Howard Blum: American Lightning

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2009
Contact: Paul Smith
Howard Blum: American Lightning

The Kansas City Public Library welcomes bestselling author Howard Blum for a discussion of his book American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century on Tuesday, January 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Twenty-one people died when dynamite reduced the Los Angeles Times building to rubble in 1910: it was the original “crime of the century.” The ensuing pursuit of justice enveloped three historic figures: William J. Burns, the legendary detective who was often likened to Sherlock Holmes; Clarence Darrow, the renowned trial attorney who championed the innocence of the accused despite overwhelming evidence; and D.W. Griffith, the industry-shaping filmmaker who detected the potential for great art surrounding the case and channeled his observations into his landmark film, The Birth of a Nation.

With American Lightning, Blum offers a compelling narrative nonfiction account of a society on the brink of class struggle through the prism of this far-reaching crime. Blum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and former New York Times reporter twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His previous books include Gangland, The Gold of Exodus, and Wanted!: The Search for Nazis in America.

A 6 p.m. reception precedes this event. Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP online. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.

Kansas City Public Library Beta