Saving Sin City: William Travers Jerome, Stanford White, and the Original Crime of the Century

Pegasus. May 2018. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9781681777467. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681778068. CRIME
In June 1906, Harry Thaw, scion of a wealthy Pittsburgh family, shot architect Stanford White in a jealous rage over chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit. The collision of beauty, money, passion, and murder was catnip for the press, who called it the Trial of the Century. This oft-told tale still fascinates, and historian Cummings finds a new way of examining the case and its implications, delving deeply into the life and work of William Travers Jerome, a crusading lawyer and political hopeful whose prosecution of Thaw was thwarted by the very climate of corruption he fought for years. Born into the same wealth and privilege as White, Travers became a crusader for reform, taking on the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine with varying success. Frustrated in his efforts to bring down the mighty, he saw the high-profile Thaw case as the make-or-break point for his career. The attempt failed, and the man who once sought the governor's mansion became barely a footnote in history.
VERDICT Cummings brings the Gilded Age to vivid life, with the barest suggestion of connections to today's click-bait news culture and epidemic of "affluenza." For popular history buffs as well as true crime fans.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing