By Philip Weiss
In 1975, a brand new team of Peace Corps volunteers landed at the island country of Tonga. between them used to be Deborah Gardner±a attractive twenty-three-year-old who, within the following yr, will be stabbed twenty-two instances and left for useless within her hut.
Another volunteer became himself in to the Tongan police, and lots of of the opposite american citizens have been yes he had devoted the crime. yet by means of the country division, he again domestic a loose guy. even supposing the tale used to be stored quiet within the usa, Deb Gardner's loss of life and the outlandish aftermath took on mythical proportions in Tonga.
Now journalist Philip Weiss "shines sunlight at the proof of this grotesque case with the fervor of an avenging angel" (Chicago Tribune), exposing a gripping story of affection, violence, and clashing beliefs. With bravura reporting and brilliant, novelistic prose, Weiss transforms a Polynesian legend right into a singular artifact of yankee historical past and a profoundly relocating human tale.
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Extra info for American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps
Simmons, as we know, had worked in a mill as a youth in Weeley, so he may have paused for a brief chat with the proprietor Henry Whitmore or his foreman miller John Gunn. Simmons then took a footpath around the mill, which cut off the corner and emerged by the Rising Sun in South Street. He was now at the railway station – a place he would have known well, as the Chief Constable ordered that officers should observe passengers getting on and off trains. This was a sensible practice in Romford, for whilst the opening of the railway in 1839 had ensured the area’s expansion and future prosperity, it also meant that a relatively short and inexpensive journey now linked the town with London’s impoverished and crime-ridden East End.
In 1247 Henry III had sealed a charter granting Romford a livestock market every Wednesday, and it had become one of the largest in the region. 3 Naturally this could mean rich pickings for many kinds of criminals, from pickpockets to cattle rustlers. Thomas Simmons was to become an acknowledged expert in horse-stealing cases, and would have gained this expertise during those early days at Romford. Another 1874 view of the south side of the Market Place, this time looking west. The Swan is in the centre of the picture.
His chosen bride, Mary Ann Jennings, had been born in February 1844 at Downham, near Billericay in Essex, making her a few months older than Thomas. They were both the eldest of large families, and came from similar backgrounds. Mary Ann’s father William Jennings, originally from East Hanningfield, was an agricultural labourer who rose to become a farm bailiff. Simmons and Mary Ann were married on Tuesday, 1 September 1868. The ceremony took place at St Andrew’s Church, built only five years previously to the west of the town centre.
American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps by Philip Weiss
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