CrimeSong plunges readers into a world of violence against women, murders, familicide, suicides, brutal mob action, and many examples of a failed justice system. This compelling investigation of the gripping true crimes behind American ballads dispels myths and legends and brings to life a cast of characters both loathsome and innocent shadowy history, courtroom dramas, murders, mayhem and music.
Although these ballads and stories are set in specific times, cultures, and places, they present timeless, universal themes of love, betrayal, jealousy, and madness through true-life tales that are both terrifying and familiar stories that could be ripped from today s headlines.
In CrimeSong, law professor and authentic storyteller Richard H. Underwood recreates in engaging and folksy prose the true facts behind twenty-four Southern murder ballads. Underwood has resurrected these stories and shares them with the reader through his old lawyer trifocals.
He presents his case studies, documented through contemporary news accounts and court records, as a series of dramas filled with jump-off-the-page real and memorable characters.
Some of the murder ballads more familiar to readers, musicians, and fans of traditional, Appalachian, Bluegrass, and folk music include "Omie Wise," "Ellen Smith," "Frankie Silver," "Frankie and Albert" (or "Frankie and Johnny)," "Delia," "Tom Dula," "The Lawson Family Murders," and "Freda Bolt." Among the more obscure is the story of "General Denhardt" and the death of the widow Verna Garr Taylor, "who was known as the most beautiful woman in Oldham County, [Kentucky]." Also included, among others, is "Henry Clay Beattie," the 1911 murder in Richmond, Virginia, that "brought New York-style newspaper sensationalism to the South, like the coverage of the 1836 case of Helen Jewett and the 1841 case of Mary Rogers.
|Publisher:||Shadelandhouse Modern Press, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Underwood was born in Columbus, Ohio, where he spent his early years. He graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University in 1969 and then entered the army. He served four years, with tours of duty in Germany and Vietnam, and later served as the security officer at the Presidio of San Francisco. Underwood left the army with the rank of captain, and he received a number of decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star. He then attended the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1976. During his youth and college years, he developed an interest in American folk music.
After law school, Richard Underwood served as a law clerk for the Honorable David S. Porter, a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in Cincinnati. He practiced several years with the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease in Columbus, Ohio, before taking a teaching position at the College of Law, University of Kentucky. He has taught a variety of courses, including Evidence, Scientific and Forensic Evidence, Litigation Skills (Trial Advocacy), Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, Insurance Law, Remedies, Law and Medicine, Bioethics, and Professional Responsibility (Legal Ethics).