Read American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men by David McConnell Online


In American Honor Killings, straight and gay guys cross paths, and the result is murder. But what really happened? What role did hatred play? What were the men involved really like, and what was going on between them when the murder occurred? American Honor Killings explores the truth behind squeamish reporting and uninformed political rants of the far right or fringe leftIn American Honor Killings, straight and gay guys cross paths, and the result is murder. But what really happened? What role did hatred play? What were the men involved really like, and what was going on between them when the murder occurred? American Honor Killings explores the truth behind squeamish reporting and uninformed political rants of the far right or fringe left. David McConnell, a New York based novelist, researched cases from small-town Alabama to San Quentin's death row. The book recounts some of the most notorious crimes of our era.Beginning in 1999 and lasting until the 2011 conviction of a youth in Queens, New York, the book shows how some murderers think they're cleaning up society. Surprisingly, other killings feel almost preordained, not a matter of the victim's personality or actions so much as a twisted display of a young man's will to compete or dominate. We want to think these stories involve simple sexual conflict, either the killer's internal struggle over his own identity or a fatally miscalculated proposition. They're almost never that simple.Together, the cases form a secret American history of rage and desire. McConnell cuts through cant and political special pleading to turn these cases into enduring literature. In each story, victims, murderers, friends, and relatives come breathtakingly alive. The result is more soulful, more sensitive, more artful than the sort of "true crime” writing the book was modeled on. A wealth of new detail has been woven into old cases, while new cases are plumbed for the first time. The resulting stories play out exactly as they happened, an inexorable sequence of events—grisly, touching, disturbing, sometimes even with moments of levity.It has been awarded the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award for 2014."Utilizing an empathetic narrative nonfiction approach, novelist McConnell, co-chair of the Lambda Literary Foundation, casts a humanizing eye upon monstrous deeds…a journalistic tour de force made all the more impressive by jailhouse interviews…McConnell's unquestionable skill as a writer gives both literary helot and immediacy to the narratives."--Publishers Weekly"McConnell convincingly shows how fluid terms like 'gay' and 'straight' can actually be… The author's case studies reflect an intensive investigation into the economic and cultural backgrounds of a wide variety of extremist cultures, research that involved interviews with law enforcement officials, families of victims and the convicted criminals themselves. A shocking look at the subculture of violent crime, not for the fainthearted."--Kirkus ReviewsA masterpiece of reportage . . . Homophobia is not accepted as a mitigating circumstance in murder, but there is no doubt that men are still murdered for being gay. From Jon Schmitz ('The Jenny Jones Killer’) to John Katehis (the teenage hustler who murdered radio personality George Weber), novelist McConnell . . . has compiled a number of these cases and looks into the culture of masculinity for clues to the dynamics behind these killings . . . with no clear answers, but some very intriguing questions, these vignettes of masculine pride and rage will appeal to those interested in gender politics and gay studies as well as true crime fans.”--Library Journal"McConnell, who is gay, is convinced he has written a book that no straight man could have written, and he's probably right. Navigating the depressing world of these horrific murders would discourage all but the most determined, passionate writers. Finding the humanity in these killers and the nuance in these most inhumane killings would challenge all but the most compassionate of writers."--LA Weekly"American Honor Killings is a strong addition to any criminology or true crime collection with a side focus on gay issues, very much recommended."--Midwest Book Review...

Title : American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781617751325
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men Reviews

  • Richard Derus
    2019-02-26 10:15

    I give 5 shuddering stars to AMERICAN HONOR KILLINGS at Shelf Inflicted ( Discussing the high cost of delusion and the role of "moral" conviction; Akashic Books, this is a brave book to publish.

  • Jerry
    2019-03-02 10:18

    Amazing, unusual insights, beautiful writing about a terrible subject. Not true crime stories, not validation of murder. A complex compendium of gay men murdered by the men that they loved and exploration of "gay panic" and how masculinity and rage are linked.

  • Tom Schulte
    2019-03-15 09:20

    Hear my interview with the author on Podomatic.McConnell takes from what would be called homosexual "hate crimes" or "gay panic" to an attempt to find how a distorted "honor" became the departure point to such violence. It seems an overt or possibly latent homosexuality is the commonality to the killers from the infamous Jenny Jones case which was a big deal up here in Michigan to John Katehis, part-time John, one-time killer. In the journey, McConnell admits to seeking "pure masculinity enraged". I am not sure if that is what he found, or if even he is, but I respect that in the annals of true crime assailed ("assay-led"?) the subject like an ardent researcher and truth-seeker.

  • Bryn
    2019-03-20 10:27

    Literate true crime. Nancy Grace meets Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick.

  • Michael
    2019-02-27 14:27

    Reading Challenge 2018 - Book Riot: book of true crime. An interesting read about men who are worried for their "honor" of considered being gay and kill because of it. I remember the Jenny Jones case where a straight man is embarrassed when a gay friend admits his feelings for him on national television, the result being he kills the gay man. It seems that the author is trying to convince the read that the reason these men kill is because they question their own sexuality and need to prove they are not indeed gay. The graphic killings seem to be based in an inherent need to reassert themselves and "prove" their sexuality by killing what possibly could have been an object of desire initially. The "gay panic" defense seems to fall on deaf ears in most cases these days as defending ones honor does not merit homicide. I think that the disturbed psychosis of each killer must be analyzed and taken into consideration before the idea of sexuality be included. The book brought to light answers for the questions I had about each case, making me doubt I could sit on a jury and pronounce with "reasonable doubt" that the killers did it because of lost honor. They were killers, simply put, and need to be punished.

  • Rj
    2019-03-06 11:16

    I was intrigued by the title hoping that the book would be an analysis of men murdering other men in the name of homophobia. However, the book is more "true crime" than analysis as McConnell details the events of particular crimes while interviewing those involved. Sadly, this approach is more sensationalistic than informative.

  • Gingy Gibson
    2019-03-12 11:36

    Interesting introduction to a number of cases, but the author's personal conjectures and opinions all too often bleed into the narrative.

  • Rob Slaven
    2019-03-09 10:38

    Firstly and foremost, I won this book in a drawing from LibraryThing. Despite the fact that I didn't pay a dime for it, I will give it a candid assessment below.So this is the bit in which I traditionally summarize the plot, and I'll admit this book wasn't what I expected. When I hear the phrase "honor killings" I expect traditional murders to safeguard the reputation of the family. The murderous rampages described here are plain and simple hate crimes. This does nothing to diminish them or their importance, certainly, but reading this book I did have trouble correlating the title with the content. Our author describes at length, and with absolute candor, the act of killing because of prejudice against race, religion and primarily, sexual orientation. The work is an incisive view into the odious act of hating and destroying someone just because of the demographic into which they fall. Or, to put it more simply, these are the truly scary people with which we share society.Evaluating this book, on the positive side the author has done us a great service. He's shielded us from nothing. No detail or nuance is hidden and his research is intimate and complete. We see these heinous acts from the inside of the killer's head and from the outside as viewed by the world in general. On the negative side, I'll admit that I just couldn't carry on reading this whole thing. By the halfway point I felt that I'd fairly well "gotten the point" as it were. The killers are heartless bigots motivated by hate and fortified by misplaced religious beliefs. A hundred or so pages of that seemed sufficient. I didn't need more text to back up my support of the author as I was solidly and convinced from the beginning. In summary, this book is a meticulously researched and insightful view into the mind of those that hate to the point of murder. If it suffers, it suffers only from the fact that I agree with it so vehemently and don't really need more examples to fortify my dislike for religious zealotry. An excellent work that I just couldn't finish because it resonated far too strongly.PS: It is my endeavor to provide reviews that are succinct, honest, balanced and above all help the potential reader to answer the simple question, “Do I want to read this or not?” Any feedback you can provide about how you feel I have accomplished those goals (or not) is immensely appreciated.

  • Steven
    2019-02-18 15:14

    Along with several other readers, I can see the parallels between this book and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. But whereas Capote's book did such a good job of exploring the lives and motivations of both victims and perpetrators, McConnell's book doesn't quite hit the mark.McConnell does bring a novelist's eye (or maybe, in the context of this book, the eye of a short story writer) to these cases of gay men and their murderers, but the writing focuses way more on the criminals. McConnell wants to get at the motivations and find patterns, but the sense I got at the end was that it was all so senseless. Which I kind of knew getting into this. At the end, I didn't feel I'd learned much about these men.At times, I thought McConnell spent too much time focusing on weird details (like the age of buildings) or made what seemed to me to be rather unkind personal comments about people's appearance. Also, the author seemed to enjoy corresponding with and being a part of these criminals'lives in a way that seemed overly lurid and sensational.I've often commented on reviews that it's not fair to judge a work because it didn't meet my expectations. And this didn't. But I also didn't care for this book's tone. These are sad stories that need to be told, but perhaps in a more measured way.

