Murders Of 16 Year Old Being Paroled In New York The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb

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The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb

For those of you who enjoyed Sharyn McCrumb’s series of ballads, you’re in for a different side of life in Appalachia, unrelated to her other works or characters. This time McCrumb takes you back to 1866 to explore the real truth in the legendary Tom Dooley crime.

The Civil War has just ended. Tom Dula (real name Dooley) vows to make life easy after being released from a Union prison camp. He returns home to Wilkes County, North Carolina and continues to see his lifelong sweetheart, self-absorbed Ann Melton, who has since married to survive hard times. In it comes Pauline Foster, Annie’s cousin, who is the catalyst that brings about the death of three people.

McCrumb combs through period records, maps and trial transcripts to rewrite the myth of Tom Dooley in this fictionalized but factual account of how Tom was tried and hanged for the murder of a young woman. Although few of the characters are likable, McCrumb has a very readable style that engages the reader and keeps the pages flowing quickly. The fact that the story is based on recent evidence makes it that much more compelling.

If you are interested in how people create legends, how to separate myth from truth, or what life was like in the postwar South, then this is the book to read. Likewise, you might just be a fan of all things Appalachian. If so, you won’t want to miss reading The Ballad of Tom Dooley.

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