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Louisiana History: Bobby Dunbar and A Case for Solomon – Review

If you thought that the present day news media was corrupt then you need to read A Case For Solomon which tells the story of Bobby Dunbar and young boy who disappeared in the woods near Opelousas, Louisiana during a family gathering in the early part of the 20th century.

Louisiana History: Bobby Dunbar and A Case for Solomon – Review

louisiana history a case for solomon

A Case for Solomon is a classic true story of two mothers fighting over the identity of one child.

Had he fallen into the swamp, been eaten by an alligator? He had been wearing a straw hat which was never found. What they did find were his footprints leading and finally ending at the railroad tracks.

They deduced he must have been kidnapped and put out flyers and news stories until finally someone reported a boy who fit the description traveling with an itinerant tinker throughout the South.

Had this tinker kidnapped the boy and changed his name to Bruce Anderson? Did the mother of Bobby Dunbar recognize Bruce as her true son or was it the result of a mother in anguish at the loss of her child finding evidence for his identity where there may not be any?

A Case for Soloman tells a biblical story of two mothers claiming one boy as there own each with compelling evidence to prove their claim. It also tells the story of mistaken identities leading up to a riveting court case.

This is a classic tale all the more compelling because it’s completely true. It also tells the story of how reporters for New Orleans Times Picayune and the States and the Item manipulated events in order to sell more papers. After all back then a kidnapping was a capital offense and the tinker’s life was on the line if it could be proven that the boy Bruce was actually Bobby Dunbar.

The book, written by Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright, reads like a detective novel, very well researched and very well written. It’s like a historical novel except for the fact that everything in it is true. It’s the kind of book that’s hard to put down and found myself reading it late into the night.

louisiana history bobby dunbar

Bobby Dunbar with his mother Lessie.

On top of that the retelling of the scenes is so visual that it reads almost like a movie script. In fact, it has all the elements of a great movie: a mysterious disappearance, the anguish of the parents, a suspected kidnapping, mistaken identities, two mothers fighting over one boy, a highly dramatic court case and a virulent news media manipulating events for their own purposes.

Since it has all these great universal themes I would be surprised if this has not already been optioned for a movie or at least a mini series.

The Dunbar case was national news at the time and I believe is an important part of Louisiana history. A Case for Soloman a great read for anyone who loves detective novels, legal thrillers or historical novels. Or really anyone who loves a great story. It also provides a glimpse into the the way things were back a hundred years ago. Much has changed but much has stayed the same.

Get your copy of A Case for Solomon at Amazon

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Posted in Louisiana, New Orleans Books, New Orleans History, New Orleans News.

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