Unlimited [Self Help Book] Ã Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City - by Kate Winkler Dawson ↠

By Kate Winkler Dawson | Comments: ( 508 ) | Date: ( Dec 07, 2019 )

A real life thriller in the vein of The Devil in the White City, Kate Winkler Dawson s debut Death in the Air is a gripping, historical narrative of a serial killer, an environmental disaster, and an iconic city struggling to regain its footing London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit for five long days in December 1952,A real life thriller in the vein of The Devil in the White City, Kate Winkler Dawson s debut Death in the Air is a gripping, historical narrative of a serial killer, an environmental disaster, and an iconic city struggling to regain its footing London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes All across London, women were going missing poor women, forgotten women Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter They never left The eventual arrest of the Beast of Rillington Place caused a media frenzy were there bodies buried in the walls, under the floorboards, in the back garden of this house of horrors Was it the fog that had caused Christie to suddenly snap And what role had he played in the notorious double murder that had happened in that same apartment building not three years before a murder for which another, possibly innocent, man was sent to the gallows The Great Smog of 1952 remains the deadliest air pollution disaster in world history, and John Reginald Christie is still one of the most unfathomable serial killers of modern times Journalist Kate Winkler Dawson braids these strands together into a taut, compulsively readable truecrime thriller about a man who changed the fate of the death penalty in the UK, and an environmental catastrophe with implications that still echo today.


  • Title: Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City
  • Author: Kate Winkler Dawson
  • ISBN: 9780316506861
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover

About Author:

Kate Winkler Dawson

Kate Winkler Dawson joined the University of Texas at Austin s School of Journalism as a senior lecturer in 2009 Before then, she was on the faculty of Fordham University s Marymount College for two years A seasoned documentary producer, news writer and TV news producer, her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, United Press International in London, WCBS News, ABC News Radio, Fox News Channel, PBS NewsHour and Nightline She s on the board of the Texas Center for Actual Innocence and lives in Austin, Texas with her family This is her debut book.



Comments Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City

  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    This is the story of how the fog in London in the early 1950s, combined with emissions from factories and vehicles, and especially thanks to the unrationed and inferior coal dust nuggets known as nutty slack, killed thousands of Londoners and made life miserable for millions more. During the winter especially, when there was no wind for several days and the air didn't move, the fog became the worst. The weather was too cold to go without heat and most people relied on the cheap and plentiful and [...]


  • Jill Meyer

    Kate Winkler Dawson has written a social history of London in December, 1952, when a "fog" of killer proportions blanketed the city for four days, killing hundreds of people, through asphyxiation and other respiratory problems. The book, "Death In the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City", is also the story of Reg Christie, who, between 1943 and 1952, killed at least eight people and then buried their bodies under the garden and the floor bo [...]


  • Mark

    In the winter of 1952, the city of London was blanketed with a suffocating fog, for five, long, stifling days, killing hundreds of people, with a poisonous smog, generated by the use of cheap, dirty coal. How was I not aware of this horrifying story? Talk about burying history. This is very similar to what the people of Salem, Massachusetts, did, by destroying any trace of the Salem Witch Trials. Shame, perhaps?Running parallel to the deadly fog story, is one of a serial killer, who was strangli [...]


  • Cynthia

    You know things are grim when debutantes make a fashion statement by wearing pearls and tying their designer scarves around their nose and mouth to block out toxic air. Dawson’s parallels two killers, polluted air produced by weather, anticyclone that keeps air trapped along with the need for cheap but smoke spewing cheap coal, and a strange man who enjoys molesting and strangling women. No one was breathing well in December 1952 London.Both these stories are so extreme I’m amazed they are b [...]


  • Jon Recluse

    In December of 1952, a brutal winter and inferior heating coal collided with London's infamous fogs to produce a killer smog so lethal, it took the lives of thousands and literally strangled a city. Meanwhile, serial killer John Reginald Christie was adding to the body count, hiding his victims about his home and property. Kate Winkler Dawson does a masterful job of weaving the stories of these two different harbingers of death on the streets of London, and displaying how each impacted that city [...]


