Upcoming Virtual Event

Virtual Event: Becky Cooper

presenting

We Keep the Dead Close:
A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

in conversation with PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE

Date

Nov
13
Friday
November 13, 2020
7:00 PM

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $3 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes award-winning writer BECKY COOPER—author of Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers—for a discussion of her latest book, We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence. She will be joined in conversation by PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE, staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the National Book Critics Circle Award–winning book Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.

Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store

While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of We Keep the Dead Close on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.

Click here to join!

About We Keep the Dead Close

You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn't let you forget.

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard's Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.

Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she'd threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a 'cowboy culture' among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.

We Keep the Dead Close is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman's past onto another's present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.

Praise for We Keep the Dead Close

"We Keep the Dead Close is part true crime, part memoir, part re-creation of the vast, compelling, disappointing investigative process. . . While the book is wide-ranging, there are no purposeless tangents. Instead, we are given a portrait of the kind of world Jane lived and died in, granting us both an understanding of Jane and the myths that her murder created." —Shelf Awareness

"I defy any reader to resist the hypnotic power of this Harvard whodunit. In a tour de force of investigative reporting, Becky Cooper guides us through a maze of academic politics and personal intrigue, her sleuthing laced with uncommon sensitivity and insight. Even as it engages us emotionally, this stirring narrative, with its heart-stopping finale, forces us to ponder the very nature of historical truth. A stunning achievement." —Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

"A brilliantly constructed, wholly captivating investigation of an unsolved 1969 murder. We Keep The Dead Close has it all: Cats, capes, Ivy League politics, archeological excavation, an ax in the turtle tank. Best of all it has at its center a subtle, stubborn sleuth who reminds us not to confuse our facts with our stories. Stories are dangerous, Becky Cooper warns us, as well she should: This one is going to cost you at least one night's sleep." —Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Witches

Becky Cooper
Becky Cooper

Becky Cooper

Becky Cooper is a former New Yorker editorial staff member and Senior Fellow at Brandeis’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting. Her undergraduate thesis, a literary biography of David Foster Wallace, won Harvard’s Hoopes Prize, the highest undergraduate award for research and writing. Research for this book was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists. She is also the author of Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers.

Photo Credit: Lily Erlinger

Patrick Radden Keefe
Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author, most recently, of the New York Times bestseller Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was named one of the "10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade" by Entertainment Weekly. He is also the creator and host of the 8-part podcast series Wind of Change.

Photo Credit: Philip Montgomery

 

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

Media Inquiries
mediainquiries@harvard.com

Accessibility Inquiries
access@harvard.com

“Up Late” Shirt Design

Now available as a hoodie! Order deadline is Nov 6th! This fundraiser supports the future of Harvard Book Store.

Learn More »

Pardon the Delay!

We're experiencing an enormous and unprecedented order volume at this time (and we're grateful for that!)—please expect delays on harvard.com orders.

Learn More »

New This Week

Shop this week's new arrivals, updated every Tuesday.

Learn More »