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A Gentleman in Charleston And the Manner of His Death

A Gentleman In Charleston And The Manner Of His Death


Once deemed "the most powerful man in the south," Charleston newspaper editor Frank Dawson met his violent death on March 12, 1889, at the hands of his neighbor, a disreputable doctor who was attempting to seduce the Dawson family governess. More shocking than Dawson's demise was the quick acquittal of his killer on the grounds of self-defense. Drawn from events surrounding this infamous episode, the third novel from the Lillian Smith Award-winning William Baldwin pulls back the veil of a genteel society in a fabled southern city and exposes a dark visage of anger and secret pain that no amount of imposed manners could restrain - and only love might eventually heal.With a southern storyteller's passion for intricate emotional and physical details, Baldwin, through the fictional guise of Capt. David Lawton, chronicles editor Dawson's fated end. Having survived three years of bloody Civil War combat and the decade of violent Reconstruction that followed, the liberal-minded Lawton is now a famed but embattled newspaperman whose national importance is on the wane. Still, he remains a celebrated member of Charleston's refined elite, while in private life moving amid a pantheon of proud and beautiful women - Rebecca, his brilliant wife; Abbie, his sensual sister-in-law; Mary, the all-knowing prostitute; and Helene, the discontented Swiss governess - each contributing to an unfolding drama of history-haunted turmoil. Though Lawton loathes the South's cult of personal violence, by the customs of his era and place, he is duty-bound to protect his household, and though he loves his wife, he, like the doctor he despises, is attracted to the other women around him and entangled in his own sexual intrigues. Unable to act otherwise, Lawton meets his rival in a brutal physical contest, and in the aftermath, Rebecca, Abbie, Mary, and Helene must make peace with their own turbulent pasts.War, earthquake, political guile, adultery, illegitimacy, lust, and murder - all the devices of gothic romance - play a role in this tale closely based on the lives of Charlestonians who lived these events over a century ago. A Gentleman in Charleston and the Manner of His Death interrogates the social codes that govern behavior and relations among the men and women of different races and many classes and confronts us with the folly of the human condition. Will witnessing the killing of David Lawton instruct us as to how to escape our own fated ends? Slipped quietly beneath the storylines of Baldwin's quick-paced novel is perhaps an answer.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9781570036026
  • ISBN: 1570036020
  • Publication Year: 2005
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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