The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder


The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation ✈ [PDF / Epub] ✅ The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation By Harold Schechter ✸ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Edgar Award Nominee Beekman Place, once one of the most exclusive addresses in Manhattan, had a curious way of making it into the tabloids in the s SKYSCRAPER SLAYER, BEAUTY SLAIN IN BATHTUB read the Sculptor: The MOBI ð Edgar Sculptor: The Maniac, the ePUB í Award Nominee Beekman Place, once one of the most exclusive addresses in Manhattan, The Mad PDF/EPUB or had a curious way of making it into the tabloids in the s SKYSCRAPER SLAYER, Mad Sculptor: The eBook ↠ BEAUTY SLAIN IN BATHTUB read the headlines On Easter Sunday in , the discovery of a grisly triple homicide at Beekman Place would rock the neighborhood yet again and enthrall the nation The young man who committed the murders would come to be known in the annals of American crime as the Mad Sculptor Caught up in the Easter Sunday slayings was a bizarre and sensationalistic cast of characters, seemingly cooked up in a tabloid editor s overheated imagination The charismatic perpetrator, Robert Irwin, was a brilliant young sculptor who had studied with some of the masters of the era But with his genius also came a deeply disturbed psyche Irwin was obsessed with sexual self mutilation and was frequently overcome by outbursts of violent rage Irwin s primary victim, Veronica Gedeon, was a figure from the world of pulp fantasy a stunning photographer s model whose scandalous seminude pinups would titillate the public for weeks after her death Irwin s defense attorney, Samuel Leibowitz, was a courtroom celebrity with an unmatched record of acquittals and clients ranging from Al Capone to the Scottsboro Boys And Dr Fredric Wertham, psychiatrist and forensic scientist, befriended Irwin years before the murders and had predicted them in a public lecture months before the crime Based on extensive research and archival records, The Mad Sculptor recounts the chilling story of the Easter Sunday murders a case that sparked a nationwide manhunt and endures as one of the most engrossing American crime dramas of the twentieth century Harold Schechter s masterful prose evokes the faded glory of post depression New York and the singular madness of a brilliant mind turned against itself It will keep you riveted until the very last page.


10 thoughts on “The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation

  1. Jennifer Ochoa Jennifer Ochoa says:

    I realized something about true crime when reading this book If the author does not give the reader a head s up on what occurred during the murder, who was killed, how they were killed, etc., it becomes a very irritating book to read This is not a mystery novel There is no reason to wait until the end of the book to describe the murder True crime readers like the process of understanding the murder, the investigation, the psychoanalytics and forensics of it all Maybe a side story that par I realized something about true crime when reading this book If the author does not give the reader a head s up on what occurred during the murder, who was killed, how they were killed, etc., it becomes a very irritating book to read This is not a mystery novel There is no reason to wait until the end of the book to describe the murder True crime readers like the process of understanding the murder, the investigation, the psychoanalytics and forensics of it all Maybe a side story that parallels nicely with it or some socio psycho revelation that relates to the murder But for me to go through the book trying to understand Robert Irwin s ascent to murder, without knowing what he did in his act as a murderer was very cart before the horse Second complaint This book is supposed to be about one murder, but the author starts the book with two lengthy chapters on two other murders in the same neighborhood around the same time He never really draws any conclusions or makes any keen observations to relate the three murders other than space and time So what is the point of including the other two Also, at times it seems like the book wasinterested in Samuel Leibowitz, Robert Irwin s attorney Or, when we learn about Irvwin s childhood, we get far too many details about his father s early life.In short, the book was all over the place, with the actual details of murder and investigation making up only a small part of the book


