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The 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes and how they intertwine with the city's art, music, and politics In The Murders That Made Us, the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city's earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on M The 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes and how they intertwine with the city's art, music, and politics In The Murders That Made Us, the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city's earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on Market Street, to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the Zodiac Killer, crime has made the people of San Francisco who they are. Murder and mayhem are intertwined with the city's art, music, and politics. The Great 1906 Earthquake that burned down the old Barbary Coast shook a city that was already teetering on the brink of a massive prostitution scandal. The Summer of Love ended with a pair of ghastly acid dealer slayings that made the Haight too violent for even Charles Manson. The '70s ground to a halt with San Francisco pastor Jim Jones forcing his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch in Guyana, and the assassination of gay icon Harvey Milk. With each tale of true crime, The Murders That Made Us will take you from the violence that began in the original Gold Rush into the brutal displacement of today's techie ruination.


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The 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes and how they intertwine with the city's art, music, and politics In The Murders That Made Us, the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city's earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on M The 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes and how they intertwine with the city's art, music, and politics In The Murders That Made Us, the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city's earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on Market Street, to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the Zodiac Killer, crime has made the people of San Francisco who they are. Murder and mayhem are intertwined with the city's art, music, and politics. The Great 1906 Earthquake that burned down the old Barbary Coast shook a city that was already teetering on the brink of a massive prostitution scandal. The Summer of Love ended with a pair of ghastly acid dealer slayings that made the Haight too violent for even Charles Manson. The '70s ground to a halt with San Francisco pastor Jim Jones forcing his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch in Guyana, and the assassination of gay icon Harvey Milk. With each tale of true crime, The Murders That Made Us will take you from the violence that began in the original Gold Rush into the brutal displacement of today's techie ruination.

30 review for The Murders That Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers and Cult Leaders Built the San Francisco Bay Area

  1. 4 out of 5

    carla

    Oh man. The last chapter, especially the last few pages got me. But let’s talk about this book. It goes back to the early days of San Francisco and covers murders that occurred, puts a contextual spin on them, and still manages to add a modern sensibility. I learned so much history - especially in the pre-1950s parts - so many moments that help me understand San Francisco so much more. Each chapter is super short and easily readable and I found myself want to limit my reading to one to two chapt Oh man. The last chapter, especially the last few pages got me. But let’s talk about this book. It goes back to the early days of San Francisco and covers murders that occurred, puts a contextual spin on them, and still manages to add a modern sensibility. I learned so much history - especially in the pre-1950s parts - so many moments that help me understand San Francisco so much more. Each chapter is super short and easily readable and I found myself want to limit my reading to one to two chapters a night, just to enjoy the storytelling but also to reflect on these horrible crimes. Because in the end, there are a lot of sad stories. A lot of scumbags too, but some of these cases are tragic and awful. It also helps to know that sometimes multiple short stories are presented in a single chapter and you can see the thread that links them. These chapters are roughly chronological starting with Chapter 2 in 1849. Chapter 1 gives you a sense of the author’s own motivation for writing the book while the introduction gives you some guidance about his philosophy. Can’t wait to buy this for several people because this was a good combo of history, true crime, and humor. Great work Bob!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    I’ve visited San Francisco once and absolutely loved it, so it was fascinating to read about all the years of history. Each chapter is short but packed full with multiple cases in a roughly chronological order (aside from the very beginning). I liked that this book discussed some of the lesser known cases of murder that aren’t usually covered as well. Each case has varying levels of depth/information on a wide range of crimes, even though I wished that some had been expanded upon more. The autho I’ve visited San Francisco once and absolutely loved it, so it was fascinating to read about all the years of history. Each chapter is short but packed full with multiple cases in a roughly chronological order (aside from the very beginning). I liked that this book discussed some of the lesser known cases of murder that aren’t usually covered as well. Each case has varying levels of depth/information on a wide range of crimes, even though I wished that some had been expanded upon more. The author is witty and even funny at times, which is weird to say about a book that has such a dark subject but I really enjoyed it! Thank you so much to ECW Press for my gifted copy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ionia

