Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Idaho History features fourteen short profiles of notorious bad guys, perpetrators of mischief, visionary if misunderstood thinkers, and other colorful antiheroes from the history of the Gem State. It reveals the dark side of some well-known and even revered characters from Idaho’s past—both part-time Jerks and others who were Jerks through and through. They include:
Ezra Pound, native Idahoan and celebrated poet, who followed the slippery slope of socialism into full-on fascism, became a sycophant of Hitler and Mussolini, and eventually stood trial in the US for treason.
Lyda Shaw, Idaho’s most notorious serial killer, whose marry-and-bury modus operandi enabled her to make a literal killing on her late husbands’ life insurance policies.
Caleb Lyon, the second territorial governor of Idaho, who used his social prominence and political connections to make a very comfortable living (sometimes shored up with his own embezzled funds), dodging any of the actual duties that came with his political appointments, and doing precious little else.
Randy Stapilus is an author, blogger, newsletter publisher, and former newspaper reporter and editor. He also wrote It Happened in Idaho and Outlaw Tales of Idaho, published by Globe Pequot Press. A longtime Idaho resident, he now lives in Carlton, Oregon, with his wife, Linda, and a varying number of dogs.