A Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American Town

Barry Siegel (Author)
Available

Description

A mother's search for the son she gave up uncovers terrifying secrets in a Minnesota town in this "masterfully depicted true-crime tale" (Publishers Weekly).

In 1962, Jerry Sherwood gave up her newborn son, Dennis, for adoption. Twenty years later, she set out to find him--only to discover he had died before his fourth birthday. The immediate cause was peritonitis, but the coroner had never decided the mode of death, writing "deferred" rather than indicate accident, natural causes, or homicide. This he did even though the autopsy photos showed Dennis covered from head to toe in ugly bruises, his clenched fists and twisted facial expression suggesting he had died writhing in pain.

Harold and Lois Jurgens, a middle-class, churchgoing couple in picturesque White Bear Lake, Minnesota, had adopted Dennis and five other foster children. To all appearances, they were a normal midwestern family, but Jerry suspected that something sinister had happened in the Jurgens household. She demanded to know the truth about her son's death.

Why did authorities dismiss evidence that marked Dennis as an endangered child? Could Lois Jurgens's brother, a local police lieutenant, have interfered in the investigation? And most disturbing of all, why had so many people who'd witnessed Lois's brutal treatment of her children stay silent for so long? Determined to find answers, local detectives and prosecutors rebuilt the case brick by brick, finally exposing the shocking truth behind a nightmare in suburbia.

A finalist for the Edgar Award, A Death in White Bear Lake is "a distinguished entry in the annals of crime documentary," and a vivid portrait of the all-American town that harbored a sadistic killer (The Washington Post).

Product Details

Price
$19.99  $18.39
Publisher
Open Road Media
Publish Date
September 26, 2017
Pages
530
Dimensions
5.24 X 1.19 X 7.99 inches | 1.32 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781504047579
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Barry Siegel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of seven books. Born in St. Louis and raised in Los Angeles, he joined the Los Angeles Times in 1976 as a staff writer and became a roving national correspondent in 1980. His articles have garnered dozens of honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, two PEN Center USA West Literary Awards in Journalism, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, and the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award. In 2003, Siegel left the Los Angeles Times to become founding director of the literary journalism program at the University of California, Irvine. His books include the Chumash County trilogy of legal thrillers; the Edgar Award finalist A Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American Town (1990); and, most recently, Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Fought for His Freedom (2013).

Reviews

"Fascinating . . . A work of compelling narrative force and enduring value, A Death in White Bear Lake guides us along an increasingly clear path--from horror to enlightenment." --The New York Times Book Review

"Telling detail . . . and crack research . . . [fill] Barry Siegel's book. But those are not the only authorial virtues displayed. There's the book's very structure, which keeps the revelations coming, one right after the next. Then too there's the restraint. Siegel lets the players damn themselves as they reminisce about the case . . . And Siegel manages, despite the widespread national publicity the case received, to keep suspense high." --The Washington Post

"Fascinating reading." --Detroit Free Press

"One of the most startling nonfiction books of the year." --Playboy

"Chilling in its exactness and precise in its details." --Star News (Pasadena)

"Siegel doesn't spare the reader . . . emphatically indicting a society that looks the other way." --Kirkus Reviews

"If ever anyone needs to be convinced that child abuse cuts across sociological lines, this is the book to read." --The San Diego Union

"To read it is to stare steadily through the windowpane at the vicious underside of middle-class respectability." --Omaha Metro Update

"[Siegel] tells a great deal about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances." --The Boston Herald

"A haunting story . . . Siegel is one of the finest reporters we have. He does not stop where others do; he keeps probing deeper and deeper until he strikes gold--that place where we come face-to-face with ourselves." --Sara Davidson, New York Times-bestselling author

"Remarkable . . . Engrossing . . . Immensely shocking . . . The court drama is gripping and its conclusion just right." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune