Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
“A deeply researched and morbidly fascinating chronicle of one of America’s most notorious female killers.” —The New York Times Book Review
An Amazon Charts bestseller.
In the pantheon of serial killers, Belle Gunness stands alone. She was the rarest of female psychopaths, a woman who engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed but mostly for the sheer joy of...more
Truth be told, the work itself was very much worth the read (and a boatload of stars), but... while I realize this author has written other relatively well-received works, I have a hard time believing that he cou ...more
The good elements:
🏠 The details!: The author gives you so many details and so much historical context; it's awesome. When I first started reading it, I immediately thought, "Oh, I'm going to have an awesome Erik Larson or ...more
I've read a lot of true crime books over the years, and I have to say this is one of the more bizarre cases. In the early 1900s, Belle Gunness lured unsuspecting men to her Indiana "murder farm". And these men vanished without a trace, that is until their butchered remains were eventually found buried on the farm. If you are unfamiliar with the case, I highly recommend you don't look up any information ahead of time because part of what makes this book interesting is all of the twists a ...more
Overall this was a great telling of Mrs Gunness’ life and impact on society at the time. My one problem was the author’s overuse of ‘Nigger Liz’ throughout and explaining that that was what she was known as at the time each time he used the slur. Mrs Gunness was known as lots of different names after her deeds were found out but the author didn’t feel the need to go about them the way he did Ms Smith. It felt like he was justifying using the term and wa ...more
However this particular genre, albeit non fiction, is one that somehow I've avoided...95% of time that is.
Don't get me wrong, not squeamish or afraid of blood at all, just most of the time I don't get a book that simply tells the facts and doesn't try its hardest to persuade you to believe whatever theory the author defends.
Well as luck would have, or simply Kindle taking a peek at my resea ...more
There aren't answers to these rhetorical questions and there aren't definitive answers to the case of Belle Gunness, which Schechter muses briefly about at the end of the book.
For a book about Hell's Princess, a lot of time is spe ...more
I've read another book about Belle Gunness, which was ok, but left me wanting to know more. I'm just delighted Schechter wrote this book--the answer to my wish for a more thorough treatment of the killer and her many crimes.
For what it's worth, I think she killed her kids, plus another woman to make it look look like she died. Then she took off for parts unknown. It's too bad that the California lady was who she said she was. It would've made for an excellent en ...more
Okay, I wont even lie. I am so freaking happy that I was not born around the time that Belle was on her killing streak. I thank my lucky stars every day. Now before I dove into this book, I honestly had no clue who Belle Gunness was. Nope, I just went into because I've been on a murder mystery kick. Since this book is based off a true murderer, well shit - I had to dive into it!
At the beginning, this book was completely interesting. We get to meet Belle and learn about her v ...more
I enjoyed the first third of the book, but found the rest disappointing. I suppose I did not realize the mystery was not Belle herself but rather than two-thirds of the book is dedicated to speculation about the circumstances surrounding her death.
The author's excessive use of the "n" word seemed like using historical license to repeatedly use a slur for no reason at all. The author's insistent descriptions of how hideous and obese characters were, only to include their photos which re ...more
If you've followed my reviews for awhile, you'll know that true crime and historical fiction are my jam. I love these genres and will pick up any book that falls under true crime. HELL'S PRINCESS was one of those rare books where I didn't know any information about the subject. Belle Gunness, the Butcher of Men, sounded intriguing and I was ready to learn more about her.
This felt more like a regurgitation of some ...more
"She is entitled to be known to future generations as the arch fiend of the twentieth century."
Hell's Princess is a good introduction to Belle Gunness if you don't know anything about her. If you are familiar with her story, you're probably going to be pretty bored. There's just so little information on Belle Gunness, it's tough to write a full book on her.
It got pretty disjointed, and I feel like Schechter tried way too hard to create filler for this book. There were a lot of parts about ...more
While I don’t necessarily recommend this book, its gruesome first third was worth reading. So few female killers of this magnitude have been discovered that I was thoroughly fascinated by the nerve of this black widow spider!
This was my Kindle First choice for March.
I also read "Depraved" by Schechter this month and I've rated "Hell's Princess" the same as that, despite finding it a lot less engaging. Clearly, a great deal of research has been put into both books. However, Schechter presents his findings in a manner that flips between stale and insultingly ill-mannered. When Schechter is not giving lengthy quotes or paraphrasing a whole pulp true crime pamphlet, he' ...more
Audio was fine, too.
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Could have been better
First off has anyone had a book on their kindle and it had show media? This is the first book I’ve had that did this. I felt like Hogwarts. The pictures move!!!
Now the review:
When asking most people, they never heard of Belle Gunness. I first heard of her through a WatchMojo Top 10s. I can’t fully remember how I came across this book but I decided to give it a try.
Belle Gunness was a lady fair In Indiana ...more
Harold Schechter is a true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he obtained a Ph.D. A resident of New York City, Schechter is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.
Among his nonfiction works are ...more