    This book should not, perhaps be as entertaining as it is, I mean who wants to admit they laughed out loud at a book about murders? I did. I couldn't help it. The author has a natural way with tongue-in-cheek humour and deadpan delivery. Aside from the humorous aspects of this book, it was entertaining because it discussed some of the lesser known cases of murder that aren't commonly rehashed in other books of this sort. It was detailed enough to keep me interested, but never boring. If you are l This book should not, perhaps be as entertaining as it is, I mean who wants to admit they laughed out loud at a book about murders? I did. I couldn't help it. The author has a natural way with tongue-in-cheek humour and deadpan delivery. Aside from the humorous aspects of this book, it was entertaining because it discussed some of the lesser known cases of murder that aren't commonly rehashed in other books of this sort. It was detailed enough to keep me interested, but never boring. If you are looking for something that will infom you but also give you a giggle or two, however morally inappopriate, this is a book that you should read. I really had a lot of fun with it, and am still surprised, considering the subject matter. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    K.

    This was an interesting look into notable murders that shaped the San Francisco Bay area. The variety of cases were engaging and helped to show how the community itself was affected by the crime detailed. While the beginning went a bit out of chronological order, the rest of the book tended to flow well. I liked the personal connections of the author to one notable case and also enjoyed seeing these old cases come to life with more history. The only downside to me was that the case explorations This was an interesting look into notable murders that shaped the San Francisco Bay area. The variety of cases were engaging and helped to show how the community itself was affected by the crime detailed. While the beginning went a bit out of chronological order, the rest of the book tended to flow well. I liked the personal connections of the author to one notable case and also enjoyed seeing these old cases come to life with more history. The only downside to me was that the case explorations were a bit uneven, so some of the stories weren't as in depth as I would have liked. Overall, though, it's an interesting read for those who love true crime and history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Thank you to Netgalley and ECW Press for the arc of The Murders That Made Us by Bob Calhoun. 5 Stars- This follow the 170 year history of San Francisco and their crimes and how it actually likes to their art, music and even their politics too... it was such an interesting read to read about the crimes and murders in San Francisco. I loved reading this, i highly recommend for all who like reading true crime Highly recommend 5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nick Spacek

    if greil marcus decided to turn his attention to true crime, i feel like it would read like this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: December 5, 2020 Publication date: May 4, 2021 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from # Date reviewed/posted: December 5, 2020 Publication date: May 4, 2021 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes and how they intertwine with the city’s art, music, and politics In The Murders That Made Us, the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city’s earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on Market Street, to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the Zodiac Killer, crime has made the people of San Francisco who they are. Murder and mayhem are intertwined with the city’s art, music, and politics. The Great 1906 Earthquake that burned down the old Barbary Coast shook a city that was already teetering on the brink of a massive prostitution scandal. The Summer of Love ended with a pair of ghastly acid dealer slayings that made the Haight too violent for even Charles Manson. The ’70s ground to a halt with San Francisco pastor Jim Jones forcing his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch in Guyana, and the assassination of gay icon Harvey Milk. With each tale of true crime, The Murders That Made Us will take you from the violence that began in the original Gold Rush into the brutal displacement of today’s techie ruination. San Francisco has a unique and storied history of violence and murder and this book is a great anthology of said crimes. The different acts are well written and enjoyable to read about – it would appeal to lovers of true crime and mysteries alike. A great book to start off the summer with – the book comes out in May and begs to be read on a porch, a beach or in front of the air conditioner if next year is anything like this one. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🚋 🚋 🚋 🚋 🚋 (the closest I could come to a cable car!)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jen Juenke

    This is going to sound a bit odd, especially talking about a murder book, however, the author was witty, charming, and sometimes downright laugh out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author did a great job moving the timeline along for the San Fransisco area and which murders stood out. A couple of small criticisms....some of the stories ended abruptly and I wanted some closure...like what happened to the street urchin "little dick"? Secondly, some of the stories were not about mur This is going to sound a bit odd, especially talking about a murder book, however, the author was witty, charming, and sometimes downright laugh out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author did a great job moving the timeline along for the San Fransisco area and which murders stood out. A couple of small criticisms....some of the stories ended abruptly and I wanted some closure...like what happened to the street urchin "little dick"? Secondly, some of the stories were not about murders but sensational con men. I felt that the book did not need about 3 of these sections. Thirdly, the hoarding house...what happened there? We heard about the walk through but WHAT HAPPENED?! And finally, the last murder drug on and on. This was the one where I was like...I think this is a bigger deal to the author then to any San Franciscans. OVerall a good book about murders that shaped an American city.

  9. 4 out of 5

    C.

