Friday, January 21, 2011

Even more on lynching: McClure reviews Segrave, Lynchings of Women in the United States

Regular LHB readers will recall a few recent posts on the history of lynching and vigilantism in the U.S. Guest blogger Clara Altman commented on the Bald Knobbers and new work by Michael J. Pfiefer and Crystal Feimster (here). I posted a review of Kimberly Harper's new book on the lynching and expulsion of blacks in the Southern Ozarks (here). Now, courtesy of H-Law, we have a review of Kerry Segrave, Lynchings of Women in the United States: The Recorded Cases, 1851-1946 (Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2010).

Here is the first paragraph of the review, by Helen McLure (Southern Methodist University):
In Lynchings of Women in the United States, Kerry Segrave, author of short studies on such topics as vending machines, drive-in movie theaters, tipping, jukeboxes, ticket scalping, smoking, and American women and capital punishment, presents an equally brief précis of the extrajudicial execution of women in U.S. history. Segrave’s work is important because it addresses a major gap in the literature of this topic, as it is only the second published study of the lynching of American women and the first to attempt to chronicle these collective killings on a national scale. The book proceeds in a chronological fashion and consists of summaries of ninety-seven lynching cases based on nineteenth- and twentieth-century newspaper reports. Several of these cases have not been previously documented by lynching scholars, and this new information, when adequately sourced, constitutes one of the book’s major contributions to the scholarship. However, Segrave’s inclusion in this compilation of several completely unsourced, unconfirmed cases from the Web site also suggests using considerable caution regarding some of these alleged incidents. The case summaries are based on contemporary newspaper reports and flesh out the stark details of most of the previously known cases, and the collection serves as a valuable and convenient reference and starting point for more serious research and analysis. This book should be most useful to historians of American crime, lynching, and mob violence; the American South; and women’s and gender history; as well as a wider audience of the reading public interested in crime and violence in U.S. history.
You can access the full review here.