New Book: Memphis Vice, 1863: An Untold Story of the Civil WarHome | New Books | New Book: Memphis Vice, 1863: An Untold Story of the Civil War
Not all crime books are about murder or serial killers. Some of the most intriguing ones are about other subjects like gambling, Ocean 11 type heists, bank robbers, con men, spies, and other non-violent crimes.
And there is also prostitution. Veteran historical true crime writer, Tobin Buhk, author of eight books including the popular, True Crime in the Civil War, has just written a new book about the world’s second oldest profession–with a twist. His new book is about prostitution in Memphis during the civil war and it’s fascinating look at guilty pleasure type subject matter from an era in which we know very little about the sex lives, purchased or otherwise, of the common man, as well as the higher-ups.
Here is a fascinating synopsis from the author.
A long time ago, in a place not so far away, a battle raged. This conflict didn’t make it into the history books, and your history teacher never told you about it (or he likely would have been sent to the principal’s office). It didn’t occur on a battlefield peopled with men in blue and gray.
It took place on the mean streets of Memphis during the turbulent, third year of the Civil War, when the city’s demimonde controlled the vice world’s commerce. They spread joy to the boys in blue who were headed to an uncertain future…and venereal disease, which posed a clear threat to the army. Billy Yank already had a hard time fighting the tenacious rebel army, but now he had to do it with a burning sensation between his legs.
Something had to be done, so the Memphis provost marshal declared war on the prostitutes by closing the brothels, threatening to exile them upriver.
But business was so good, many of them didn’t listen, which led to a clandestine game of pussycat and mouse between the prostitutes and the provost marshal detectives.
Enter William M. Cherry, a married father of four from Illinois. Left with a debilitating and painful injury following the battle of Shiloh, Cherry went back into action by going undercover in the brothels to gather evidence for the provost marshal. Except Cherry, who liked to tip the bottle, slipped a little too deep under the covers of Kate Stoner’s brothel, which made for an interesting scene when Cherry and his straight-laced partner raided the place.
The result was a highly unusual and embarrassing trial during which all of the key players appeared in front of a military commission who had the dubious task of figuring out who had been naughty and who had been nice.
Unfortunately, there are no Nook or epub versions available. The author is currently working on the print version, which could be out later this year.
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