    The author uses humor throughout with gruesome details on some pretty vicious killings in San Francisco’s history. Being a retrospective of both notorious and not-so-notorious killings, the reader will likely be familiar with some cases but find out about others for the first time. Also, because it’s a retrospective, some cases weren’t too deeply discussed, so I definitely will be looking to read some of the resources the author notes in this book. Great book, especially if you’re familiar with The author uses humor throughout with gruesome details on some pretty vicious killings in San Francisco’s history. Being a retrospective of both notorious and not-so-notorious killings, the reader will likely be familiar with some cases but find out about others for the first time. Also, because it’s a retrospective, some cases weren’t too deeply discussed, so I definitely will be looking to read some of the resources the author notes in this book. Great book, especially if you’re familiar with the city.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ron Baumer

    An interesting read about the crime and murders in San Francisco. The author provides many stories to tell the tale of the city. The only regret for me was some stories seemed too short and could have been expanded on in greater detail. However, overall, a great book for the true crime enthusiast.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Review featured at www.books-n-kisses.com I lived in San Francisco and the surrounding area for 20 or so years. So when I saw this book on NetGalley I wanted to pick it up. And I am glad I did. I have heard of some of these murders but not all of them. But even the ones I heard of I was happy to read about to get more details or even correct info. We all know how stories get blown out of proportion as years go by. Some information gets changed or some omitted, so I was thrilled to read this. And I Review featured at www.books-n-kisses.com I lived in San Francisco and the surrounding area for 20 or so years. So when I saw this book on NetGalley I wanted to pick it up. And I am glad I did. I have heard of some of these murders but not all of them. But even the ones I heard of I was happy to read about to get more details or even correct info. We all know how stories get blown out of proportion as years go by. Some information gets changed or some omitted, so I was thrilled to read this. And I am so glad I did. We have all heard about “drinking the kool-aid”. And who hasn’t heard of Charles Manson? And the assassination of Harvey Milk was heartbreaking for the gay community when it happened. And each story I was fascinated with. I did learn things I didn’t know, which I had really hoped I would. This is a great read for anyone from the area or any fan of true crime. Maybe Miami will be next… hint hint! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John Marr

    Over the years, I've accumulated quite a collection of books focused on Bay Area crimes. And Mr. Calhoun's book is one of the best. The chapters on the "obvious" cases like the vigilantes, the Zodiac, Jim Jones, and Dan White are all well done, accurate, entertaining, and enlightening. Even the most jaded crime fan "who's read the book" will find them worthwhile thanks to Mr. Calhoun's eye for ironic detail. But what makes this book essential are cases that have rarely, if ever, found their way Over the years, I've accumulated quite a collection of books focused on Bay Area crimes. And Mr. Calhoun's book is one of the best. The chapters on the "obvious" cases like the vigilantes, the Zodiac, Jim Jones, and Dan White are all well done, accurate, entertaining, and enlightening. Even the most jaded crime fan "who's read the book" will find them worthwhile thanks to Mr. Calhoun's eye for ironic detail. But what makes this book essential are cases that have rarely, if ever, found their way into books. The chapter on the Penny Bjorkland murder (for which Mr. Calhoun's mother was briefly suspected!!!) alone is worth the price. Toss in chapters on the never-captured Doodler, the "River's Edge" murder, the last TWO California lynchings, and shorter pieces on local hucksters, mobsters, suicide spots, and that enigmatic severed penis found on the train tracks in West Oakland and you have a book no true crime aficionado can live without. If Sam Spade was still around, you would find this next to Duke's CELEBRATED CRIMES on his nightstand.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    The Murders That Made Us is chalk full of a variety of murders, victims and sociopaths. Author Bob Calhoun has certainly done his due diligence in creating a web of weird, unusual, well publicized and otherwise uncovered murders throughout the San Francisco and bay area. From the 1800s to present day Calhoun works his way through in chronological order after first sucking you in with a personal story of murder, his own mother’s encounter with a murder investigation. Beginning with the vigilantes The Murders That Made Us is chalk full of a variety of murders, victims and sociopaths. Author Bob Calhoun has certainly done his due diligence in creating a web of weird, unusual, well publicized and otherwise uncovered murders throughout the San Francisco and bay area. From the 1800s to present day Calhoun works his way through in chronological order after first sucking you in with a personal story of murder, his own mother’s encounter with a murder investigation. Beginning with the vigilantes gone wrong to San Francisco’s jazz scene, the Haight Ashbury district, the famous Sharon Tate Manson family murder and finally the death of a music scene legend of the Purple Onion, no killing is off limits. Any “couch detective” will instantly enjoy this book as some of the cases were well publicized and others were barely touched upon in the press, Calhoun brings each atrocity to life. Well written, well described and each scene uniquely set, The Murders That Made Us takes readers on a rollercoaster of death, mystery and intrigue. *Disclaimer: a review copy was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Absolutely fascinating history of San Francisco thru its crime history. Some stores most true crime readers will know, but others would only be known by the locals of the time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned some new history. I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway but the opinions expressed are solely my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    An interesting and informative book regarding the criminal history of San Francisco and its surrounding areas. From crimes to capture and sentencing even death row. An illuminating read I found it fascinating.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Oxley

