Books 2017-05-03T17:20:05+00:00

“A sometimes-sad, sometimes-humorous look at ballads that have preserved a part of America’s crazed, violent history.” (Kirkus Reviews)

A 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist (True Crime)
A 2017 Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY) Medalists
(Silver, Regional Southeast Nonfiction)
(Bronze, National Book Cover Nonfiction)

ISBN: 978-1-945049-03-03
Hardcover $35.00
328 pages, 9×6, with notes, bibliography, index, and 90 illustrations, including a map and the art of a North Carolina artist and a Kentucky artist
Publication Date: September 2016


CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads

CrimeSong plunges readers into a world of violence against women, murders, familicide, suicides, brutal mob action, and many examples of a failed justice system. This compelling investigation of the gripping true crimes behind American ballads dispels myths and legends and brings to life a cast of characters—both loathsome and innocent—shadowy history, courtroom dramas, murders, mayhem and music.

Although these ballads and stories are set in specific times, cultures, and places, they present “timeless, universal themes” of love, betrayal, jealousy, and madness through true-life tales that are both terrifying and familiar—stories that could be “ripped from today’s headlines.”

In CrimeSong, law professor and authentic storyteller Richard H. Underwood recreates in engaging and folksy prose the true facts behind twenty-four Southern murder ballads. Underwood has resurrected these stories and shares them with the reader through his “old lawyer trifocals.”

He presents his case studies, documented through contemporary news accounts and court records, as a series of dramas filled with jump-off-the-page real and memorable characters.

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