  2. Sarah Sarah says:

    6 2 I read Schechter s The Devil s Gentleman some years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly, even with flow breaking footnotes numbering in the hundreds I had a quick flip through The Mad Sculptor and I m pleased to see not a single footnote While they do add extra information to some complicated points of the story, they also break the readers concentration while they read through the sometimes copious subscript printing at the bottom of every page, trying to find the number that corresponds wit 6 2 I read Schechter s The Devil s Gentleman some years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly, even with flow breaking footnotes numbering in the hundreds I had a quick flip through The Mad Sculptor and I m pleased to see not a single footnote While they do add extra information to some complicated points of the story, they also break the readers concentration while they read through the sometimes copious subscript printing at the bottom of every page, trying to find the number that corresponds with the footnote they ve just come across I m looking forward to reading this withanticipation than before I knew about the lack of footnotes, and I m not letting the low average rating dull my interest as these types of books rarely garner hundreds of four and five star reviews, so I was kind of expecting the lower than usual rating To be continuedOh goodness That s a terrible editing mistake I was wrong about the lack of notes, they re just not footnotes, they re back of the book notes which would usually mean I d be in for a lot of flicking back and forth, usually I ve just finished the first chapter and pretty much straight away I noticed something screwy with the notes The notes at the back of the book didn t seem to make sense when linked with their corresponding number within the text I thought it was me, just not really getting what the notes were trying to link to, but then I got to note 5 Unfortunately for Schechter it looks like he, or whoever edited this book, completely stuffed up the notes and their corresponding numbers It became clear once I got to note 5 of chapter one because the note explanations at the back of the book didn t go past 4, and 5 matched up with the explanation for 4 better than the real 4 did Once I realised this mistake I went back and looked at the other notes that I hadn t understood and figured out that none of them matched up correctly with the corresponding number This leads me to think that none of the notes will be correct Considering how many notes there are per chapter let alone throughout the whole book, that s a lot of badly matched notes that aren t going to explain anything and will in fact further confuse the reader I never really liked the notes anyway, so I think I might skip the notes altogether, most of them are just giving bibliographic details or dates of newspaper articles from where he found the information he s quoting in the text Unless you really want to do some further reading they aren t that interesting, it s not like I ll lose all meaning to the book if I skip them To be continued8 2 Finally read enough to be able to comment on the book itself, rather than its editing problems All I can say after 47 pages is that I m glad we aren t living with the newspapers of 1935 The lengths they were prepared to go to to grab the public s attention is horrifying Compared to these newspaper companies Fox news are saints Almost everything they published was either a sensationalised version of the truth or an outright lie It really has shocked me The two competing newspapers attempting to outdo each other with their scandalous new revelations regarding the murder victims that are being splashed across the front page of the daily newspapers, except that none of what they wrote was true, in any sense of the word It was all a complete fabrication in order to attract readers Thank goodness today s media have a bitintegrity and ethics, plus there are laws to help them stay within those lines To be continued9 2 I love the Kirk Douglas cameo How weird that this kid, born to Jewish immigrants from the region now known as Belarus, whose father was the local ragman, should meet and actually become friends with a serial killer to be, all because he was able to talk his way into St Lawrence University.While a little slow at the beginning, The Mad Sculptor has really picked up and now I actually want to get back to reading it, rather than simply knowing I have to or that I should and I ll be sorry if I don t To be continued10 2 The one thing you can never say about Harold Schechter is that he doesn t do his research This guy looked into the background of the most minor of players involved in this story, and then he gave us some details about the minor player s parents I can t imagine how much work, how much reading and searching of the archives he would have to do to be able to include all those details into the books he writes It s not just this one, of course, the previous Schechter book I read was equally as well researched as this The number folders of research that he has on American murderers going back to 1900 must besubstantial than almost any other private citizen Schechter, once again, makes what could be a dry statement of facts with no insight into the whys of the crime or the perpetrator, into a riveting tale of murder and insanity Definitely going to readof Schechter s excellent tales of murderers and their crimes.Forgot to add that the story really only goes for 306 pages, the last 46 pages are acknowledgements, references for the notes scattered throughout the book, a bibliography, and an index.PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge A Nonfiction Book


  3. Jill Hutchinson Jill Hutchinson says:

    The 1920s and 1930s always seemed to have the crime of the century.some we have known the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, Leopold and Loeb but many we have never heard of The lurid newspapers of the time loved that term and the messier the murder, the better This story concerns one of those crimes that is unfamiliar to me but it doesn t make it any less interesting.It is the story of a very talented but very disturbed man names Robert Irwin In and out of mental institutions for most of his The 1920s and 1930s always seemed to have the crime of the century.some we have known the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, Leopold and Loeb but many we have never heard of The lurid newspapers of the time loved that term and the messier the murder, the better This story concerns one of those crimes that is unfamiliar to me but it doesn t make it any less interesting.It is the story of a very talented but very disturbed man names Robert Irwin In and out of mental institutions for most of his early life, he could be a likable fellow and suddenly fly into a violent rage for no particular reason The author traces his life from his horrible childhood until his trial for the murder of three innocent people a mother, daughter, and a boarder in their home What made the press jump all over this story was the fact that the daughter was a model who posed nude or nearly nude in the detective pulp magazines which were so popular during the era It gave the murders a twist that intrigued the public.The outcome of the trial may surprise the reader as Irwin s attorney was famous for his court room techniques and he pulls out all the stops in his client s defense A very readable and interesting look at one of the crimes of the century


