A MONSTER PREYED UPON THE CHILDREN OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY BOSTON. HIS CRIMES WERE APPALLING -- AND YET HE WAS LITTLE MORE THAN A CHILD HIMSELF. When fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy was arrested in 1874, a nightmarish reign of terror over an unsuspecting city came to an end. The Boston Boy Fiend was...
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A MONSTER PREYED UPON THE CHILDREN OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY BOSTON. HIS CRIMES WERE APPALLING -- AND YET HE WAS LITTLE MORE THAN A CHILD HIMSELF. When fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy was arrested in 1874, a nightmarish reign of terror over an unsuspecting city came to an end. The Boston Boy Fiend was imprisoned at last. But the complex questions sparked by his ghastly crime spree -- the hows and whys of vicious juvenile crime -- were as relevant in the so-called Age of Innocence as they are today. Jesse Pomeroy was outwardly repellent in appearance, with a gruesome dead eye; inside, he was deformed beyond imagining. A sexual sadist of disturbing precocity, he satisfied his atrocious appetites by abducting and torturing his child victims. But soon, the teenagers bloodlust gave way to another obsession: murder. Harold Schechter, whose true-crime masterpieces are well-documented nightmares for anyone who dares to look (Peoria Journal Star), brings his acclaimed mix of page-turning storytelling, brilliant insight, and fascinating historical documentation to Fiend -- an unforgettable account from the annals of American crime.from via
Youve probably never heard of Jesse Pomeroy unless youve read Caleb Carrs 1994 novel, The Alienist, which features a brief prison interview with Americas most famous lifer. But this legendary bogeyman will be hard to forget after you read his life story. Pomeroy tortured and murdered children in Boston in the 1870s. He was himself a child at the time, only 14 when he was finally arrested. Author Harold Schechter, a New York literature professor who has made a name for himself documenting nonfiction accounts of heinous crimes, deftly resurrects the past from newspaper accounts, letters, and other historical documents, including a reform schools massive volume disturbingly titled History of Boys. Schechter doesnt take the easy way out. He could have just pieced together reports and accounts, letting the record stiffly tell the tale. Instead, he blends his research into a seamless story, fascinating in its horror, as well as its ability to turn the century-old characters into real people. The reader will be pleased to find copies of engravings, photos, and sketches of Pomeroy, from his heyday as boy-fiend, as well as his later days behind bars, when fellow inmates changed his nickname to a less-sinister Grandpa. Schechter sets out to teach a lesson, and in Fiend he succeeds at reminding us that modern times dont have a monopoly on juvenile terror.