THE MURDER OF STANFORD WHITE by Gerald Langford

THE MURDER OF STANFORD WHITE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Langford professes the intent that his revelations concerning Stanford White, Harry Thaw, and Evelyn Nesbil should help illuminate the ""twentieth century revolt against the hypocritical morality of Victorianism"". But, having once stated such a purpose, he proceeds quite flagrantly to ignore it, achieving a volume of little value to either morality or history. The facts of the murder itself are briefly told; the bulk of the work transcribes the lurid details of the first trial, which led to a hung jury, the less sensational second trial. Thaw's commitment to a hospital for the criminally insane, and the sordid events of his subsequent escape, recapture, re-commitment, release, and later life. The nationwide notoriety of the case, and its implications of corruption in the legal machinery, were a great scandal that -- not surprisingly -- has faded with age. Perhaps the most lasting thing to come from the trial was the penetration into common parlance of the phrase ""brain storm"". That Langford takes occasion to sling mud at Cora Taylor and her relationship to novelist Stephen Crane by comparing Miss Taylor to Miss Nesbit does nothing to make the book more attractive, and casts some doubt on Langford's scholarship, in light of new material on the Cranes published in 1960 (Cora Crane, by Lillian Gilkes, Indiana Univ. Press). The verdict: lewd, but dull.

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill