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Death of an empire : the rise and murderous fall of Salem, America's richest city / Robert Booth.

Booth, Robert. (Author).
Book Book (c2011.)
Description: xvi, 330 p. : ill., ports., geneal. tables ; 25 cm.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, c2011.
22 of 31 copies available at NOBLE (All Libraries). (Show all copies)
0 of 5 copies available at Salem.
0 current holds with 31 total copies.
Library Location Call Number Status Due Date
Salem Adult Non-Fiction 974.45/BOOTH (Text to Phone) Damaged -
Salem Adult Non-Fiction 974.45/BOOTH (Text to Phone) Cataloging -
Salem Adult Non-Fiction 974.45/BOOTH (Text to Phone) Long Overdue 03/01/2018
Salem Adult Non-Fiction 974.45/BOOTH (Text to Phone) Cataloging -
Salem Salem Collection * 974.45/BOOTH/SAL.COLL. (Text to Phone) Library Use Only -

  • ISBN: 9780312540388 (hardcover) :
  • ISBN: 0312540388 (hardcover) :
  • Edition: 1st ed.
Bibliography, etc.: Includes bibliographical references (p. [301]-315) and index.
Contents: Masters of the Universe. At war ; The lost prince ; White heat ; Panic ; Lost at sea ; The prophet -- Visions & Delusions. White hope ; Celebrations ; Jubilee ; Dreams of new bliss ; Twilight -- Into the Darkness. Nightfall ; The Salem murder ; Confession ; Imps of hell & devils roam ; Death after death ; Conflagration -- Blown Away. The magnate ; The mirage.
Summary: Most readers know Salem only for the city's notorious witch trials. But years later it became a very different city, one that produced America's first millionaire (still one of history's 75 wealthiest men) and boasted a maritime trade that made it the country's richest city. Westward expansion and the industrial revolution would eventually erode Salem's political importance, but it was a shocking murder and the scandal that followed which led at last to its fall from national prominence. This book is the tale of a little-known but remarkably rich era of American history, drawing in characters such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster.
Citation: Booth, Robert. "Death of an empire : the rise and murderous fall of Salem, America's richest city." New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2011.
  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2011 July #1
    The Napoleonic Wars were good to Salem, Massachusetts. As carriers of neutral trade, its merchants scoured from South America to the exotic reaches of all Southeast Asia, amassing dramatic wealth. With the cessation of hostilities and the onset of industrialized, westward-moving American modernity, however, Salem's fortunes turned. Falling profits, defections to Boston, and, ultimately, murder came to define the town that had stood at the center of international trade. Marblehead native Booth has written a stunning, remarkably bleak account of Salem's precipitous plummeting from the height of wealth to rapid depopulation and escalating crime. Salem became a place where great merchant houses and such failed industrial projects as the Mill Dam stood, like the statue of Shelley's Ozymandias, as reminders of the town's former pretensions to prominence. Booth has reconstructed in astonishing detail not only the Salem of Hawthorne, Joseph Story, and Daniel Webster but also true Heart of Darkness moments from all corners of the globe. As he makes clear, In Salem, few men died but many disappeared. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
  • Library Journal Reviews : LJ Reviews 2011 July #1

    Booth (curator, emeritus, Pickering House, Salem; Boston's Freedom Trail) weaves together the 19th-century decline of the once vital port of Salem, MA, with a murder story. Following the American Revolution, Salem's maritime activities made it the wealthiest city in the new nation, with its ships sailing the globe and opening Asian markets to trade. However, economic changes over the late 18th and early 19th centuries, especially implementation of tariffs on imported finished goods to encourage American industrialization, rather soon eroded Salem's standing. In response, Stephen White, a member of a wealthy Salem shipping family, led an unsuccessful attempt to establish manufacturing in the city. The loss of jobs had brought on a rise in local violent crime. On April 6, 1830, Joseph White, Stephen's father, was murdered in his home. Stephen himself initially fell under suspicion, but Frank Knapp, a member of another prominent Salem family, confessed to the crime. The entire incident further tarnished Salem's declining reputation. Booth bases his narrative history on diaries, letters, ship logs, period newspapers, and secondary sources. VERDICT This is a readable, even gripping account of the consequences of the economic decline on a once proud city. Recommended for fans of accessible history and historical true crime. [See Prepub Alert, 12/20/11.]—Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg

    [Page 91]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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