The Long Shadow Of Small Ghosts: Murder And Memory In An American City

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“A haunted, haunting examination of mental illness and murder in a more or less ordinary American city…Mature and thoughtful…A Helter Skelter for our time, though without a hint of sensationalism—unsettling in the extreme but written with confidence and deep empathy” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

On March 11, 2003, in Brownsville, Texas—one of America’s poorest cities—John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho murdered their three young children. The apartment building in which the brutal crimes took place was already run down, and in their aftermath a consensus developed in the community that it should be destroyed.

In 2008, journalist Laura Tillman covered the story for The Brownsville Herald. The questions it raised haunted her and set her on a six-year inquiry into the larger significance of such acts, ones so difficult to imagine or explain that their perpetrators are often dismissed as monsters alien to humanity. Tillman spoke with the lawyers who tried the case, the family’s neighbors and relatives and teachers, even one of the murderers: John Allen Rubio himself, whom she corresponded with for years and ultimately met in person. Her investigation is “a dogged attempt to understand what happened, a review of the psychological, sociological and spiritual explanations for the crime…a meditation on the death penalty and on the city of Brownsville” Star Tribune (Minneapolis).

The result is a brilliant exploration of some of our age’s most important social issues and a beautiful, profound meditation on the truly human forces that drive them. “This thought-provoking…book exemplifies provocative long-form journalism that does not settle for easy answers” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).


  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 01 Title

    Duração: 29s
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 02 Ch1

    Duração: 18min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 03 Ch2

    Duração: 28min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 04 Ch3

    Duração: 10min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 05 Ch4

    Duração: 40min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 06 Ch5

    Duração: 38min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 07 Ch6

    Duração: 18min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 08 Ch7

    Duração: 11min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 09 Ch8

    Duração: 23min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 10 Ch9

    Duração: 36min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 11 Ch10

    Duração: 13min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 12 Ch11

    Duração: 27min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 13 Ch12

    Duração: 24min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 14 Ch13

    Duração: 29min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 15 Ch14

    Duração: 08min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 16 Ch15

    Duração: 45min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 17 Ch16

    Duração: 16min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 18 Ch17

    Duração: 13min
  • LongShadowOfSmallGhosts 19 Credits

    Duração: 52s