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Terror in the City of Champions

Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit

By Tom Stanton
Narrated by Johnny Heller / 9 hours 37 minutes
Bookseller Recommendation

Terror in the City of Champions

“Think "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson meets 1930’s Depression-era Detroit in Tom Stanton’s latest tale of the Tigers, "Terror in the City of Champions." In the midst of celebrating the success of winning the pennant, Detroiter’s are slowly realizing the terror lurking behind the city scenes. A secretive, destructive Klan-like group known as the Black Legion. Vicious and vengeful, the Legion is tormenting the victorious city with unexplained murders, floggings and fire bombs, led by baseball-loving Dayton Dean, a man determined to clean out the unwanted and unworthy. Get a first peek at the future voice of the Tigers, Ernie Harwell as well as historical figures, including Joe Louis, Ty Cobb, Ronald Reagan and a controversial J. Edgar Hoover. Stanton has hit a home run with his eighth book! I highly recommend to all non-fiction…and, fiction fans.”

McLean & Eakin Booksellers image Kristin, McLean & Eakin Booksellers

Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens—even, possibly, a beloved athlete. Terror in the City of Champions opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Great Depression's hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey—all while Joe Louis chased boxing's heavyweight crown.

Amidst such glory, the Legion's dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged “suicides,” bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean's involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey Cochrane's reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford's brutal union buster.

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