We Is Got Him

The Kidnapping that Changed America

Carrie Hagen - Author

Hardcover | $27.95 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9781590200865 | 336 pages | 18 Aug 2011 | Overlook | 9.25 x 6.25in | 18 - AND UP
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In 1874, a young boy named Charley Ross was snatched from his front yard in Philadelphia. The child's father received a letter that read: "Mr. Ross; be not uneasy you son charley bruster be all writ. we is got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand. You wil have two pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent to."

Philadelphia had just won the bid to host America's centennial celebration. The country had survived revolution, civil war, and recession, and city politicians were eager to prove the country had matured enough to survive another hundred years. What they couldn't foresee was how a child's kidnapping threatened to unravel social confidence and plunge a city into despair. Hagen expertly weaves this historical narrative as we see Philadelphia's mayor fight to preserve his city's stature, and watch the manhunt spread from Philadelphia to the streets of New York. Based on a tremendous amount of research, the author accurately captures the darker side of America--with its corrupt detectives, thief-catchers, spiritualists, and river pirates--as a country in which innocence had become an ideal of the past.

"Adorable, blond, 4-year-old Charlie Ross of Philadelphia was playing in his front yard one fine day in 1874 when a stranger in a horse-and-carriage offered candy. If you can't make sense of Caylee Anthony or JonBenet Ramsey, join fearless Philadelphia writer Carrie Hagen as she unearths the definitive true tale of the first child kidnapped and murdered by monstrous adults in the history of the United States. As Erik Larson mined the 1893 Chicago World's Fair for Devil in the White City, Hagen's We Is Got Him chronicles an equally horrific, more heartbreaking, and tragically more relevant nineteenth-century story, with characters only Dostoevsky could invent." --Michael Capuzzo, author of The Murder Room

"Carrie Hagen's fast-paced We Is Got Him sets up a dual story of the search for Charley and his abductors during the politically charged planning of the United States' Centennial celebration in Philadelphia. That the two events actually overlap is a writer's gift to Hagen, but more the result of her triple-threat skills as researcher, journalist and storyteller . . . The descriptions are stunning." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Relentlessly suspenseful . . . As sad and unsettling as this tale is, Hagen tells it with the splendidly compelling narrative momentum of a contemporary true-crime writer, with the kind of lively historic detail that may inspire new walking tours of Germantown and South Philadelphia . . . This is an elegantly told, superbly accomplished history of good and bad intentions gone awry." --Philadelphia Inquirer

"We Is Got Him is a riveting tale of the comprehensive search for a missing four-year-old boy from Germantown, PA, in 1874 . . . A must- read for those interested in true crime and law enforcement history" -- Library Journal

"She has got us. From the first few pages, Carrie Hagen captures us with this richly-told account of a desperate crime, a devastated family, a frightened city, a floundering police force, and a wounded nation. Hold on tight: This pulse-pounding ride into 1874 America, an age of bright promise and lost innocence, will open your eyes even as it breaks your heart." --Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret and Washington Post associate editor

"Hagen's first book re-enacts with literary confidence and fine detail America's first documented kidnapping, in 1874 Philadelphia, of a four- year-old boy, Charley Ross...Hagen's writing balances journalistic sincerity and dispassion with exciting precision." --Publishers Weekly

"Resolution (crooks dead, informant jailed, boy never found) and all, Hagen's able debut should grab those who prefer historical to contemporary felonies." --Booklist

"Hagen skillfully narrates a saga that transcends one kidnapping, a saga tied up with the World's Fair that was about to open in Philadelphia . . . A slice of American crime history both instructive and tragically entertaining." --Kirkus

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