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Depraved: The Shocking True Story of America's First Serial Killer Hardcover – 1 Sep 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671732161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671732165
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,472,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Ann Rule

This is "must" read for crime buffs!

"The Boston Book Review"

An astonishing piece of popular history.

Caleb Carr

author of "The Alienist"

Riveting....Brilliantly detailed....Amazing.

"The Boston Book Review" An astonishing piece of popular history.

Caleb Carr author of "The Alienist" Riveting....Brilliantly detailed....Amazing.

Ann Rule This is "must" read for crime buffs! --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Harold Schechter is Professor at Queen's College, The City University of New York. Renowned for his true-crime writing, he is the author of five non-fiction books: BESTIAL, DEVIANT, DERANGED, DEPRAVED and THE A TO Z ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL KILLERS. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Harold Schechter once again delivers a brilliantly detailed account, this time about H.H. Holmes and his Castle of Horror.
Born Herman Webster Mudgett, the alias H.H. Holmes would become famous worldwide for being not only the architect of the infamous "Castle of Horror", but also as an evil genius, who posed amongst others as a doctor and an inventor. His macabre story is covered in mesmerising detail, and together with Schechter's writing style, will definetly keep you avidly turning the pages. Holmes, eventually, was brought to ground by an insurance scam that went awry, and the true horror of his dwelling abode and murderous career was revealed.
Praise must once again be bestowed on Harold Schechter, for his name not only represents pure quality, but guarantees it. Any true crime buff should have a copy of this book and also "Deranged" (Albert Fish) and Deviant (Ed Gein) amongst their collection.
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By A Customer on 15 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
There's nothing new under the sun. Or at least, very little, particularly this late in human history. Could the Victorians have imagined our world-spanning communications network carrying information at the speed of light in pulses of electricity, for example? Yes, very easily, because they had a network like that too: it was called the telegraph.
And could the Victorians have imagined our salacious, dishonest media concentrating sex and horror in an ever-quickening race to stimulate the public's jaded appetite? Yes, because they had that kind of media too, all the way from sensationalist newspapers to quickie paperbacks brought out to cash in on a currently notorious trial.
Like the trial described in this book, that of Herman Webster Mudgett, alias Henry Howard Holmes, a Chicago doctor, chemist, and fraudster whom this book describes as America's first serial killer. First *known* serial killer, maybe, but disputes over his claim to priority aside, Holmes is certainly one of the most interesting entries in an ever-growing list, and this book, rarely in the true-crime genre, doesn't let an interesting subject go to waste. Brought down by a life-insurance scam that went wrong, Holmes became the center of world-wide attention when the true nature of his giant, jerry-built boarding-house in Chicago was uncovered by police searches. It had been a kind of killing factory, with concealed gas-pipes, peep-holes, trap-doors, and chutes guaranteeing Holmes a steady supply of victims for a sinister cellar complete with dissecting-table, surgical instruments, and furnace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story of H.H. Holmes is interesting, but this book is not very well written. I would not recommend it, but did finish it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting true story - really well written and fascinating
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 80 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, evocative and suspenseful. 4 May 2017
By Frances K. Harville - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading "Devil in the White City" by Eric Larsen and then "The Devil's Gentleman" by Harold Schechter, I picked up this book to read on my Kindle. The book is fascinating, and Schechter makes it read like fiction. He is highly skilled in evoking a past era, and the chase to track Holmes down and find the missing children is chillingly suspenseful. I have since read all of Schechter's true crime work, and I highly recommend him (although "The Mad Sculptor" was not my favorite).

I read a lot of true crime books, as well as books of all sorts--history, fiction, classic fiction, mysteries, sci fi, fantasy, nonfiction, etc. I'm an English teacher and book devourer, and do not often write reviews.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!! 31 Oct. 2012
By jofi00 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliant read!!!

Harold Schechter is my favorite author these days and this book is why.

He talks about the serial killer H. H. Holmes and details what this monster did. Even though I knew who the killer was - I'd watched a documentary with Harold Schechter explaining what Holmes had manufactured, so I knew, I thought, everything about him - I was STILL constantly surprised by the revelations of this book! That is all because of the details that Schechter tediously supplied. Yet the read was not filled with meaningless clutter; every detailed added something to the overall tale.

Holmes was, of course, a serial killer with an appetite for pretty women and money. He built a haphazard castle to carry out his deeds with as little outside knowledge as possible. The building served its horrific purpose. But the book covers more than just the gore. It covers Holmes's upbringing and defines what makes a psychopath.

I cannot clearly define how Schechter makes the reader understand the gravity of serial murder, but he always does. You are magnetically pulled back to bygone eras as you delve into the lives and minds of the long deceased and often forgotten VICTIMS of serial murderers. Though you know who the killer is and what he will do, Schechter walks you through the moments of sobriety on the evening of the murder where, more often than you'd think, the killer and his victim share their last dinner together. You understand the loss of the parents that search for their lost child - no matter their child's age. And then you see the callousness of the killer who may greet the loved ones of those he just murdered.

It is a study of humanity, the study of serial murder. It is a look into the unthinkable. And if you can stare the unthinkable in the face like the many police profilers of our day, then you may be able to prevent its proliferation in the future.

A must read for any true crime enthusiast!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars H. H. Holmes 4 Nov. 2016
By Jan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I guess most of us have known someone who, like H. H. Holmes, was a practiced and believable liar. Herman Webster Mudgett (Holmes) is America's first serial killer, as described in Harold Schechter's Depraved. Mr. Schleicher portrays Holmes as a brilliant demon, and Holmes agrees he is a devil. The book is well written. I felt as if I were a fly on the wall during Holmes's trial.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, needs editing 5 April 2012
By Mia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like others who've commented here, I was interested in learning more about H.H. Holmes after reading Devil in the White City and this book was listed as a reference book so I was excited that it was available for Kindle. Although I read it cover-to-cover, this book has some challenges. The writing is lukewarm for me. There's a lot of "...and that was the last time anyone saw her alive!" type of thing. A bit overdone. It's definitely long winded in parts and especially in those parts, there are a LOT of editing issues. I found a lot of errors in the book, which may be from the translation from paper to digital. It seems like someone just used OCR to translate the text, so it was inaccurate quite a bit. One thing that comes to mind is that there are a LOT of instances where the word should be "him" but is "time" instead. And lots of sentences that repeat -- where it feels like there was some re-writing and the author forgot to delete the first draft.

Over all, it's a good overview of H.H. Holmes, his crimes, and his victims. It's a lot of great info, but just a little rough getting to it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who can't love a Harold Schechter book? 13 Mar. 2013
By Martin Muravyav - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok, I live in Illinois so H.H Holmes is a legend here and Schechter captured him VERY well. I would recommend any Schechter book. They are well researched and well written. I have actually read this twice because quite frankly, Holmes crimes are so confusing and he traveled the USA killing people that its hard to "track him" but that is not because of the author (who does a great job explaining it) but because Holmes was such a nut case.

If you like true crime....BUY THIS BOOK. It will fascinate you!
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