    San Francisco is home to some of the most notorious crimes in American history. This book is a definitive guide and includes serial killers such as Charles Manson, and 'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez through to lesser-known crimes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Who knew of San Francisco's newspaper wars, or the city's incredible place in music history? You can also expect to read about Al Capone, triads, Apple Computers, and the murder of a famous gay activist, which I never knew about. Each ch San Francisco is home to some of the most notorious crimes in American history. This book is a definitive guide and includes serial killers such as Charles Manson, and 'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez through to lesser-known crimes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Who knew of San Francisco's newspaper wars, or the city's incredible place in music history? You can also expect to read about Al Capone, triads, Apple Computers, and the murder of a famous gay activist, which I never knew about. Each chapter tells a true crime story, and this chronological account by author Bob Calhoun (himself a San Francisco native) is a must for any true crime aficionado. Bob's narrative is is a newspaper report format with some local knowledge and insight thrown in, so you know this is the real deal. Fascinating stuff. Thanks to NetGalley for the read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Fantastic take on the history of true crime in San Francisco. Bob Calhoun has a grasp on the Bay Area and the many stories of murder and crime.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina (AudreyHepburnOfBooks)

    Calling all my True Crime Fans out there, this ones perfect for you! I just flew right through this book. It’s quick chapters with Interesting content, makes you not want to put this book down. There are a wide range of violent and depraved acts that are told; both popular and some unknown that makes it soo fascinating that you just keep reading. I just enjoyed learning how 170-years of murder and mayhem have shaped the people, the culture and politics of San Francisco. There is a wide array of d Calling all my True Crime Fans out there, this ones perfect for you! I just flew right through this book. It’s quick chapters with Interesting content, makes you not want to put this book down. There are a wide range of violent and depraved acts that are told; both popular and some unknown that makes it soo fascinating that you just keep reading. I just enjoyed learning how 170-years of murder and mayhem have shaped the people, the culture and politics of San Francisco. There is a wide array of different aspects told within this book. My personal favourites were on Mob Boses, Serial Killers and Cult Leaders, hello Charles Manson! We even see how natural disasters such as the great earthquake of 1906, shaped the San Francisco Bay Area. There is not one aspect that isn’t touched upon in this book to make you see how influential our past is with who and what we have become as a society. & common, San Francisco is a great place to tell these stories. They don’t have Alcatraz for no reason 🤔- I will get there one day and visit these must see sites! I’d like to thank @ecwpress for the advance readers copy of this book and I recommend this one! You will not be disappointed!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I thought this book was interesting. It was very interesting about the history.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Stevenson

    This was a well researched read into the history of San Francisco & some of the murders that defined the city. From corruption & vigilantism to serial killers, the author has a tongue-in-cheek way of delivering the information so that it is never boring. He also has the best description of Charles Manson that I've ever read - a failed folk singer and inept pimp who smelled like hot garbage. This is a good read for true crime fans. Thanks to ECW Press & NetGalley for the DRC in exchange for an hon This was a well researched read into the history of San Francisco & some of the murders that defined the city. From corruption & vigilantism to serial killers, the author has a tongue-in-cheek way of delivering the information so that it is never boring. He also has the best description of Charles Manson that I've ever read - a failed folk singer and inept pimp who smelled like hot garbage. This is a good read for true crime fans. Thanks to ECW Press & NetGalley for the DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Blake Greene