  • T-bone
    2019-03-12 11:17

    I'm not sure why this book was on my to read list - I had no clue what it was about until I got started. I assumed it would be about men killing women, but it turned out to be about men killing men, specifically, killing gay men, or at least men the murderers perceived to be gay. My qualifier about perceived gay men hints at the book's main point: that crimes typically grouped together as hate crimes, or gay panic crimes, or repressed gay man kills openly gay men crimes, are often more complex than the labels applied. I don't know much about murders of gay men, but I do know a weak argument when I see one - having put forward so many myself - and this is a pretty unremarkable argument. The author freely admits that the book doesn't have a thesis - he just wants to preserve the details of these crimes. In that case I think it may have been better to examine one case in detail instead of describing half a dozen or so murders in one reasonably short book. There is not enough detail to become truly invested in any one case and there are not enough cases to recognise similarities or patterns in the different crimes. In the end it seemed like a true crime short story collection. Still not a bad read for sad individuals like me who like to read about sex and violence.

  • n
    2019-02-23 16:38

    Note: Book really has 253 pages, so it annoys me that Goodreads hasn't fixed this.I'd probably give this an actual 2.5 stars, but I can't honestly give it 3 on rounding. I'm really quite disappointed with it in relation to the subtitle. I expected a lot more conversation about how toxic masculinity leads to the sorts of murders that were addressed, but that was barely addressed. There was a lot of questionable elements that made it hard to read.When he was discussing the murder of a might-be-gay boy, Steven "Scooby" Parrish, I felt there was something missing. He lacked the nuance about how there are even more difficulties for African-American (Black) boys because of the assumption that, within the community, they are supposed to be even more masculine; I have seen this addressed numerous times by people I follow on Twitter, talking about how much more difficult it is to be a queer person of colour because of the intersections. In specific, he needed to discuss this in ways that queer Black activists have been discussing for decades; he missed that opportunity.I also found it discomforting that he referred to antisemitism as something only found in the middle class, which it isn't. There are a lot of aspects of this book that I found troubling, honestly.

  • David Swatling
    2019-03-11 15:34

    "If hatred can come before hating, murder can come before killing." Chilling nonfiction in the tradition of In Cold Blood. McConnell investigates several cases involving the murder of gay men between 1995 and 2007 in a brilliant mix of journalistic and literary prose. Although I have a problem with his appropriation of the title's term "honor killings" (even though he questions its use himself at the end of the book), the issues and perspectives he raises are often unexpected and always compelling. Some of the violence detailed is graphic, but the book never stoops to lurid sensationalism. It is a philosophical exploration of why men kill men in cases all too patently swept together these days within the increasingly ubiquitous heading of "hate crime."

  • Alnora1227
    2019-03-05 14:41

    This a very odd, strangely compelling book that looks at several killings of gay men and gay couples by their heterosexual assassins. Through interviews and media resources the author researches the motivations behind the murders. He draws a troubling, though broad, connection between the killers' fear, be it real or imagined, that they might be thought of as gay and the killers' decisions to use guns as a form of retribution. Each case study has it's own chapter and the varied perpetrators, mostly young men, mostly Caucasian, present a diverse group. A deceptively slim volume that packs a larger punch and stays with you for a while.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-21 14:29

    Very very interesting book about murders of men (perceived to be gay) by other men. The cases described by the author are fascinating.McConnell doesn't go very far, however, in figuring out what the cases have in common and what that says about American culture, masculinity, etc. He says at the outset that he's not going to do that.I think it would have been a stronger book if he'd gone out on a limb, formulated an argument and defended it - made this a book about something larger, instead of a collection of true crimes. He was almost there, but he didn't take that extra step. Nevertheless, worth reading.

  • Molly
    2019-03-18 11:39

    I liked the premise of this book, however the presentation was crude. The writer too often offered his own opinion as to what a victim or suspect was thinking. Also, the style was at times childish and took me out of the flow of reading. McConnell offered his opinion on things often enough that I started to think more about what he thought than the actual content of the book.

  • Patrick Ryan
    2019-03-02 13:18

    Bone-chilling, important, and exquisitely written. You'll cringe because the stories are real, but McConnell is a master at showing us and commenting on what happened in a way that's both non-intrusive and expansive. If you liked IN COLD BLOOD (and who didn't?) and if you liked INTO THE WILD, you should read this book.

  • Marcos
    2019-03-12 12:17

    An overall interesting book about the rage behind several killings involving victims and young perpetrators. I don't think that honor killing is the perfect term but its use is based on the idea that these men killed to honor not their families but masculinity or their twisted idea of what it is.

  • Stacie
    2019-02-20 11:17

    What a fantastic read. A non-fiction book that's written in narrative style - it kept me reading to find out what happened in each of the shorter stories that make up the larger book.