  4. Valerity (Val) Valerity (Val) says:

    I d give this Harold Schechter book about a 3 1 2 stars, if I knew how to make half stars It tells about some murders that happen at Beekman Place in 1930 s New York The Beekman Place area used to be a tony area to live, upper crust, but has fallen on hard times after the depression Killings that happened on Easter Sunday 1937, turn out to have been done by one man, a Robert Bob Irwin, later dubbed The Mad Sculptor for his history in mental institutions The victims are Mary Gedeon, her I d give this Harold Schechter book about a 3 1 2 stars, if I knew how to make half stars It tells about some murders that happen at Beekman Place in 1930 s New York The Beekman Place area used to be a tony area to live, upper crust, but has fallen on hard times after the depression Killings that happened on Easter Sunday 1937, turn out to have been done by one man, a Robert Bob Irwin, later dubbed The Mad Sculptor for his history in mental institutions The victims are Mary Gedeon, her daughter Veronica, and a male boarder, Frank Byrnes The author really delves into the background of the story and all those involved, especially Irwin and his odd family situation Also his strange beliefs


  5. Josh Josh says:

    Entertaining throughout with enough pulp sentiments to detach the reader from the horrific nature of the murders described within the bloodstained pages Each character read as if crafted by fiction rather than fact such was the easy manner and heavy pulp overtones used to tell Bob Irwin s story and that of his unsuspecting victims As a pulp enthusiast I lapped this up and will look to readfrom this author.


  6. Erin Cataldi Erin Cataldi says:

    This was one of those true crime events that I had no knowledge of whatsoever I ve never seen a movie of, heard it referenced, nothing I went into this blind After reading this, is still seemsfiction than fact On Easter Sunday, New York City was aghast when it learned of a gruesome triple murder A mother killed and stuffed under the bed her daughter entering the apartment later in the evening was killed on top of the bed, most likely never knowing her mother s corpse laid beneath h This was one of those true crime events that I had no knowledge of whatsoever I ve never seen a movie of, heard it referenced, nothing I went into this blind After reading this, is still seemsfiction than fact On Easter Sunday, New York City was aghast when it learned of a gruesome triple murder A mother killed and stuffed under the bed her daughter entering the apartment later in the evening was killed on top of the bed, most likely never knowing her mother s corpse laid beneath her In the next room a boarder is murdered in his sleep getting stabbed a dozen times in his head with an ice pick Who would do this and why Robert Irwin, dubbed the mad sculptor by the press, was in and out of mental institutions in his youth He had a troubled childhood and was known to go into fits of rage He was also a masterful art student, he was a talented sculptor and it seemed for a time that art would be his saving grace It was not A series of unfortunate events occurs and the author does a great job describing Irwin s life and that of the people he killed Photographs are included and lots of other New York crime tidbits that I enjoyed It s salacious, over the top, absurd, and sad It doesn t read like most true crime novels, but it s still very engaging


