The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy: A Family Memoir of Scandal and Greed in the Meat Industry

Pre-Order   Ships Jun 06, 2023

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$17.95  $16.69
She Writes Press
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About the Author

Gretchen Cherington's first view of powerful men was informed at the feet of her father, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Eberhart, and his eclectic and fascinating writer friends, from Robert Frost to Allen Ginsberg to James Dickey. As an executive management consultant, she figured out what made powerful men tick by working alongside nearly three hundred of them in their corner suites during her thirty-five year career. Her first memoir, Poetic License, has won multiple awards; her writing has appeared in Crack the Spine, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, Women Writers/Women's Books, MS. Girl, Yankee and more; and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her essay "Maine Roustabout" in 2012. Gretchen and her husband split their time between Portland, Maine, and a saltwater cottage on Penobscot Bay. Learn more at


"Gretchen Cherington is a bold, brave, and honest writer. Her heartfelt search for family truths is always grounded in thorough research and deep reflection. With both the clear-eyed perspective of a consultant to CEOs and the compassion of a granddaughter able to forgive human faults and frailties, Cherington skillfully honors her grandfather's legacy, while uncovering complicated truths. A powerful and beautifully structured read."
--Debra Thomas, Sarton Award-winning author of Luz: A Novel

"The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy is a compelling book of family history, an urgent look inside the machinations of wealth and power, and a wonderfully well-written journey into a fully realized past. Cherington, the daughter of a poet and the granddaughter of an astute businessman, wields the many elements of her inheritance with grace."
--Beth Kephart, National Book Award finalist and author of three-dozen books, including Wife Daughter Self: A Memoir in Essays and We Are the Words: The Master Memoir Class

"What happens when we unravel family myths? In her newest memoir, The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy, Gretchen Cherington finds no easy answers as she unfolds a true crime tale concerning a grandfather she never knew. As we're drawn into this intricate story of high life and deceit in the early 20th century, both author and reader wonder if Cherington's grandfather was complicit in an embezzlement scheme that rocked a name-brand company. With characteristic honesty, and relevant to readers everywhere, Cherington's powerful prose prompts us to look at our own family stories in new ways."
--Ashley E. Sweeney, author of Hardland

"Cherington's The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy combines what I love best about John Carreyou's Bad Blood and Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City--the fascinating interplay of history, business, personality, and crime. Not just what happened. But, why it happened, and why we ought to care."
--Shelley Blanton-Stroud, author of the Jane Benjamin Series

"In this fascinating historical memoir, Gretchen Cherington sets out on a determined quest to discover why her grandfather, who played a pivotal role in the early success of the Hormel meat company, was ultimately forced out of the company. To understand this pivotal event that forever changed her family's fortunes, Gretchen returns to her midwestern roots to uncover the truth about the meatpacking industry and the powerful men who shaped it. Engrossing me from first page to last, this is a compelling mystery of corporate greed, family legacy, and a granddaughter's search for answers."
--Laura Davis, best-selling author of The Courage to Heal and The Burning Light of Two Stars