Shot in the Heart

Shot in the Heart

4.5 12
by Mikal Gilmore
     
 

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Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner's Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. In Shot in the Heart, he tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family: their mother, a blacksheep daughter of unforgivingSee more details below

Overview

Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner's Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. In Shot in the Heart, he tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family: their mother, a blacksheep daughter of unforgiving Mormon farmers; their father, a drunk, thief, and con man. It was a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder. Mikal, burdened with the guilt of being his father's favorite and the shame of being Gary's brother, gracefully and painfully relates a murder tale "from inside the house where murder is born... a house that, in some ways, [he has] never been able to leave." Shot in the Heart is the history of an American family inextricably tied up with violence, and the story of how the children of this family committed murder and murdered themselves in payment for a long lineage of ruin. Haunting, harrowing, and profoundly affecting, Shot in the Heart exposes and explores a dark vein of American life that most of us would rather ignore. It is a book that will leave no reader unchanged.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This L.A. Times award winner by the brother of murderer Gary Gilmore tells a multigenerational tale of familial abuse. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Although this abridgment lacks much of the detail of the printed version (LJ 5/15/94), it remains an engrossing account of the family history of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore (protagonist of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song). The author, the youngest brother of the Gilmore clan, chronicles the lives of his parents and brothers based on his own recollections as well as facts uncovered by interviews with family members and acquaintances. The story's appeal lies in its chronicling of the history of a career criminal who made headlines by refusing to appeal his execution. However, it has more widespread and personal appeal as a tale of family conflict and marital discord and the effects of parental violence on children. Will Patton's narration, with its deliberate pace and quiet tone, evokes the sorrow and mystery surrounding a troubled family. Highly recommended.-Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, Vt.
Brad Hooper
A startling book by a senior editor at "Rolling Stone" magazine, who, more relevantly, is the youngest brother of Gary Gilmore, the convicted murderer (and subject of Norman Mailer's "Executioner's Song" who was executed by firing squad in Utah in 1977 amid tremendous publicity. Younger brother Gilmore has come out of the closet, so to speak, after all these years neither to excuse his older sibling nor to cash in on his notoriety. He does so as catharsis, to finally reestablish a connection to a family, however dysfunctional it was and however distanced from it he felt at one time, who spawned a killer. His book is overlong but effective nonetheless, as Mikal seeks to identify and understand the family environment that engendered Gary's violent nature. Both parents came to their marriage with considerable psychological baggage, but it was Gary's father's violent behavior that seems to have been the primary ingredient contributing to the kind of man Gary became. This is not a book of pat answers, but rather, a sad, sensitive, well-written account from the heart.
From the Publisher
"One of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years." — Deidre Donahue, USA Today.

"Remarkable, astonishing... Shot in the Heart reads like a combination of Brothers Karamazov and a series of Johnny Cash ballads... chilling, heartbreaking, and alarming." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.

"Mesmerizing... riveting and immensely moving... Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage that just happens to be a page-turner." — Daphne Merkin,The New Yorker.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307423641
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/23/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
108,992
File size:
5 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"One of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years." — Deidre Donahue, USA Today.

"Remarkable, astonishing... Shot in the Heart reads like a combination of Brothers Karamazov and a series of Johnny Cash ballads... chilling, heartbreaking, and alarming." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.

"Mesmerizing... riveting and immensely moving... Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage that just happens to be a page-turner." — Daphne Merkin,The New Yorker.

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