The Story of the New Zealand Gold Rushes
The paperback edition of this beautifully illustrated and accessibly written history, both critically and commercially acclaimed
In May 2003 the body of nineteen-year-old Jessica Kate Williams was found by a railway track in Portland Oregon: beaten, broken and horribly burnt. But the terrible chain of events that led to her death had been put in place almost a decade before.
James Daniel Nelson first hit the streets as a teenager in 1992, joining a clutch of runaways and misfits who camped out together in a squat under a Portland bridge. Within a few months the group – they called themselves a ‘family’ – was arrested for a string of violent murders. While Nelson sat in prison, the society he had helped form grew into a phenomenon. Street families spread to every city in America from New York to San Francisco, and to many small towns in between, bringing violence with them. In 2003, almost eleven years after his original murder, Nelson, now called ‘Thantos’, got out of prison, returned to Portland, created a new street family, and was ready to kill again.
In this dark and compelling portrait of one of America’s most frightening sub-cultures, Rene Denfeld draws on material gathered over a decade spent with the ‘families’, revealing the extremes to which desperate teenagers (the majority of whom hail from loving middle-class homes) will go in their search for a sense of a belonging.
PANZ Book Design Awards
Winner • 2009 • Hachette New Zealand Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book