  • Diana

    Book received from NetGalley.The book was ok, but not great. I think the author would have done better either focusing on the deadly London smog or the serial killer, but not both. I believe the book was just too short to do either story she was trying to tell justice.


  • Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: Exactly what I look for in narrative nonfiction - engaging and edifying."London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as [...]


  • Meghan

    Death in the Air is a dual exploration of two murderers in 1950s London: The Great Smog of 1952 and John Reginald Christie, a serial killer. Over five days in December 1952, the smog killed thousands of people. Christie murdered at least seven women between 1943 and 1953, including his wife, Ethel. The tenuous thread between the two is that they caused death by asphyxiation, and both were catalysts for policy change regarding the environment and the death penalty, respectively. Ultimately, the a [...]


  • Katie

    WOW. You must read this book. I am so bummed I can't share my notes (I got an advance copy from NetGalley) because there are some truly alarming statistics in here―all the more important due to the conversations we're having today around climate change, pollution, and renewable energy.Here are some callouts:"During both world wars, smoke became a defense strategy. In some areas of England, pollution was produced with the intention of masking the city from enemy bombers.""The accusation that th [...]


  • Jen B

    Kate Winkler Dawson does an excellent job creating an atmosphere that is eerie and smothering. The stories of serial killer, John Reginald Christie, and the Great London Smog of 1952 are both fascinating. This line sums it up perfectly: “The murders at 10 Rillington Place will always be enigmatic - a macabre mystery that belongs in an Edgar Allan Poe tale, complete with secluded bodies beneath an eerie fog.”


  • Stephen Prelewicz

    I am going against the grain giving this book a mediocre review. The title talks about the book being the story of a serial killer and the great London smog. I chose the book thinking it was primarily a study of a serial killer . As I read it seemed the true emphasis was the smog. The activities of the killer actually took place before and during the smog. This is more a study of the nastiness of the smog, than it is a case study of the killer.


  • David

    Those nice people at Netgalley are doing their level best to keep me supplied in a genre of book I am pleased to call “event microhistory”, wherein an obscure historical event is often shown to be more interesting and significant than commonly thought. This book is a entry in that genre. In this case, the author attempts to show that the murder by John Reginald Christie of at least eight people is not just another sordid case of a perverted weirdo victimizing the less fortunate, although it [...]


  • Amy

    Felt like there was not enough material for either story so the two were smashed together. Epilogue felt very rushed.


  • Rachel

    Fascinating!


  • Elizabeth

    I chose this title because I was interested in learning more about the Great London Fog of Dec 1952, after seeing it featured in an episode of "The Crown". I got a pretty good sense of the effects of that disaster within the first couple of chapters of the book. The secondary plot about the serial killer I found quite tedious and did not think it meshed very well with the fog story, I gave up about half way through the book. Too much detail about too many different characters, none of whom were [...]


  • Jelly

    A bit disappointing. Dawson's decision to parallel London's Great Smog with John Reginald Christie's murder spree of the same year was completely ineffectual. Christie makes for a rather boring, run-of-the-mill serial killer, whose predictable movements have zero connection to the fog running rampant throughout the city, and add little color to the narrative. It seems his story was simply added to bulk or "spice" up the author's historical account of the deadly smog (murder still does sell bette [...]


  • dg

    this is about the fog/great london smog a lot more than it is about the killings that took place at the same time. the author would start writing about the murders committed by christie, start ramping up to something interesting, and then immediately change the subject back to the fog, whether it be the science of it, the governments response, or rosemary sargent and stanley crichton who were affected by the smog. it just got so boring to read the same thing over and over again - i get that the [...]


  • Laurie's Lit Picks

    For fans of the Netflix series, The Crown, it is hard to forget the great London fog of 1952 that killed over 12,000 people. Combine that environmental disaster with the psychological disaster of a human being, Reginald Christie, Nottinghill serial killer, and a book is born. Dawson shows her journalistic past with deep research into both stories, though at times the details become slogged down in repetition and a dry voice. The science part of the deadly smog is fascinating, and scary as we wat [...]