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I wanted to like this book. The premise is great, but the author engages in an eye rolling amount of selective narrative picking. Calhoun loves to build versions of the truth that are far less interesting than… the truth. In the end, Calhoun’s book is a low resolution version of complex histories. For example, his chapter on the pursuit and execution of “English” Jim Stuart is more about the wrongful almost-conviction of some Australians by an angry mob as opposed to the far more interesting stor I wanted to like this book. The premise is great, but the author engages in an eye rolling amount of selective narrative picking. Calhoun loves to build versions of the truth that are far less interesting than… the truth. In the end, Calhoun’s book is a low resolution version of complex histories. For example, his chapter on the pursuit and execution of “English” Jim Stuart is more about the wrongful almost-conviction of some Australians by an angry mob as opposed to the far more interesting story of English Jim. English Jim and his gang were a murderous, thieving band of arsonists who burned San Francisco to the ground NINE TIMES. The story of how English Jim was brought to justice is far more interesting and nuanced than Calhoun wants us to think. He paints a portrait of 1850’s San Franciscans as an angry, racist mob desperate to kill whoever fit their racist stereotype. This is a mischaracterization of how English Jim was pursued and executed, and a shortsighted view of early San Francisco. Calhoun would have us believe that early San Francisco was just full of bands of roving racists, desperate for blood. One only needs to read a handful more books on the period to see that cooperation was the dominant state of affairs in 1850s SF as opposed to murderous, racist chaos. The success of the San Francisco early gold trade and its establishment as a successful port city was largely built through cooperative commerce. And when that commerce was disrupted by the likes of people like English Jim, the city rallied to find, catch, and kill those who actually made the city worse. The weirdest thing about this chapter is that Calhoun leads us to believe that San Franciscans just blindly hated Australians and pursued them out of pure racial animus. Calhoun never tells us that English Jim was in fact from Australia, and that people of the time were asked to be on the lookout for an Australian gang of arsonists… which Jim and his gang were… so people were responding to the description of known arsonists, not acting out of some pure, original sin type racial hatred. To wrap, Calhoun applies this formula repeatedly throughout the book. He gives us a unidimensional look at complex, nuanced, and brutal acts of violence throughout San Francisco history. All of this makes the book dull and lopsided. Buried under this annoying book is a great set of stories. I wish we could hear them from someone interested in nuance, not ideologically driven narrative.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donald

    Overall, this is a decent read about a lot of different stories, mostly murders, that have occurred in, and around, the San Francisco Bay Area. As a local resident, I had heard about nearly all of the 'famous' cases, but hadn't heard about the less well known cases, especially the older ones. The author does a good job summarizing the stories, and since it's recently written, it has up-to-date information. My 'problem' with the book likes in, what I thought, was promised in the title: "How Vigila Overall, this is a decent read about a lot of different stories, mostly murders, that have occurred in, and around, the San Francisco Bay Area. As a local resident, I had heard about nearly all of the 'famous' cases, but hadn't heard about the less well known cases, especially the older ones. The author does a good job summarizing the stories, and since it's recently written, it has up-to-date information. My 'problem' with the book likes in, what I thought, was promised in the title: "How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers, and Cult Leaders Built the San Francisco Bay Area". The last four words seem very loosely interpreted by the author. He has stories in here from as far east as Sacramento, and a few from down south in Los Angeles. Hardly what we know as the Bay Area. I guess they are included because they have a connection with the Bay Area. I may be splitting hairs, but I don't think those are the same criteria. Now the first bunch of words in the title, through "Built". I was expecting much more of those type of cases and stories. And I was surprised at how many tales did not fall into any of those categories. I would say there are, for my taste, too many stories that are not about vigilantes, hoodlums, mob bosses, serial killers, OR cult leaders! Again, that may be up to interpretation, but that is my interpretation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    LilyRose

