Annal: 2010 Gold Dagger Award for Nonfiction

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2010.

Book:Aftermath: The Omagh Bombing and the Families' Pursuit of Justice

Aftermath: The Omagh Bombing and the Families' Pursuit of Justice

Ruth Dudley Edwards

The Omagh bomb was the worst massacre in Northern Ireland’s modern history——yet from it came a most extraordinary tale of human resilience, as families of murdered people channeled their grief into action. As the bombers congratulated themselves on escaping justice, the families determined on a civil case against them and their organization.

In Omagh, on Saturday, August 15, 1998, a massive bomb placed by the so-called Real IRA murdered five men, fourteen women, nine children, and a pair of unborn twins. Although the police believed they knew the identities of the killers, there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. Taking as their motto “For evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing,” families of ten of the dead decided to pursue these men through the civil courts, where the burden of proof is lower. This is the remarkable account of how these families——who had no knowledge of the law and no money, and included a cleaner, a mechanic,…[more]

Book:Defending the Guilty

Defending the Guilty: Truth and Lies in the Criminal Courtroom

Alex McBride

“As a criminal barrister, you work with the material you get: a junkie shoplifter with thirty-five previous convictions and four packs of Lidl’s frozen chicken stuffed down his trousers is heading only one way…”

Every day, like every criminal barrister in this country, Alex McBride stands up in court and, with nothing but quick-thinking, sharp-talking and his hard-won legal expertise, attempts to save people from criminal conviction, prison, even a lifetime behind bars. Sometimes he’s had only a few hours to prepare his case. Sometimes his client is obviously guilty.

In this hilarious, heart-stopping memoir, he takes us behind the scenes of Britain’s criminal justice system—in barristers’ chambers, in the courtroom, in the cells and on the streets—introducing us to its outlandish personalities, arcane eccentricities and its many moving stories of triumph and defeat. Whether he’s defending hapless teenagers at Harlow Youth Court…[more]

Book:Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

Jeff Guinn

Forget everything you think you know about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Previous books and films, including the brilliant 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, have emphasized the supposed glamour of America’s most notorious criminal couple, thus contributing to ongoing mythology. The real story is completely different—and far more fascinating.

In Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame. Their timing could not have been better—the Barrow Gang pulled its first heist in 1932 when most Americans, reeling from the Great Depression, were desperate for escapist entertainment. Thanks to newsreels, true crime magazines, and new-fangled wire services that transmitted scandalous…[more]

Book:Killing Time: One Man's Race to Stop an Execution

Killing Time: One Man's Race to Stop an Execution

David R. Dow

How does it feel to defend a serial killer? To tell a young man that he will be executed in twenty minutes’ time? To explain to your five-year-old son that you’re late because you couldn’t help someone? To realise that a death row convict whose life you hold in your hands is actually innocent?

David Dow is a leading death row attorney in Texas, a state where 99% of execution appeals are rejected.He defends convicted murderers for the simple reason that he feels putting them to death is wrong. He knows his clients are vicious, violent monsters, but killing a murderer is homicide, and homicide, as David sees it, is morally insupportable.

Yet this routine of resignation—to the fate of both his clients and his young family, whom he can feel slipping away from him by the day—is interrupted by the worst thing that could happen to him: the realization that a client is innocent. Not…[more]

Book:Major Farran's Hat

Major Farran's Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain's War Against Jewish Terrorism 1945-1948

David Cesarani

In May 1947 a sixteen-year-old Jewish activist named Alexander Rubowitz was abducted in broad daylight from the streets of Jerusalem. At the abduction scene, a gray hat was found, purportedly belonging to Major Roy Farran, a decorated World War II officer who was in charge of British counterterrorism in Palestine. As evidence mounted against Farran, the Zionist underground swore vengeance. The episode precipitated a series of nail-biting twists and turns that had far-reaching consequences.

An engaging mix of true crime and polemical narrative history, peopled by a cast of luminaries including Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Menachem Begin, and Golda Meir, Major Farran’s Hat investigates shady violence, scandaluos cover-ups, and political expediency. It also explores why Britain lost Palestine, as well as how its counterinsurgency and diplomatic strategies collided so disastrously. By exposing Britain’s legacy in the Middle East, this historical thriller echoes today’s war on terror and pointedly illustrates the circumstances surrounding the birth of the State of Israel.

Book:The Monster of Florence

The Monster of Florence

Douglas J. Preston, Mario Spezi

In 2000, Douglas Preston, the New York Times bestselling author of Blasphemy, fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moved his family to a stone farmhouse in Italy. Tucked into the side of a hill, his Tuscan home seemed like paradise on earth until he discovered that it had a dark past: the olive grove next to his home was the scene of a horrific double homicide by one of the most infamous figures in Italian history.

Intrigued, Preston teamed up with celebrated journalist Mario Spezi in order to learn more about the murderer—a still-at-large serial killer known as the Monster of Florence who ritually murdered 14 young lovers and carved up their bodies with unbelievable cruelty. This volume chronicles their chilling investigation—and reveals how they got a lot more than they bargained for when their cold case turned white hot. Before they were done, they would become prime suspects in the police investigation…and…[more]

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