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The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard
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Steerforth Press 2013
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"Methamphetamine was a huge part of this case . . . It was a horrible murder driven by drugs." — Prosecutor Cal Rerucha, who convicted Matthew Shepard's killersOn the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar with two alleged "strangers," Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate. The Book of Matt, first published in 2013, demonstrated that the truth was in fact far more complicated – and daunting. Stephen Jimenez's account revealed primary documents that had been under seal, and gave voice to many with firsthand knowledge of the case who had not been heard from, including members of law enforcement. In his Introduction to this updated edition, journalist Andrew Sullivan writes: "No one wanted Steve Jimenez to report this story, let alone go back and back to Laramie, Wyoming, asking awkward questions, puzzling over strange discrepancies, re-interviewing sources, seeking a deeper, more complex truth about the ghastly killing than America, it turned out, was prepared to hear. It was worse than that, actually. Not only did no one want to hear more about it, but many were incensed that the case was being re-examined at all." As a gay man Jimenez felt an added moral imperative to tell the story of Matthew's murder honestly, and his reporting has been thoroughly corroborated. "I urge you to read [The Book of Matt] carefully and skeptically," Sullivan writes, "and to see better how life rarely fits into the neat boxes we want it to inhabit. That Matthew Shepard was a meth dealer and meth user says nothing that bad about him, and in no way mitigates the hideous brutality of the crime that killed him; instead it shows how vulnerable so many are to the drug's escapist lure and its astonishing capacity to heighten sexual pleasure so that it's the only thing you want to live for. Shepard was a victim twice over: of meth and of a fellow meth user."

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/24/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781586422158
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APA Citation (style guide)

Stephen Jimenez. (2013). The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Steerforth Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Stephen Jimenez. 2013. The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Steerforth Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Stephen Jimenez, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Steerforth Press, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Stephen Jimenez. The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Steerforth Press, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        STEPHEN JIMENEZ is an award-winning journalist, writer and producer. He was a 2012 Norman Mailer Nonfiction Fellow and has written and produced programs for ABC News 20/20, Dan Rather Reports, Nova, Court TV and others. His accolades include the Writers Guild of America Award, the Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting, and an Emmy. ANDREW SULLIVAN wrote the first national cover story in favor of marriage equality in 1989, and subsequently an essay, "The Politics of Homosexuality" in The New Republic, an article The Nation called the most influential of the decade in the gay rights movement. He was the editor of The New Republic from 1991 to 1996. From 1996 to 2000 he wrote for The New York Times Magazine and in 1995 published his first book, Virtually Normal, a case for marriage equality. His second book, Love Undetectable, was published in 1998.

      • name: Stephen Jimenez
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title
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fullDescription

"Methamphetamine was a huge part of this case . . . It was a horrible murder driven by drugs." — Prosecutor Cal Rerucha, who convicted Matthew Shepard's killers

On the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar with two alleged "strangers," Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate. The Book of Matt, first published in 2013, demonstrated that the truth was in fact far more complicated – and daunting. Stephen Jimenez's account revealed primary documents that had been under seal, and gave voice to many with firsthand knowledge of the case who had not been heard from, including members of law enforcement.

In his Introduction to this updated edition, journalist Andrew Sullivan writes: "No one wanted Steve Jimenez to report this story, let alone go back and back to Laramie, Wyoming, asking awkward questions, puzzling over strange discrepancies, re-interviewing sources, seeking a deeper, more complex truth about the ghastly killing than America, it turned out, was prepared to hear. It was worse than that, actually. Not only did no one want to hear more about it, but many were incensed that the case was being re-examined at all."
As a gay man Jimenez felt an added moral imperative to tell the story of Matthew's murder honestly, and his reporting has been thoroughly corroborated. "I urge you to read [The Book of Matt] carefully and skeptically," Sullivan writes, "and to see better how life rarely fits into the neat boxes we want it to inhabit. That Matthew Shepard was a meth dealer and meth user says nothing that bad about him, and in no way mitigates the hideous brutality of the crime that killed him; instead it shows how vulnerable so many are to the drug's escapist lure and its astonishing capacity to heighten sexual pleasure so that it's the only thing you want to live for. Shepard was a victim twice over: of meth and of a fellow meth user."

