New release from FAPA member and 2018 medalist, George R. (Bob) Deckle, Sr.

by | Jul 8, 2019 | Member Updates

FAPA member and 2018 Gold medalist for Biography and Politics, George R. (Bob) Deckle, Sr., has released Six Capsules, The Gilded Age Murder of Helen Potts.  The book was published by Kent State University Press in May 2019.

THE PERMANENT SOLUTION TO A WIFE’S CHRONIC HEADACHE

As Ted Bundy was to the 20th century, so Carlyle Harris was to the 19th. Harris was a charismatic, handsome young medical student with an insatiable appetite for sex. His trail of debauched women ended with Helen Potts, a beautiful young woman of wealth and privilege who was determined to keep herself pure for marriage. Unable to conquer her by other means, Harris talked her into a secret marriage under assumed names, and when threatened with exposure, he poisoned her.

The resulting trial garnered national headlines and launched the careers of two of New York’s most famous prosecutors, Francis L. Wellman and William Travers Jerome. It also spurred vigorous debate about Harris’s guilt or innocence, the value of circumstantial evidence, the worth of expert testimony, and the advisability of the death penalty. Six Capsules traces Harris’s crime and his sub­sequent trial and highlights what has been overlooked—the decisive role that the second-class status of women in Victorian Era culture played in this tragedy.

The Harris case is all but forgotten today, but Six Capsules seeks to recover this important milestone in American legal history.

Very few historical nonfiction writers capture the essence of an era. Fewer do that with the grace and talent of a novelist. George Dekle not only presents the story of what could be the first #MeToo moment in American history–complete with deception, psychopathy, murder, and justice–but elevates his narrative by compassionately showcasing victim Helen Potts’s role in American history as a forgotten martyr for women’s rights. An incredible book, Six Capsules is the first must-read of the spring 2019 season … teeming with vitality, integrity, insight, new information … delving into the dark elements of a society long forgotten. A stimulating, lavish and page-turning narrative.

M. William Phelps

New York Times bestselling author

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