. In the mid-'80s, the police charged Carlton Gary, a charismatic black ladies' man with a long rap sheet; Gary was convicted and sentenced to die. Rose (who, controversially, agreed to turn over new findings to the defense in exchange for their cooperation) presents a riveting case that Gary, still on death row, may be innocent. Police and prosecutors, he contends, may have lied to the jury and withheld possibly exculpatory evidence from Gary's attorneys, whose defense of their indigent client was hamstrung by the judge's refusal to give them funds. Later, Gary's appeals were hobbled by procedural rules; the legal "technicalities" decried on cop shows, the author argues, more often railroad than protect defendants. Rose sets the story against Columbus's history of racial oppression and biased justice, comparing Gary's prosecution to the lynchings of yesteryear. The author harps unconvincingly on the "Southern rape complex" and insinuates more than he demonstrates about the role of Columbus's Big Eddy Club of white movers and shakers. Still, Rose presents a compelling indictment of justice gone awry. Photos. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justiceby David Rose
Called a "dazzlingly reported, supremely elegant" work by The Observer, The Big Eddy Club is an award-winning journalist's exposé of race, injustice, and serial murder in the Deep SouthMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with an investigative edge. Over eight bloody months in the mid-1970s, a serial rapist and murderer/i>/i>/i>
Called a "dazzlingly reported, supremely elegant" work by The Observer, The Big Eddy Club is an award-winning journalist's exposé of race, injustice, and serial murder in the Deep SouthMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with an investigative edge. Over eight bloody months in the mid-1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven affluent, elderly white womenalmost all members of the Big Eddy social club for the town's elite. Carlton Gary, an African American man currently on death row for what came to be known as "the stocking stranglings," came within four hours of being executed in December 2009.
The Big Eddy Club connects Gary's late-twentieth-century trial with racially charged trials in Columbus of a previous era, to explore the broad topic of racial justice in the American South. This paperback edition includes an all-new afterword detailing the recent discovery of potentially exonerating evidence, which led to Gary's last-minute stay of execution and will likely result in a new trial.
Just as it has been for nearly twenty years, this case is provoking question and controversy. And so will this book.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
[D]eeply fascinating . . .a damning, shameful saga.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
A compelling legal drama and exposé of racism in the justice system.
About as good a piece of investigative reporting as you’re ever likely to get.
Sunday Times (UK)
[An] engrossing blend of true crime, legal drama and acute exposé of racial antagonism.
I have never heard a book talked about this much in all my years with the company.
Donna Sommer, Books-A-Million, Columbus, Georgia
- New Press, The
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Meet the Author
David Rose is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has worked for the Guardian, the Observer, and the BBC. He is the author of five previous books, including Guantánamo (The New Press).
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The Big Eddy Club is an excellent piece of journalism. It is not, however, a serial killer book in the usual sense. Rose isn’t interested in analyzing the crime scenes or probing the mind of the killer. Instead he raises the question of whether Carleton Gary actually is the killer. Rose places the crimes, the hunt for the perpetrator, and the trial of the accused in the context of the place where they happened: Columbus, Georgia. He presents a history of racism in the area going back to the end of the Civil War. He gives accounts of lynching and other violence inflicted on African Americans, acts even more savage than the crimes committed by the stocking strangler, and makes the point that no white person had ever been sentenced for killing a black person in Columbus. The Big Eddy Club of the title is a venerable private club for socially prominent folks in Columbus. Many of the strangler’s victims belonged to the club or moved in the same social circles as its members, as did the trial judge, the appeals judges, and the prosecutors involved in Gary’s trial. Rose presents it as a bastion of traditional Southern values and a symbol of institutionalized racism. Only recently the club admitted its first African-American member, one sign that things are finally beginning to change in Columbus. Excellent as it is, The Big Eddy Club makes difficult reading – not because the subject is tedious or the book poorly written. Rose recounts so many past and present injustices against African-Americans, piled one upon another and culminating in Gary’s trial, where the prosecution withholds evidence from the defense and lies to the jury, and where the judge is blatantly biased against the defendant and makes no attempt to disguise his feelings or be fair. It was making me furious. When I reached the account of the judge’s refusing the defense any financial resources then booting them from a courthouse office for failing to pay a long-distance phone bill, I put The Big Eddy Club aside. Not until weeks later did I pick it up again and push on to the inevitable conclusion. After years of appeals, new exculpatory evidence, and blatant evidence of prosecutorial wrongdoing, Carlton Gary is still on death row. If you’re shocked or baffled by the contempt expressed by many African-Americans for our system of justice, read this book.
This is a pretty good book- the result of years of tedious and complex research. Must admit at times I had to skip over portions because there is just too much history that I felt took away from the central storyline. I do feel that the author should have disclosed his connection to the case earlier on. However a good read with some interesting information.
Being from Columbus, the stocking strangling's have always intrigued me. But I feel that this book crossed the line. It did not focus on just the stranglings, it brought to light a lot of things that Columbus and it's inhabitants are trying to move away from and this book has brought it all back to the spotlight. The book focused as much on degrading the city as it did on the actual events of the stocking strangler.