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Home > Author > Paula M Uruburu
Paula M Uruburu

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Member Since: Apr, 2008

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  Paula M Uruburu

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Check out my book's website at -- See American Eve on paperback Row in the NY Times May 10th, 2009!

Background Information

Paula Uruburu is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Hofstra University on Long Island where she also teaches film courses and is the Acting Vice Dean of the School for University Studies. Acknowledged as the expert on Evelyn Nesbit, aka The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, she has acted as a consultant to A&E, PBS,  the History Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel  She is  a specialist in American Literature (favorites: Poe, Dickinson, Flannery O'Connor, the Gothic and Grotesque), women’s studies, film history, and 19th and 20th Century American popular culture. A native New Yorker (with deep family roots in Greenpoint, Brooklyn), she lives in Lindenhurst, NY in a haunted house built in 1890.

One hundred years ago, the trial of millionaire Harry K. Thaw for the murder of his wife’s lover—renowned New York City architect Stanford White—engendered an unprecedented media frenzy. The woman at its center was Helen of Troy and Delilah rolled into one:  the original Gibson Girl, the first “It Girl,” the Girl in the Red Velvet Swing—the first supermodel celebrity, Evelyn Nesbit.  Thaw was acquitted by reason of insanity, but the real story behind the “Crime of the Century” was the rise and fall of that young woman, illuminated vividly in Paula Uruburu’s AMERICAN EVE: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White and the Crime of the Century (Riverhead Books; Publication date: May 1, 2008; Price: $27.95).

“Paula Uruburu serves up an intriguing and meticulously researched slice of American history. Evelyn Nesbit typified the glorious excesses of the Gilded Age, and this story has everything: sex, deception, drama, and a lurid love triangle, all culminating in the crime of the century.”

—Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul
 “By centering her book on the ever-fascinating figure of Evelyn Nesbit—the stunningly beautiful chorine whose sexual charisma still burns through the Victorian photographs that adorn the book—Uruburu has produced not only a tour de force of historical crime writing and an illuminating social history but a rollicking piece of storytelling: a work that brings to life an entire glittering era while maintaining a breathless narrative pace.”

—Harold Schecter, author of  The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century
 “Of all the famous beauties of a hundred years ago, Evelyn Nesbit is the only one who would still turn heads today. Paula Uruburu's triumph is to fix this very modern-looking girl in her proper time and place, and also to describe the New York of the early 1900s so vividly that we feel we, too, could be strolling towards the 21st Street apartment where the teen was seduced by Stanford White—or sitting in Madison Square Garden on the fatal evening that White was shot dead.”

—Mike Dash, author of Satan’s Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New York’s Trial of the Century
 “Paula Uruburu has given life to the tragic American story of the poor, beautiful nymph whose fate is so often entangled with extreme wealth and the powerful man. Evelyn Nesbit is like a Dreiser heroine—Sister Carrie, Jenny Gerhardt—though hers is a true story, harrowing in this writer's hands.”

—Martha McPhee, author of L’America and Gorgeous Lies
 “In American Eve, a fascinating evocation of a woman and her times, Paula Uruburu does more than just tell the story of Evelyn Nesbit. Sex, money, scandal, celebrity, doom—the whole cocktail of America’s obsessions is served up here in this intriguing, addictive book.”

—Zachary Lazar, author of Sway
 “Wonderfully absorbing . . . A lurid tabloid story of yore brought to fresh life and relevance with remarkable insight, verve and wisdom. Old New York is laid bare in all its decadence and the cult of pubescent beauty traced to its source, all with worldliness, wit, humor, compassion, and suspense. The result is a real page-turner.”

—Philip Lopate, author of  Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan and
     Writing New York
 “Tragic now when a century ago it seemed merely scandalous, the story of Evelyn Nesbit is a gripping cautionary tale for those who believe Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are the first of their kind. How is it that after a century of feminism, young beautiful women still crash and burn for an eager public? Using newly available family sources, Paula Uruburu tells Evelyn Nesbit’s story in all its darkness and terror.”

—Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter
 “In American Eve a beautiful young woman, a lecherous prince of New York, and an unstable husband show us how the national sport of media-fed scandal began. Before the story ends, one man is dead, another is locked away, and Paula Uruburu has given us a look at an age of excess that looks remarkably like our own. It is page turning history at its best.”

—Michael D’Antonio, author of Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams

“ In American Eve, Paula Uruburu has followed the  ultimate paper trail,  fleshing out the fantasy. The writing is superb, the eye for turn of the century detail riveting. ...  and the re-imagining of Evelyn's choices, of her state of mind quite moving.
The cast of characters is disturbingly familiar. The handlers, the estranged next of kin, the hungry press, the lawyers, the spin doctors--this is a story as fresh as last night's Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight -- only with solid research instead of sound bites.  Uruburu captures Nesbit's  core of dignity and reclaims the person. The American Eve that emerges is a much smaller figure than the myth, all the more lonely, all the more human. 

--James Petersen, Author of The Century of Sex




Birth Place
Queens, NY USA
Additional Information

See my reviews in April Vogue and May O! Reading and book signing for AMERICAN EVE. National Arts Club, NYC Friday June 6th 8 p.m. 15 Gramercy Park S.

Contact Information

Department of English Hofstra University
Hempstead NY 11549   USA
Contact Author: Paula M Uruburu

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