History has a place in every area, town, city or country of the world. Historians often research so that we may learn of our past, often in an effort to help our understanding of who we are and where we have come from, as well as alerting us to what we need to change in the future in order to grow and prosper. Things that occur in different regions often leave traces that affect far wider areas than can be imagined. In Wicked Lewiston, A Sinful Century by author and historian Steven D. Branting, we are introduced to an area in Idaho that has a past of murder and mayhem that seems incomprehensible.
From the very beginning this area that is nestled in the confluence of two great rivers has drawn a crowd. The weather is lovely, the area full of fish and game, and the winters often without the snows that strike the rest of the country. Lewiston became a city before the police force as we know it began, giving those who had a penchant for trouble room to commit crimes and allowing even questionable deaths to go uninvestigated.
Branting has taken a timeline of offenses from the mid 1800s though the early 1900s depicting crimes of a nature that are disturbing even to this day. It is not even the crimes themselves that are so disturbing but their frequency that’s unbelievable. For a small area, even in the late 1800s, Lewiston was known for both crime and prostitution. Initially the capital of Idaho, it seemed to draw many of the seedier people, those looking for more than what was available in other, more structured areas.
As the city grew, so too did crime. Murder and greed consumed those whose lives touched the wrong characters. From the back alleys of Lewiston to the glamor of Washington D.C, murder and corruption became just a little too bold as even those who left the area drew the wrong sort of attention.
This is an interesting tale of an era that one would think was a thing of the past. However as with most cities and areas, sometimes death only hides its presence. Branting’s time line of nefarious deeds and circumstances takes you into the minds of those whose decision to take what they feel is their due, or to take the lives of others keeps you digging to find the cause.
If you enjoy history and are also avid into real life crime and punishment, you will find this a work that would be great for your library. Branting researches the information and finds a way to make it both interesting and informative.
This would make a great work for discussion group as they discuss the growth of law and discovery in an evolving era.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1467117951]