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Book Review:
A Peculiar Tribe Of People: Murder And Madness In The Heart Of Georgia
by Richard Jay Hutto

Lyons Press is proud to publish A Peculiar Tribe of People: Murder and Madness in the Heart of Georgia (October, 2010; ISBN 978-1-59921-997-4; Hardcover; $24.95) by Richard Jay Hutto.

In early 1960, as John F. Kennedy campaigned for the presidency, as Elvis returned from his stint in the army, Chester Burge--slumlord, liquor runner, and the black sheep of the proud (and wealthy) Dunlap family of Macon, Georgia--lay in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery. He listened to the radio as the news reported that his wife had just been murdered. Chester was eventually charged, and when the trial finally began, the sweet Southern town of Macon witnessed a story of epic proportions; a tale of white-columned mansions, an insane asylum, real people as "Southern grotesque" as the characters of Flannery O'Connor, and a volatile mix of taboo interracial relationships and homosexuality.

Chester Burge was a walking streak of deception and sex. After weaseling his way to be the caretaker of the last Dunlap sister, and forcing his way into her will, Burge and his wife inherited a fortune as well as one of the family mansions. Then came his numerous affairs with other men--including his chauffeur--and, either single-handedly or with help from a lover, the murder of his wife. The trial would spawn the first testimony in Georgia history of a black man disclosing that he had been a white man's sexual partner. Burge would be acquitted of murder, but convicted of sodomy. And this Southern grotesque tale doesn't end there....

Written in exacting detail with first-hand accounts, and populated by a cast of colorful characters, this masterfully rendered book takes us from the Civil War to the Civil Rights era. It is both a sweeping history of one genteel family and a powerful, redolent tale of the American South.

Richard Jay Hutto, one of the foremost historians of the Gilded Age, compiled and edited Accepted Fables, the autobiography of Jordan Massee, and wrote Entitled: American Women, Titled Husbands, and the Pursuit of Excess (with a preface by HI&RH The Grand Duchess of Tuscany), as well as Crowning Glory: American Wives of Princes and Dukes (with a preface by HRH Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark), and Their Gilded Cage: The Jekyll Island Club Members (with a preface by Stillman Rockefeller).  A former attorney, he served as White House Appointments Secretary to the Carter Family and was Chairman of the Georgia Council for the Arts.  He is an elected member of the City Council of Macon, Georgia, as well as a Knight of Malta and a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

I hope you will consider A Peculiar Tribe of People for a review, feature, or on-air segment, and look forward to exploring media opportunities for this title with you.

"A stunning glimpse into a world lost to the pages of history.
With characters so deceptive, it takes a sleuth to identify pure evil.
Hutto's book is a race to the finish!"
--Nancy Grace



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Richard Jay Hutto