Book Club Queen

American Eve
The Evelyn Nesbit Story

by Queenie B

American Eve by Paula Uruburu

Free Book Report: American Eve, Evelyn Nesbit story: Summary

"White had a strong personality. He was very good to me, and very kind. When I told Mr. Thaw this he said it only made White all the more dangerous."
~ Evelyn

"The Crime of the Century" it's called by many. Coupled with the fact that it's brought on by jealously over the 1900's "it girl," makes this story all the more sensational.

Evelyn Nesbit came to NYC as a young girl at the turn of the century. She was an absolute beauty and had no trouble finding herself a job dancing as well as modeling. To most grandmothers she's still thought of as "the Gibson Girl." Quickly she was courted by Stanford "Stanny" White, a much older and very famous architect with a penchant for young girls. Their relationship, speculated by Uruburu as non-consensual at first, grew into a passionate love affair. Stanford paid for her to go to school, bought her whatever she could possibly desire, even took care of her mother. It seemed to be a win-win situation.

Enter Harry Thaw who begins obsessing over Evelyn right at a time in her relationship with Stanford where he's begun to grow somewhat bored. Harry wants Evelyn all to himself. They eventually end up married but Harry is not the nicest man. On their honeymoon he rapes his wife and after that proceeds to become so consumed with anger over Evelyn's relationship with Stanford that he can't think of anything else.

These events finally lead him to shoot Stanford White, point blank, on June 25, 1906 in the heart of the public eye. This leads to the first major murder trial where a plea of "insanity" became a real defense.

Full of glitz, glamour, passion, betrayal, and murder, the Evelyn-Stanford-Harry triangle will leave you feeling scandalized long after the last page.

Free Book Report: American Eve, Evelyn Nesbit story: Opinion

This is an excellent book. Truly excellent.

First off, the story is amazing! Uruburu writes with such vivid characterization that I felt like I was there in the courtroom with Evelyn as she regaled every sordid detail of her "affair" with Stanford White. It reads like a fiction story which makes the journey through the excessive world of the money-spending, elite society at the turn of the century all the more intriguing.

I was very interested in the trial and how Evelyn Nesbit was served up as an "innocent little girl" defiled by Stanford. I think that in this time people had to find a way to make sense of a woman who could be so young but behave like such an adult -drinking champagne, dancing and modeling, living the life of a kept woman - so they blamed it on the man. Not saying that Stanford was innocent because he definitely raises some alarming questions about what is appropriate behavior between men and women, but his name was dragged through the mud after his death and I felt like maybe Evelyn should have shouldered a little more of the responsibility. She knowingly involved herself for quite some time with Stanny and doesn't seem to have any regrets about it.

Reading American Eve propelled me to look deeper into the lives surrounding this murder, so I've recently just begun Architect of Desire which is the story of Stanford's life written by his great-granddaughter. It's great supplemental reading if you enjoyed Paula's book.

For a nonfiction lover like me, this was a real treat! I experienced the shame, the passion, the anger, the frivolity of these people on every page. To be honest, whether scannable or not, I think I may have lived in the Gilded Age in a past life!

Free Book Report: American Eve, Evelyn Nesbit story: Discussion Questions

  1. Did Harry Thaw deserve to walk after such a short period of time?
  2. By today's standards is Stanford White a pedophile?
  3. Would you like to have lived in this Era with all the glitz and glamour of the rich?

Return from American Eve, Evelyn Nesbit story to Home


Paula Uruburu
Paula Uruburu Interview


AUTHOR(S): Paula Uruburu

TYPE OF BOOK: Nonfiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 372

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2008

RECOGNITION:
N/A


BOOK RATING:
5 Crowns


DISCUSSION RATING:
4 Crowns


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