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Former Laramie Police Sergeant Mitch Cushman
      • content: "My educated opinion at the start of the investigation was that drugs were the motive behind the murder and that opinion was bolstered by conversations with other officers and detectives during and at the conclusion of the investigation. The more information I gather now, the more that conclusion becomes unchangeable."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "An award-winning journalist uncovers the suppressed story behind the death of Matthew Shepard. . . . As Jimenez deconstructs an event that has since passed into the realm of mythology, he humanizes it . . . Investigative journalism at its relentless and compassionate best."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 11, 2013
        In this radical reexamination of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, investigative reporter Jimenez suggests that the tragedy may have been less about gay bashing, and more related to drug trafficking and methamphetamines. Drawing on 13 years' worth of interviews and investigation, Jimenez pieces together a sequence of events and motives distinctly at odds with the public record. Instead of being the innocent victim of a hate crime, Shepard becomes a complex, flawed individual involved with the drug trade and other dubious behaviors. One of the killers, Aaron McKinney, is recast as a meth-addicted bisexual. Rather than a spur of the moment incident between strangers, there's every indication that Shepard knew his murderers long before that fateful night. As he ultimately notes, "…Matthew was part of an interstate drug-trafficking circle, and that the buying and selling of crystal meth was only one of the activities he and Aaron shared." In claiming that Shepard was killed because of drugs, and the "gay panic" story was offered as a cover and heavily pushed by media and politicians as part of a larger agenda, Jimenez completely changes the meaning and impact of Shepard's death. While Jimenez's argument is thorough and convincing, the controversial aspect may be enough to alienate many readers.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2013
        An award-winning journalist uncovers the suppressed story behind the death of Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student whose 1998 murder rocked the nation. Jimenez was a media "Johnny-come-lately" when he arrived in Laramie in 2000 to begin work on the Shepard story. His fascination with the intricate web of secrets surrounding Shepard's murder and eventual elevation to the status of homosexual martyr developed into a 13-year investigative obsession. The tragedy was "enshrined...as passion play and folktale, but hardly ever for the truth of what it was": the story of a troubled young man who had died because he had been involved with Laramie's drug underworld rather than because he was gay. Drawing on both in-depth research and exhaustive interviews with more than 100 individuals around the United States, Jimenez meticulously re-examines both old and new information about the murder and those involved with it. Everyone had something to hide. For Aaron McKinney, one of the two men convicted of Shepard's murder, it was the fact that he was Shepard's part-time bisexual lover and fellow drug dealer. For Shepard, it was that he was an HIV-positive substance abuser with a fondness for crystal meth and history of sexual trauma. Even the city of Laramie had its share of dark secrets that included murky entanglements involving law enforcement officials and the Laramie drug world. So when McKinney and his accomplices claimed that it had been unwanted sexual advances that had driven him to brutalize Shepard, investigators, journalists and even lawyers involved in the murder trial seized upon the story as an example of hate crime at its most heinous. As Jimenez deconstructs an event that has since passed into the realm of mythology, he humanizes it. The result is a book that is fearless, frank and compelling. Investigative journalism at its relentless and compassionate best.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from November 1, 2013

        Indeed, this book holds true to its subtitle. Readers should be prepared to encounter a radically revised version of the life and death of Matthew Shepard, a college student whose gruesome 1998 murder in Laramie, WY, galvanized gay and social activists. According to seasoned screenwriter and investigative reporter Jimenez (ABC News 20/20; Dan Rather Reports; NOVA), the myth of Matt is simply that: a hagiography unrepresentative of the all-too-human man. Jimenez spent 13 years investigating Shepard's savage death, returning to Laramie time and again in order to interview and reinterview the principal players in his life. Ultimately, Jimenez, who also is gay, demonstrates conclusively that Shepard was not a victim of a hate crime and a martyr for the gay cause but rather died because of his heavy involvement in the Colorado methamphetamine scene. Moreover, Jimenez establishes that Shepard was well acquainted with Aaron McKinney, his drug-crazed murderer, and that Russell Henderson, the other man convicted of the homicide, in fact did not actively participate in the killing. VERDICT This riveting true crime narrative will appeal to readers of books such as Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song.--Lynne Maxwell, West Virginia Univ. Coll. of Law Lib., Morgantown

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

"Methamphetamine was a huge part of this case . . . It was a horrible murder driven by drugs." — Prosecutor Cal Rerucha, who convicted Matthew Shepard's killers

On the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar with two alleged "strangers," Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate. The Book of Matt, first published in 2013, demonstrated that the truth was in fact far more complicated – and daunting. Stephen Jimenez's account revealed primary documents that had been under seal, and gave voice to many with firsthand knowledge of the case who had not been heard from, including members of law enforcement.

In his Introduction to this...

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