Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer by Harold Schechter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I purchased this book for a steal (.99, I think). It was worth maybe twice that. I liked it, but I didn't love it.
The book chronicles the story of Andrew P. Kehoe, a school board member and farmer in the community of Bath, Michigan. In 1927, Kehoe opposed a tax in which all community members would pay a school tax. He and his wife had no children, so Kehoe felt they shouldn't have to pay it. He also had an ongoing feud with the superintendent, and he had lost his bid to continue performing the task of School Board Treasurer.
Insight was offered into the mind of someone who could murder so many people and injure so many more. This is done through vignettes of other killers which seem irrelevent to the story of Kehoe excpt by way of attempting to explain why some killers become killer. The sign Kehoe left alluded to the perception that killers are made, not born. He was practically blaming other people for his own destruction. Kehoe set a bon on each side o fthe l
Parallel with this incident is the story of Charles Lindbegh's historic nonstop flight from New York to Paris. Inclusion of this was irrelevant except to point out the news of the day. It served no other purpose that I could glean.
Since I had never heard of the Bath massacre, I found it interesting and disturbing at the same time. The author promised to explain how the "Modern Mass Killer" was created. He did not deliver on that promise. His writing style was disordered and jumbled. Perhaps through his research he found there just wasn't much to say except that Kehoe blew up his own home, his wife, many school children, and himself, and perhaps he was grasping at a way to include more content for the book. Whatever the case, it was lacking.
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