Ann Seaman

America's Most Hated Woman: The Life and Gruesome Death of Madalyn Murray O'Hair

A True Crime Biography

Did she unravel the moral fiber of America, or defend the Constitution?

They found her heaped in a shallow grave, sawed up and burned. Thus ended Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the articulate "atheist bitch" whose 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case ended school prayer. Her Christian-baiting lawsuits spanned three more decades; she was on TV all over the country, foul-mouthed, witty, and passionate, launching today's culture wars over same-sex marriage
and faith-based initiaves.

She was a man-hater who loved sex, a bully whose heart broke for the downtrodden. She was accused of schizophrenia, alcoholism, and embezzlement, but never cowardice or sloth. She was an idealogue who spewed toxic rage even at the followers who made her a millionaire. She was a doting mother who approached prospects to mate with her lonely children, and whose cannibalistic love led them to their grave.

She thrived on her fame, but just as the curtain of obscurity began to lower, the family vanished in one of the strangest of America's true crimes.

This is the real story of The Most Hated Woman in America, by the only author to interview the killer
and those close to him, and to witness the family's secret burial in Austin, Texas.


"Seaman has turned a wealth of research into a morbidly fascinating biography of the word's most famous atheist...Seaman convincingly portrays the late O'Hair as part celebrity-craving nutcase and part tireless crusader for separation of church and state."
--Texas Monthly

"Part biography and part true-crime narrative, this book is thoroughly researched and should put to rest rumors that O'Hair [lives] in a foreign country, surviving on stolen donations. In her first biography, Swaggart, Seaman treated a religious figure and a crook; here we have a devotedly nonreligious figure who paid too high a price for her temperament."
--Library Journal

"Tragic heroes are not conventional, two-dimensional heroes. They are human...Seaman's biography brilliantly captures this sense of O'Hair as the tragic figure...Seaman also tells us the story of David Waters, the man chiefly responsible for the deaths of Madalyn, Jon, and Robin...she slowly draws their stories together. The progressive intertwining of these two lives is the most interesting and moving aspect of the book."
-- Free Inquiry


"...Seaman has combined three genres: intellectual biography of an undeniably historic figure, true-crime thriller, and detailed social history...she frequently summarizes complex ideological arguments in clear and graceful prose..."
--American Conservative


"...a welcome addition to political science, legal, criminal justice, religious and general collections."
--Academia


"Most importantly, 'America's Most Hated Woman' places O'Hair's life in a broader cultural context, describing a church-state separation battle that reached fruition with O'Hair's landmark Supreme Court case -- and still fuels today's culture wars."
--Austin American-Statesman


From a reader, Barnes & Noble.com:
"A Riveting True Crime Story -- If you want to understand what is happening to American Culture read this book. Ms. Seaman has an unparalleled ability to research her subjects, often in dangerous situations she has the courage to tackle head on. She has succeeded [in] a true crime story a hundred times more fascinating than fiction....not only in this biography, but also in her previous one, 'Swaggart'...I highly recommend it."


From a reader, Amazon.com:
"The author really goes the distance in providing a deep sketch of the Murrays. I found myself detesting them and, at the same time, feeling sorry for them, particularly the children, who seemed incapable of resisting her gravitational pull."


From a reader, Barnes & Noble.com:
"A very good read -- This book is a fascinating look into Madalyn Murray O'hair's odd life and even odder demise."


From a reader, Amazon.com:
"Ann Seaman has done an enormous amount of research with this well-written...book. I recommend it."


From a reader, Amazon.com:
"This book is great. It provides much original information about the early life of Mrs. O'Hair, a timely and worthwhile book.


Selected Works

True Crime Biography
"...structured like a movie thriller...well balanced and thoroughly researched biography of a very complex woman."
--Secular Nation
Biography
"...remarkable...a mirror on the lurching changes in religion, sex and media in the late 20th century."
--Chicago Tribune