    The Murders That Made Us by Bob Calhoun is a nonfiction, true crime book that explores the 170 year history of the Sun Francisco Bay Area through the dark lense of its crimes and how they interlinked with the city’s politics, economy, arts, music and culture. The book explores and recounts such crimes as the Zodiac Killer, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, and the Charles Manson slayings. It is a collection of the corrupt, the absurd and the depraved. A fast paced read I wish the book had been mor The Murders That Made Us by Bob Calhoun is a nonfiction, true crime book that explores the 170 year history of the Sun Francisco Bay Area through the dark lense of its crimes and how they interlinked with the city’s politics, economy, arts, music and culture. The book explores and recounts such crimes as the Zodiac Killer, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, and the Charles Manson slayings. It is a collection of the corrupt, the absurd and the depraved. A fast paced read I wish the book had been more selective in its cases and presented these with greater depth and insight showing how the city was changing and changed by such crimes. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book in exchange for honest feedback.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book to read! The Murders That Made Us is a great book for those who enjoy true crime, history or have lived in the San Francisco Bay area. I have never visited or lived in the area so I feel like I lost some of the nostalgic aspect to the book. I think the book becomes much more rich if know the locations that are being talked about. Calhoun takes you through some key events throughout the history of the San Francisco Bay area, pretty much in chronological Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book to read! The Murders That Made Us is a great book for those who enjoy true crime, history or have lived in the San Francisco Bay area. I have never visited or lived in the area so I feel like I lost some of the nostalgic aspect to the book. I think the book becomes much more rich if know the locations that are being talked about. Calhoun takes you through some key events throughout the history of the San Francisco Bay area, pretty much in chronological order from the 1800's to present day. Some you may have heard of, others you may not have. Overall, I found the book to be engaging, easy to read and full of interesting information.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I love True Crime and for me, this book didn't disappoint. It tells the stories of crime in San Francisco starting in the late 1800s. I thought it was really interesting to hear about the different crimes that occurred, from famous serial killers, to the less known crimes and unsolved cases. It was also an entertaining and included some humor in the storytelling. I would have liked some of the stories/cases to have been discussed in more detail but overall, the flow of the book was great and kep I love True Crime and for me, this book didn't disappoint. It tells the stories of crime in San Francisco starting in the late 1800s. I thought it was really interesting to hear about the different crimes that occurred, from famous serial killers, to the less known crimes and unsolved cases. It was also an entertaining and included some humor in the storytelling. I would have liked some of the stories/cases to have been discussed in more detail but overall, the flow of the book was great and kept me interested. If you're into true crime and want to known more about the crimes that shaped the San Francisco area, definitely check this one out!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I couldn’t finish this book, and I hate leaving books unfinished. It just felt like a list of random murders with hardly any detail at all.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brynn | readyourworriesaway

    True crime is one of my favorite genres, and I was so intrigued by this one. Bob Calhoun takes you back to the early days of San Francisco and the murders that took place. I’ve never been to San Francisco, but it was still super interesting learning about its history. I loved the short chapters, because it allowed me to easily take a break and come back to it later. There were also multiple cases covered in each chapter, and they mostly went in order from the date they occurred. Unfortunately I True crime is one of my favorite genres, and I was so intrigued by this one. Bob Calhoun takes you back to the early days of San Francisco and the murders that took place. I’ve never been to San Francisco, but it was still super interesting learning about its history. I loved the short chapters, because it allowed me to easily take a break and come back to it later. There were also multiple cases covered in each chapter, and they mostly went in order from the date they occurred. Unfortunately I found myself losing interest multiple times while I was reading — and I’m not really sure why. There were some cases that I wish were explored in more depth — some were more detailed than others. However, it was certainly interesting to learn about cases that I had never heard of, and I enjoyed the personal connections that the author was able to make to one of the cases. The Murders That Made Us is packed with a 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Sarling

    The Murders That Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers and Cult Leaders Built the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob Calhoun brings us the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city's earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on Market Street, to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the Zodiac Killer, crime has made the people of San Francisco who they are. Murder and ma The Murders That Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers and Cult Leaders Built the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob Calhoun brings us the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From the city's earliest days, where vigilantes hung perps from buildings and newspaper publishers shot it out on Market Street, to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the Zodiac Killer, crime has made the people of San Francisco who they are. Murder and mayhem are intertwined with the city's art, music, and politics. This was a really interesting read. Covering a lot of popular topics that I was aware of but also a lot of stories that I had never heard of before. Such a wide range of aspects of true crime covered from vigilantes, hoodlums, mob bosses, serial killers and cult leaders, there is plenty to keep any true crime fan intrigued; but I feel like some of the smaller stories could have been fleshed out a bit more. My favourite aspect was the personal touch on which he started the book with a murder that his own mother was a suspect for, but unfortunately he never spoke to her about it before she passed. I also really enjoyed ready about Patty Hearst, the early day vigilantes and the riots after Harvey Milk’s assassination. Some dark but informative stories creating a perfect read for any true crime fan. TW: child death, death, gun violence, rape, violence and murder, police brutality, kidnapping, mass shooting and suicide attempts. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 3.5/5

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cricket

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily Hewitt

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