We Keep the Dead Close

By Becky Cooper,

Book cover of We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

Book description



'Exhilarating ... Becky Cooper masterfully uncovers the story of Harvard undergrad Jane Britton.' VOGUE
You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember…

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Why read it?

1 author picked We Keep the Dead Close as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

As a Harvard undergrad, Cooper hears a story about an anthropology professor who murdered a female graduate student with whom he was having an affair, burning her body with cigarette butts and surrounding her in red ochre.

This “macabre legend” illustrates a common critique of true crime—a victim provided no name and no identity beyond the way she was brutalized. A former New Yorker editorial staff member, Cooper performed meticulous research on the 1969 murder, debunking the affair rumor and instead exploring a more interesting story about memory, institutional power, and misogyny in academia.

She also excavates the story of…

From Rebecca's list on true crime that still honor the victims.

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