  • Margaret Sankey

    Because of its geography, London has had a smoke/smog problem since the middle ages, when it hit a critical mass of population producing wood burning fires. In December of 1952, though, the use of cheap coal ("nutty slack"--the good coal was for export to pay down war debts) and a freak weather pattern blanketed the city in a deadly cloud of toxic mist. While the government of Winston Churchill and cabinet minister Harold MacMillan evaded dealing with the cascading public health crisis (the heal [...]


  • Ari

    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I feel conflicted on how to rate this book. One one hand, both "murderers" were interesting to learn about - I remember learning about the fog in an episode of Call the Midwife, I believe, and having watched The Crown, learning about the monarchy of that time felt familiar. I had never heard of the actual murderer, so I was curious about him. So on one hand, this book did a good job detailing the horrors of both types of murders. [...]


  • Stephanie

    Wow, I had no idea this had ever happened - how is this event not common knowledge? A fascinating and well researched book, unfortunately somewhat diluted by the addition of a second subject (a serial killer) which really wasn't necessary, as the great smog was entirely frightening enough on its own. A sobering reminder of how easy it can be to cause, excuse, perpetuate and then deny/cover up great environmental harm. Feels particularly relevant now, in the US, as we watch the same type of greed [...]


  • Hachette Books

    This chilling and masterful debut firmly establishes Kate Dawson as a breakout name in literary true crime writing. We are excited to share this one with you in October!


  • Katrina Gonsalves

    Amazing that 12,000 people died from fog and yet the current administration wants to roll back epa standards push coal.


  • Barbara

    I don't like to compare authors, but for fans of Erik Larson, Death in the Air needs to go on your TBR pile.I first heard of the "anticyclone" that caused a thick fog to encapsulate London on the Netflix series The Crown, so when this came out it was a must read. Dawson takes this moment in history and combines it with the equally dark tale of serial killer John Reginald Christie, an unprepossessing man who stalled the city during the years just before, during and after "the fog".Using Cabinet d [...]


  • Elissa

    I had a lot of feelings about this one, so I wrote a whole post over on my book blog (which is new — first real review, hay!). But in terms of books, it's a really absorbing read from the first half, to a slowdown in the second half, yet still compelling altogether. If you like The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America you'd probably enjoy this.Book blog link: elissa.wordpress/2018/02/


  • Jerry Smith

    A straightforward account of the Christie murders infamously committed at the memorable, now defunct address, 10 Rillington Place. Interwoven with this sordid tale is an account of the great London smog of 1952 which occurred in the middle of Christie's murderous spree. I am a fan of books such as this that tell a particular historical story and set it in the context of the times which these two, broadly contemporaneous events most certainly are.It is written in a very easy to read manner and sw [...]


  • Mark

    3 1/2 stars.


  • Paul

    There will undoubtably be comparisons of this book and "The Devil in the White City" but for me the biggest difference is this book reads more like a history book with a lot of facts, instead of a novel. This is the author's first book, but hopefully not her last. So the reason it is four stars and not five is that the two main stories and a couple of ancillary stories don't flow into each other very smoothly, a minor complaint admittedly, but believe me when I say I thought this was a very good [...]


  • asia

    “Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City” frames one of the worst pollution events (and it’s aftermath) in London, the Great Smog of 1952, through simultaneously telling the story of a serial killer who’s common murder method involved strangulation and coal-gas. The smog lasted five days and killed 12,000 people - either through accidents related to the decreased visibility, or from respiratory infection and disease. Meanwh [...]


  • Julie

    Fascinating audiobook. Compelling serial killer story with an even scarier story about the real threat of air pollution. Highly recommend!


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  • Unlimited [Self Help Book] Ã Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City - by Kate Winkler Dawson ↠
    118 Kate Winkler Dawson
  • thumbnail Title: Unlimited [Self Help Book] Ã Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City - by Kate Winkler Dawson ↠
    Posted by:Kate Winkler Dawson
    Published :2019-09-11T16:20:23+00:00