“Enthralling history” – Library Journal (starred review)
“Comprehensive.” – Booklist (starred review)
Also Available now:
JUST KILL ME
(Simon and Schuster, coming Aug 30, 2016)
A novel about a ghost tour guide who makes places more haunted by killing people at them! JUST KILL ME is a noir comedy about unsolved mysteries, dark history, strange legends, long distance love, and scandalous Disney villain fanfic. Starred review in Kirkus
MORE INFO FROM SIMON AND SCHUSTER (with pre-order links)
MORE RECENT BOOKS:
MYSTERIOUS CHICAGO: History At Its Coolest
(coming Oct, 2016, from Skyhorse Publishing)
For two days, all anyone in Chicago could talk about was the lonesome death of Barton Edsall. Was he murdered? Was it a suicide? On Oct 8, 1871, he was buried at Graceland Cemetery. That night, the whole city burned down, and everyone forgot all about him. The mystery remained unsolved.
Edsall’s tale is just one of dozens of unsolved mysteries from Chicago’s past Selzer delves into – from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and HH Holmes to more obscure antique serial killers, vanishing flappers, phantom kangaroos, airport UFOs, and puzzling tombstones. Poring over legal records, microfilm reels, and personal interviews, Selzer brings new info to light on old mysteries and brings many back into print for the first time in over a century.
GHOSTS OF LINCOLN (new!)
For years, stories have circulated about Lincoln haunting the White House, attending seances, and predicting his own death. Investigating everything from obscure seance transcripts and forgotten newspaper articles to the most peculiar paranormal claims, Selzer digs deep into the annals of history and reveals the fascinating true stories behind the tales, rumors and lore.
PLAY ME BACKWARDS:
(Simon and Schuster 2014 – now in paperback!)
A novel for young adults who worship the devil.
“Mordantly funny” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Hilariously subversive, but also tender and poignant” – VOYA (starred review)
“Timelessly true to life…a diabolically funny slacker-makes-good coming of age story.” – Booklist
FLICKERING EMPIRE: HOW CHICAGO INVENTED THE US FILM INDUSTRY
(University Of Columbia Press 2015)
The fascinating but too-little-known known story of how Chicago served as the unlikely capital of film production in America prior to the rise of Hollywood. Colorful, larger-than-life historical figures such as Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Oscar Mischeaux, Francis X. Bushman, Gloria Swanson, Broncho Billy, and Colonel William Selig all come together in this, the critically-acclaimed first book-length account of the era by Adam Selzer and Michael Glover Smith
GHOSTS OF CHICAGO
From Resurrection Mary and Al Capone to the Murder Castle of H.H. Holmes and beyond, the spine-tingling sights and sounds of Chicago’s yesteryear are still with us…and so are its ghosts! Seeking to find what we really know about the ghastly history behind Chicago’s ghost stories, historian Adam Selzer pieces together the truth, bringing to light dozens of previously-unknown bits historical data.
SPARKS: The Epic, Completely True Blue (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie
(as SJ Adams, Flux, 2011)
A Stonewall Honor book for 2013
SPARKS is the John Hughes-esque story of Debbie Woodlawn, a Full House-obsessed 16 year old agnostic who attempts to get over a crush on her religious best friend by embarking on a “holy quest” with a couple of misfits who have invented a religion of their own.
“Touching and humorous….Debbie and her offbeat cohorts are nuanced and authentic.” – Publishers Weekly
“Original and appealing…a kinetic and well-paced comedy that just might win a few converts.” -Kirkus
“Hilarious… will appeal to teenagers who are a little bit on the outside.” – School Library Journal
THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY
(Random House 2009)
Look, there are a lot of American history textbooks in the world, but not all of them have the courage to say what we’re all thinking about General Ambrose Burnside’s facial hair. Equal parts hilarious and fascinating, The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History was a Junior Library Guild selection, an Illinois Reads pick, and YALSA nominee. It’s very popular with history teachers who seem as though they ought to know better.
“Simultaneously a scathing parody…and a sweetly romantic tale in its own right. Hilarious.” – Kirkus
“This is one smart goth caper….Selzer brings the undead to vivid and crackling life.” – Booklist
“Original, unpredictable, funny, romantic, and tragic.” – School Library Journal
“Delightfully wicked.” – Publisher’s Weekly
AND SOME E-BOOKS:
H.H. HOLMES-LORE EBOOKS:
Full length ebook only $3.99!
Don’t have a kindle? Get a
|THE MURDER CASTLE OF HH HOLMES (FULL-LENGTH EXPANDED EDITION)
Full length ebook only $2.99!
|THE THREE CONFESSIONS OF HH HOLMES
In 1896, H.H. Holmes, “arch fiend of the century,” was paid to write a “confession” by newspapers. Published a month before his execution, he confessed to twenty-seven murders. Today he’s suspected of far more, but many of those he confessed to were lies. Some of the “victims” were even still alive.
So, how much of the confession was real? Did it contain dark hints that he was leaving a lot out? But clues found in his famous “murder castle” backed many of his stories up. Holmes, the star of DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, is now often said to be the most prolific serial killer in American history.
SMART ALECK’S GUIDE EBOOKS:
||THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO GRAVE ROBBING
Everything you need to launch YOUR career as a 19th century Resurrection Man, the Smart Aleck way! A complete history of one of the oldest professions, with tips and tricks of the trade. Fully illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle
|THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO NAUGHTY PLAYGROUND SONGS AND CHILDRENS’ FOLKORE
Based on our hit Playground Jungle blog, the history of songs like “Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat” and “Abe Lincoln Was a Good Old Man” will blow your mind! Find out how a song about making a violin from a dead body evolved over the centuries into a song about befouling your overalls. With an index, active table of contents, and more. 2.99 on kindle
|SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE 101
Whether you’re a Shakespeare newbie or a scholar who just enjoys cracking jokes about Harold Bloom, our Shakespeare series is just as informative and hilarious as their acclaimed SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY (Random House 2009). This is everything you need to take over the class in one short (42,000 word) book – without resorting to using drawings of Shakespeare wearing sunglasses or rewriting Hamlet to make it sound like the instructions to an NES skateboarding game from 1991! Only 99 cents on Kindle.
||SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO ROMEO AND JULIET
The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Romeo and Juliet, with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, jokes about stupid hats in the illustrations, an in-depth history of the play, where to find the hidden swear word, movie version guide, and more! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle
||SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO JULIUS CAESAR
The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Julius Caesar with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, a script for a play about peer pressure starring Brutus (who is easily prey to such things), Rome 101, Roman and Latin words to know, ancient Roman graffiti (much of which is about poo), tangents about the Muppets, and more! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle
||SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO MACBETH
The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Macbeth with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, notes on witches, the fascinating history of the play, speculation on how much of the original might be missing from the modern text, a review of the play from 1610, a guide to film versions, and more! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle
||SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO HAMLET
The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Hamlet with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, notes on what the heck is wrong with Hamlet, the quarto/folio controversy, film version guide, a hardboiled detective story, tangents about Muppets and Star Wars, and lots of pictures that show Hamlet’s stocking-covered butt. Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle
|SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE:
The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the guides to Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth, all in one huge, specially-priced volume! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. Over 260,000 words.
A big value for 6.99 on kindle
|BOOTLEG SODA: A SMART ALECK’S GUIDE
Pumpkin Root Beer, Chai Cola…100 original soda syrup recipes, along with 50+ old time soda fountain drink formulas, from the test kitchen at Smart Aleck HQ in Chicago. Easy recipes to unlock your kitchen creativity!