The Murders That Made Us by Bob Calhoun, ECW Press

The Murders That Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers, and Cult Leaders Built the San Francisco Bay Area

Calhoun, Bob

  • The 170-year history of the San Francisco Bay Area told through its crimes and how they intertwine with the city’s art, music, and politics

    In The Murders That Made Us, the story of the San Francisco Bay Area unfolds through its most violent and depraved acts. From its earliest days when vigilantes hung perps from downtown buildings to the Zodiac Killer and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, murder and mayhem have shaped the city into the political and economic force that she is today.

    The Great 1906 Earthquake shook a city that was already teetering on the brink of a massive prostitution scandal. The Summer of Love ended with a pair of ghastly drug dealer slayings that sent Charles Manson packing for Los Angeles. The 1970s come crashing down with the double tragedy of Jonestown and the assassination of Gay icon Harvey Milk by an ex-cop. And the 21st Century rise of California Governor Gavin Newsom, Trump insider Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Vice President Kamala Harris is told through a brutal dog-mauling case and the absurdity called Fajitagate. It’s a 170-year saga of madness, corruption, and death revealed here one crime at a time.

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  • Bob Calhoun is a San Francisco Bay Area author, journalist, and former punk wrestler and peepshow emcee. Since 2015, he has recounted his city’s most gruesome and lurid events in his regular SF Weekly column, “Yesterday’s Crimes.” His punk wrestling memoir, Beer, Blood & Cornmeal (ECW Press), is a national bestseller.

  • Published: May 2021

    ISBN: 9781770415492

    Dimensions: 5.75 x 8.75 in.

    Pages: 336


“Calhoun writes with wit and passion about the city he loves and its bloody history. This is a feast for true crime fans.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Bob Calhoun’s The Murders That Made Us reveals that even the most violent aspects of San Francisco’s history are as colorful and fascinating as the city itself. This is a book for both true crime buffs and any readers who enjoy top-notch storytelling.” — Jeff Guinn, New York Times bestselling author of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson and The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

“This book explores the darkest corners of Bay Area history. It reminded me why I love my hometown so much and have never been able to leave. Even paradise has perverts, predators, and parasites and Bob Calhoun wrangles them all front and center in this Whitman's Sampler of wickedness.” — Eddie Muller, Host of TCM's Noir Alley and founder of the Film Noir Foundation

“Calhoun’s style is irreverent and clever, and his affection for the city is clear … Enjoy this book in short sips — there is much to savor here for both true crime fans and lovers of San Francisco. Hand this title to those who appreciated David Talbot’s Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love.” — Library Journal

“A gripping, deliciously shocking, expertly researched true-crime history of the Bay Area.” — Alia Volz, author of Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco