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CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads

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CrimeSong is a double medalist in the 21st Annual IPPY Book Awards, winning a Silver medal in Southeast—Best Regional Non-fiction and a Bronze medal in National for Cover Design—Nonfiction. Also, CrimeSong is a 2016 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards INDIES Finalist (True Crime). CrimeSong plunges readers into a world of violence against women, murders, familicide, su CrimeSong is a double medalist in the 21st Annual IPPY Book Awards, winning a Silver medal in Southeast—Best Regional Non-fiction and a Bronze medal in National for Cover Design—Nonfiction. Also, CrimeSong is a 2016 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards INDIES Finalist (True Crime). 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.


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CrimeSong is a double medalist in the 21st Annual IPPY Book Awards, winning a Silver medal in Southeast—Best Regional Non-fiction and a Bronze medal in National for Cover Design—Nonfiction. Also, CrimeSong is a 2016 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards INDIES Finalist (True Crime). CrimeSong plunges readers into a world of violence against women, murders, familicide, su CrimeSong is a double medalist in the 21st Annual IPPY Book Awards, winning a Silver medal in Southeast—Best Regional Non-fiction and a Bronze medal in National for Cover Design—Nonfiction. Also, CrimeSong is a 2016 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards INDIES Finalist (True Crime). 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.

49 review for CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Disclosure: The author was one of my professors in law school. I think I got a B, but I can't remember; possibly because, like most attorneys, I've blocked out law school. I am continually fascinated by the ties between the murder ballads of the South and the historical Childe ballads. This book does a great job of getting behind the songs to the actual events that inspired them. For a lawyer, it's fun to read about the trials, the forensics (or, often, the lack thereof), and the witnesses. A goo Disclosure: The author was one of my professors in law school. I think I got a B, but I can't remember; possibly because, like most attorneys, I've blocked out law school. I am continually fascinated by the ties between the murder ballads of the South and the historical Childe ballads. This book does a great job of getting behind the songs to the actual events that inspired them. For a lawyer, it's fun to read about the trials, the forensics (or, often, the lack thereof), and the witnesses. A good book, and an enjoyable one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pastel

    I won this book in a Good Reads giveaway! I have been into American folk music for a long, long time, and this book is right up my alley. I was totally engrossed in the 'behind the scenes' of songs that I've been singing for years (in many versions, such as 'Omie Wise'.) A lot of research is packed into this book, with a lot of detail, and I was reading it so fast my eyes crossed. One thing I really loved was the connection to other, lesser known songs. I would definitely get this book as a prese I won this book in a Good Reads giveaway! I have been into American folk music for a long, long time, and this book is right up my alley. I was totally engrossed in the 'behind the scenes' of songs that I've been singing for years (in many versions, such as 'Omie Wise'.) A lot of research is packed into this book, with a lot of detail, and I was reading it so fast my eyes crossed. One thing I really loved was the connection to other, lesser known songs. I would definitely get this book as a present for any folk music lover.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A very well researched and written analysis of the actually crimes that were the basis for these Ballads. The author shows us the facts of the crimes and compares the ballads. He also discusses the way many of the ballads change the facts around and how that in turn could cause the listener to misunderstand what really happened. This was a great collection of stories and very enjoyable to read. The discussions of the facts and the law provided a fascinating glimpse into justice, or lack thereof, A very well researched and written analysis of the actually crimes that were the basis for these Ballads. The author shows us the facts of the crimes and compares the ballads. He also discusses the way many of the ballads change the facts around and how that in turn could cause the listener to misunderstand what really happened. This was a great collection of stories and very enjoyable to read. The discussions of the facts and the law provided a fascinating glimpse into justice, or lack thereof, during those times. I received this book as part of a good reads giveaway but the opinions expressed are solely my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Read this book for an upcoming book club meeting where we are hosting the author, Richard Underwood. Thoroughly enjoyed the book, happy that I took a step outside of my usually reading genres. Highly recommend!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elsa Hay

    This was a very well researched and well written work of nonfiction. Underwood does an excellent job of bringing the old ballads to life and explaining their roots. I was unable to put this book down and read it in one night. Looking forward to more from this author.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paula Boggs

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vikki Matthews

  10. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Underwood

  11. 5 out of 5

    Manny

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pam ray

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tracie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Mullins

  15. 4 out of 5

    Teressa

  16. 4 out of 5

    Critley King

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cori Beasley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda Powell

  19. 5 out of 5

    A.J williams

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  21. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Watts

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda L.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ben Groner III

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelley Tackett

  26. 5 out of 5

    dawn creech

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

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    Judy Terrell

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danni0309

  31. 4 out of 5

    Gracey

  32. 5 out of 5

    Carey

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    Elise

  34. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Harrole

  35. 4 out of 5

    Karen Anderson

  36. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  37. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  38. 4 out of 5

    Robert

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    Mickey

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    Debee Sue

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    Marcia

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    V

  46. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

  47. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  48. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Taylor-Cruz

  49. 5 out of 5

    Dolli

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