Tag Archives: verso books

The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, and His Sister

Vicente Leon Chavez, 16 // Lucio Soria // El Diario

Sandra Rodríguez Nieto | The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, His Sister: Life and Death in Juárez | Verso Books | Nov. 2015 | 19 minutes (4,857 words)

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The following excerpt appears courtesy of Verso Books. The passage—the book’s opening chapter—details a single terrible crime, which Rodriguez Nieto uses as an inroad to discussing Juárez’s emergent culture of crime. Verso writes:

Sandra Rodríguez Nieto was an investigative reporter for the daily newspaper El Diario de Juárez for nearly a decade. Despite tremendous danger and the assassination of one of her closest colleagues, she persisted. She didn’t want the story of her city told solely by foreign reporters, because, in her words, “I know what is underneath the violence.” This book traces the rise of a national culture of murder and bloody retribution, and is a testament to the extraordinary bravery of its author. Among other things, The Story of Vicente is an account of how poverty, political corruption, failing government institutions and US meddling combined to create an explosion of violence in Juárez.

A warning: the excerpt below contains graphic violence. Read more…

Vagabonds, Crafty Bauds, and the Loyal Huzza: A History of London at Night

Photo by Garry Knight

Matthew Beaumont | Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London | Verso | March 2015 | 37 minutes (10,129 words)


Below is a chapter excerpted from Nightwalking, by Matthew Beaumont, as recommended by Longreads contributing editor Dana Snitzky. In this excerpt, Beaumont describes the complex and transgressive act of nightwalking in London during the 16th & 17th centuries. He paints a vivid picture of the city at night and explains what nightwalking revealed about class, status, and the political and religious leanings of those who practiced it. The plight of the jobless and homeless poor in this era, which also witnessed the birth of capitalism, are dishearteningly familiar today.

Beaumont draws on a variety of compelling sources, which have been linked to when possible, such as Beware the Cat, a puzzling English proto-novel that features a man who attains cat-like superpowers, The Wandring Whore and The Wandring Whore Continued, and A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursetors, Vulgarly Called Vagabonds, which defines, among other things, the 24 types of vagabond.  Read more…