by Patricia Grandjean
Sep 18, 2012
09:41 AMBox Office
Jerks in Connecticut History
"Don't speak ill of the dead" is an old adage that some people take to heart but Connecticut Magazine’s own Ray Bendici isn't one of them. Bendici dishes about the antics of 15 of the state's biggest "jerks" in his new book Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Connecticut History (Globe Pequot Press), which hits shelves today.
“It takes one to know one,” says Bendici, who admits to being a jerk for casting aspersions on historical figures who aren’t even around to defend themselves. “I did stretch the definition of the word a bit to include more colorful characters—there are ‘lovable’ jerks like P.T. Barnum, as well as some whose ‘jerkiness’ could be debated because I thought their stories were well worth telling.” According to Bendici, there are also a few sensational murderers, a vindictive minister, a Native American sachem, an accused witch, an iconic manufacturer, a corporate con man, a mad bomber, the nation’s most infamous traitor and a self-proclaimed son of God—certainly, a lively mix of the dearly (and not-so-dearly) departed.
"We all love the stories of “bad” boys and girls, so here’s a chance to learn about some of the “worst” jerks Connecticut has to offer," says Bendici.“I had a lot fun researching and writing these stories. My favorite was William Stuart, a true rogue and terrific storyteller who ‘modestly’ entitled his autobiography Sketches in the Life of William Stuart: The First and Most Celebrated Counterfeiter of Connecticut, As Given by Himself. Now there’s a jerk I would’ve liked to hang out with!”
Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Connecticut History (Globe Pequot Press) by Ray Bendici is available at bookstores and online at amazon.com.Jerks in Connecticut History