  7. Becky Becky says:

    Let me start by admitting that I did not finish this book but that I came oh so so so close I had purchased the audiobook and was only two hours away from the finish line when I finally said fuck it I ve got Shirley Jackson s marvelous The Haunting of Hill House on the side, and its just WONDERFUL, and so there is no reason to slog through drivel when I can just move on.I do have reasons though for quitting GOOD REASONS THAT THIS IS A BAD BOOK maybe I can save you some pain First Do NOT Let me start by admitting that I did not finish this book but that I came oh so so so close I had purchased the audiobook and was only two hours away from the finish line when I finally said fuck it I ve got Shirley Jackson s marvelous The Haunting of Hill House on the side, and its just WONDERFUL, and so there is no reason to slog through drivel when I can just move on.I do have reasons though for quitting GOOD REASONS THAT THIS IS A BAD BOOK maybe I can save you some pain First Do NOT get the audiobook The narrator is just pits HE tries on these half hearted accents willy nilly, and he waffles between talking too slow and too fast for different characters It s very frustrating and it knocks you out of the listening experience.Second If you feel compelled to still get the actual book be prepared for disjointed and bad story telling The main problem with this book is that the crime isn t interesting it s just sad Robert Irwin was a man with very serious problems He tried to castrate himself, he flew into uncontrollable rages, and in the end he though God would grant him infinite wisdom if he killed the two women, one of whom was Veronica Gedeon That s not an interesting crime He didn t try and cover his tracks He didn t premeditate The poor man was just absolutely insane, a danger to himself and to those around him I hate to say that it s boring, because it s tragic, but it s a boring crime to wrap a nonfiction crime novel around Now the author could have improved the narrative by using this crime as a platform to discuss the evolving state of mental health care in America psychology was just starting to be widely accepted , about police brutality 17 hour long interrogations at the end of a fist , about shoddy and unscrupulous to the point of evil journalism, or even how crime scene investigation was finally becoming a thing that people did to solve crimes BUT NO At most the author nods to these themes by throwing information randomly about but never fully realizing a single idea Instead we learn all about Irwin s crazy life which isn t that interesting and could have been done in a single chapter We learn a little bit about Veronica Gedeon, the model he slew, but the author only talks about her to show why the media was obsessed with this case..Oh, and randomly you ll learn about 4 or 5 other murders around Beekman Place, because I think that s what the author really wanted to write about It s really too bad, because the first murder is the most interesting one and it all goes downhill from there.I would like to get to the part where Liebowitz represents Irwin Now there is a guy to write a book around In the last two hours, with Irwin unable to be found after the murders, the book veers wildly off course to ANOTHER murder and we proceed to learn about that victim s entire family history The entire problem with the book can actually be summed up by saying the author had NO consistent thesis He makes no argument He just rambles through the story much to the loss of the listener


  8. Marcia Marcia says:

    This book is an absolute wreck I made it 90% of the way through, to the part where the murderer is transferred from prison, where he was serving a life sentence, to a mental hospital I don t consider this a spoiler since this a non fiction book I m reviewing I simply cannot read any I m surprised I made it this far I think we have two issues at play here extremely poor to nonexistent editing and an author who feels a strong need to include every tiny bit of information gleaned in his This book is an absolute wreck I made it 90% of the way through, to the part where the murderer is transferred from prison, where he was serving a life sentence, to a mental hospital I don t consider this a spoiler since this a non fiction book I m reviewing I simply cannot read any I m surprised I made it this far I think we have two issues at play here extremely poor to nonexistent editing and an author who feels a strong need to include every tiny bit of information gleaned in his research whether or not it improves the story I now have knowledge about this murderer s grandparents, mother, father, and siblings, geological history in New York, history of mental institutions in New York, history of religious movements in the 19th century,than 4 unrelated murders, and dozens of newspaper stories mentioning the name of the murderer in mostly unrelated articles Note to the author and editor Although this book isn t a novel, it is still a STORY No matter how hard you worked at researching this book you need to leave out information that doesn t further the STORY.Seriously, this book is not worth reading


  9. Robert Miller Robert Miller says:

    This book graphically and thoroughly details the frightful life of the spree killer, Robert Irwin from his early childhood through his eventual imprisonment for life for the killing of three innocent victims on Mother s Day in 1937 The author carefully depicts Irwin s obsessions and delusions as they escalate from petty violence to murder Schechter also provides an accurate perspective of the workings of the criminal law process, including insanity issues, and the sensationalism of the news This book graphically and thoroughly details the frightful life of the spree killer, Robert Irwin from his early childhood through his eventual imprisonment for life for the killing of three innocent victims on Mother s Day in 1937 The author carefully depicts Irwin s obsessions and delusions as they escalate from petty violence to murder Schechter also provides an accurate perspective of the workings of the criminal law process, including insanity issues, and the sensationalism of the news coverage by various tabloids during this era He also exposes some of the quacks in the medical field and acts of racism which were engrained into the general views concerning crime and punishment at the time The book is easy to read and entertaining


  10. Vince Darcangelo Vince Darcangelo says:

    first encountered Harold Schechter in the mid 90s at the sadly now defunct Twice Loved Books in Youngstown, Ohio My friend Todd and I would travel there often, lost for hours among their three floors of books and playing with the occasional store cat You would most often find me in the basement, where the true crime section was wedged into a nook behind the stairs And you would most often find a Schechter book tucked beneath my arm I am not only a first encountered Harold Schechter in the mid 90s at the sadly now defunct Twice Loved Books in Youngstown, Ohio My friend Todd and I would travel there often, lost for hours among their three floors of books and playing with the occasional store cat You would most often find me in the basement, where the true crime section was wedged into a nook behind the stairs And you would most often find a Schechter book tucked beneath my arm I am not only a fan of crime writing, but an advocate There is a stigma with the genre that I have always felt was undeserved Even in progressive minded bookstores like Twice Loved where I was able to order first edition Aleister Crowley tomes in the pre Internet age , crime reporting was given only subterranean shelf space That s a shame Crime writers like Schechter are historians, sociologists, documentarians and cultural commentators, and to be relegated to back shelf status by the literary mainstream is a disservice to the many great writers and well informed readers working in the genre I asked Schechter about the breadth of his work in a 2012 interview You can certainly learn as much about a society by which crimes people are obsessed with at a particular time, he said I think, in a general way, the crimes that become national obsessions, that strike a deep communal chord, symbolize the particular cultural anxieties of the moment In the 1920s it was poisoners in the 70s Charles Manson personified the worst fears of the counterculture the 80s had phantom Satanists and the 90s belonged to the serial killer and today we have the rampage shooter But in the 1930s, it was the sexual deviant that haunted and titillated the public Enter Robert George Irwin, the subject of Schechter s new book, The Mad Sculptor The Maniac, The Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation Irwin was a troubled and talented artist whose stunted psychosexual development and religious obsession fueled romantic fixations, violent outbursts, numerous hospitalizations and an attempted self castration It climaxed with a vicious triple murder in 1937, made all thenewsworthy because one of the victims, Veronica Gedeon, was a pulp magazine cover girl That in and of itself would make for a good read, but Schechter is a skilled storyteller and,importantly, a devoted historian His research into the man who would become The Mad Sculptor not only unearthed a traumatic upbringing, but also documented the changing post Depression personality of the Beekman Hill neighborhood where the murders occurred Turns out this neighborhood was home to a series of sensational murders a year prior to Irwin s massacre Weaving a wealth of historical documents into a cohesive narrative, Schechter gives us not only the crime and the cultural mindset, but also the role the media played in the tale, from the earliest indictment of an innocent man through fictional jailhouse confessions and a business arrangement with the Chicago Herald Examiner so shady that it would make Rupert Murdoch cry foul In fact, all of the media coverage including the persistent blame the victim approach that made a fuss over Gedeon s modeling career and her father s fondness for French art postcards makes today s television news seem downright ethical well, almost by comparison If I have one critique of The Mad Sculptor, it s that we don t learn much about Irwin s time in prison We get factual data, such as how long he lived after his conviction, when he died, and such, but not the in depth reporting showcased in previous chapters But in a time when most movies and many books run far too long only quantum physics can explain why it takes longer to watch The Great Gatsby than it does to read the book , it s not really a bad thing to say that Schechter could ve gone on for another hundred pages or so and I would have been with him all the way Schechter had a run in the 1990s that would make any writer jealous, penning best sellers about Albert Fish, Ed Gein and Depraved, Schechter s account of H.H Holmes The latter is an example of the literary caste system writ large Depraved, published in 1994, predated Erik Larson s The Devil in the White City by nearly a decade While both tell the story of the same man and the same crimes one is relegated to the dusty shelves of true crime while the other is a modern classic and prominently displayed at the front of the store This is not a knock on Larson s book he did nothing wrong by writing an excellent book and reaping success , but rather an example of the double standards that sometimes emerge in publishing I point this out not to get on a soapbox but rather to appeal to readers who may never otherwise stray to the nether regions of the bookstore or think that crime writing isn t for them Yes, you will find The Mad Sculptor in the true crime section, but it is greater than the sum of its kill count Yes, Harold Schechter is America s finest crime writer, but he is so muchLet this book be your introduction to another historical viewpoint, and don t be afraid to drift to those shadowy corners of the bookstore where you ve feared to tread before To quote Nietzsche I am a forest, and a night of dark trees but he who is not afraid of my darkness will find banks full of roses under my cypresses Take it from the weird kid who spent hours in those shadowy basement corridors, collecting the flowers of history in the dark


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