Over eight bloody months in the mid-1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven affluent, elderly white women by strangling them in their beds. In 1986, eight years after the last murder, an African American, Carlton Gary, was convicted for these crimes and sentenced to death. Though to this day many in the city doubt his guilt, he remains on death row.
Award-winning reporter David Rose has followed this case for a decade, in an investigation that led him to, among other places, The Big Eddy Club—an all-white, private, members-only club in Columbus, frequented by the town’s most prominent judges and lawyers . . . as well as most of the seven murdered women. In this setting, Rose brings to light the city’s bloodstained history of racism, lynching, and unsolved, politically motivated murder.
Framed by the tale of two lynchings—one illegally carried out at the start of the last century, and the other carried out with legal due process at the end of it, The Big Eddy Club is a gripping, revealing drama, full of evocatively drawn characters, insidious institutions, and the extraordinary connections that bind past and present. The book is also a compelling, accessible, and timely exploration of race and criminal justice, not only in the context of the South, but in the whole of the United States, as it addresses the widespread corruption of due process as a tool of racial oppression.
|Publisher:||New Press, The|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.