Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit

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Rowman & Littlefield, Jun 1, 2016 - History - 320 pages
25 Reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens—even, possibly, a beloved athlete.

Terror in the City of Champions opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Great Depression’s hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey—all while Joe Louis chased boxing’s heavyweight crown.

Amidst such glory, the Legion’s dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged “suicides,” bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean’s involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey’s Cochrane’s reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s brutal union buster.

Award-winning author Tom Stanton weaves a stunning tale of history, crime, and sports. Richly portraying 1930s America, Terror in the City of Champions features a pageant of colorful figures: iconic athletes, sanctimonious criminals, scheming industrial titans, a bigoted radio priest, a love-smitten celebrity couple, J. Edgar Hoover, and two future presidents, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. It is a rollicking true story set at the confluence of hard luck, hope, victory, and violence.
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Review: Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit

User Review  - Rick Goldsmith - Goodreads

having grown up in the detroit area , with all the familiar locales i loved the history and sports. the connection between the tigers and black legion was tenuous at best Read full review

Review: Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit

User Review  - David King - Goodreads

Clunky. I had high hopes for this book. Growing up near Detroit and a Tigers fan, as well as being a history buff, I hoped this would unpack events and a time period that was unfamiliar to me. However ... Read full review

Contents

Amid the Joy Punishment
178
The Pastor Who Said No
182
Uncle Frank
189
Come to Detroit Lindbergh
192
Joy and Terror 1936
201
Case Closed
203
City of Champions
214
Rumors
222

The Little Stone Chapel
52
The Superstitious Schoolboy and His Gal
60
Happy Rosh Hashanah Hank
69
Oh Those Dean Boys
77
The Attorney down the Street
87
Grand Plans 1935
99
A New Year
101
Mr Hoover Investigate
103
Harrys Caravan
113
The Radio Priest
121
The Killing of Silas Coleman
128
Worries
135
Unwanted Attention
145
Zero Hour
153
Louis vs Baer
159
World Champions
165
Poole and Pidcock
230
Secrets
236
Black Legion Hysteria
244
Frenzied Nerves
255
Dayton Dean and the Negro Reporter
257
The Captain
260
Wyoming
267
The CoverUp
270
Epilogue
277
Acknowledgments
283
Notes
285
Bibliography
309
Index
315
About the Author
329
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Tom Stanton is the author of several nonfiction books, among them the critically acclaimed memoir The Final Season and the Quill Award finalist Ty and The Babe. A longtime journalist, he teaches at the University of Detroit Mercy. Stanton co-founded and edited the suburban Detroit Voice newspapers, winning state and national press awards, including a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan. He and wife Beth Bagley-Stanton live in New Baltimore, Michigan.

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