The author of "American Holocaust" reveals how Hawaii was transformed by the 1931 trial of a socialite mother, who arranged for the kidnapping and murder of a nonwhite islander accused of raping her daughter.The author of "American Holocaust" reveals how Hawaii was transformed by the 1931 trial of a socialite mother, who arranged for the kidnapping and murder of a nonwhite islander accused of raping her daughter.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-03-07 This story has all the elements of the most salacious of true crime storiesArape, a contract killing, racism and two sensational trials just for starters. But the larger social-historical ramifications are significant and thought provoking. Stannard (American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World), a professor of American studies at the University of Hawaii, places at the center of the tale wealthy debutante Thalia Massie, wife of naval officer Tommie, who moved with him to the "Paradise of the Pacific" in the late 1920s to start married life. A wild child with a history of chain-smoking and hard drinking, Thalia was profoundly bored with the pace and atmosphere of the islands and carried on in a highly unsuitable manner. On a September night in 1931, after leaving a party for some fresh air, Thalia claimed to have been raped by a group of young islanders. Prejudices on both sides were inflamed, and their trial ended in a hung jury. Thalia's aristocratic mother, Grace Fortescue, then arranged the abduction and murder of one of the alleged rapists, and her legendary but unlikely legal defender was no less a figure than Clarence Darrow. Stannard's measured storytelling and meticulous research yield dividends for the reader, and chapter notes provide some of the most interesting tidbits. Agent, Susan Rabiner. (On sale Apr. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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