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THE BUTCHER, THE EMBEZZLER, AND THE FALL GUY

A FAMILY MEMOIR OF SCANDAL AND GREED IN THE MEAT INDUSTRY

A dazzling account that deftly combines crime, drama, history, and introspective remembrance.

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In this nonfiction book, the daughter of a renowned poet attempts to unravel the mystery of her grandfather’s potential involvement in a corporate scandal.

Cherington never met her grandfather Alpha LaRue “A.L.” Eberhart. But she grew up hearing her father, the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Richard Eberhart, tearfully relate the great injustice A.L. once suffered while working for Geo. A. Hormel & Company, then a sizable meat-processing firm and now a multibillion-dollar conglomerate. In 1922, A.L. was asked to resign by the company’s CEO and founder, George Hormel, after it was discovered that the comptroller, Ransome Josiah “Cy” Thomson, had embezzled more than a million dollars. The resignation request was based on a “flimsy pretext”: that A.L. personally borrowed money from the company’s brokers. Meanwhile, there were suspicions “that A.L. had known Cy was stealing.” Eberhart often recounted the tale with furious indignation—in his eyes, the innocent A.L. was “six feet of manhood and not a mark of fear,” while Hormel was a “bastard, all greed for laying father so low.” But the author gradually became suspicious of her father’s penchant for poetic embellishment. She began to question the “family mythology” and to reflect with impressive sensitivity on the allure of such fabricated histories: “We cling to our myths, especially heady and intoxicating ones. We want to believe them as truth. We help in their construction by denying what’s in front of us and filling in holes to reinforce their validity. And in every great myth there are heroes, ones we don’t want to see fail.” She conducted an investigation and uncovered some discomfiting details—her grandfather was likely friends with Thomson, and at one time the comptroller inexplicably paid off one of A.L.’s loans, an incriminating piece of evidence. Moreover, there were rumors in the aftermath of the scandal that A.L. was an accomplice to Thomson’s crimes. Cherington rigorously combs all the available evidence and reconstructs not only the details of the scandal, but also the history of the company and the industry it came to dominate as well as her grandfather’s significant contributions to both. This is a mesmerizing story, one filled with drama and suspense and told with remarkable emotional insights.

A dazzling account that deftly combines crime, drama, history, and introspective remembrance.

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781647420833

Page Count: 272

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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