A Death in Belmont and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $1.50 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
A Death in Belmont (P.S.) has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Death in Belmont (P.S.) Paperback – April 3, 2007


See all 22 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, April 3, 2007
$13.49
$2.00 $0.01
$13.49 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

A Death in Belmont (P.S.) + Fire + WAR
Price for all three: $28.97

Buy the selected items together
  • Fire $9.08
  • WAR $6.40

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Adventure," an engaging, interactive dive into the versatile actor's life (available in hardcover and Kindle book).

Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060742690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060742690
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,281,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine how strange and frightening it would be to see a picture of yourself, not quite a year old, with your mother and two men, one of whom is a confessed serial killer. This is what happened to Sebastian Junger, and only a small part of what he recounts in A Death in Belmont.

The quiet suburb of Belmont, Massacuusetts, is in the grip of fear. The Boston Strangler murders have taken place nearby, and now there is another shocking sex crime, right in Belmont. The victim is Bessie Goldberg, a middle-aged woman who had hired a cleaning man to help out around the house on that fall day in 1963. He is a black man named Roy Smith. He did the appointed chores, collected his money and left a receipt on the kitchen table. Neighbors will say that he looked furtive when he walked down the street, that he was in a hurry, that he stopped to buy cigarettes, that he looked over his shoulder. They didn't see a black man in Belmont very often, so, of course, they noticed him. So the story went, and on these slender threads, and his own checkered history, Roy Smith is convicted of the Belmont murder and sent to prison.

On the day of the murder, Albert DeSalvo, an Italian-American handyman, is also in Belmont, working as a carpenter in the Junger home, where the picture is taken. Two years after his work for the Jungers, he confesses in vivid detail to the crimes of which the Boston Strangler is accused, and sent to prison, where he is stabbed to death by an inmate. But he never confesses to the Bessie Goldberg murder. Could he have left the Junger home, committed the murder a few blocks away and calmly returned to finish his day's work? Could Roy Smith really have been the guilty party, even though his sentence was commuted after De Salvo confessed?

In the grand tradition of his bestselling The Perfect Storm, Junger tells a terrific story, lining up all the elements, asking all the pertinent questions, digging into the backgrounds of both men, retelling his mother's very strange encounter with Albert when she is home alone with Sebastian. He then asks the larger questions: Was Roy Smith convicted summarily because he was black? Was Albert De Salvo really the Boston Strangler?

Junger cannot answer all the questions, as no one can. Without DNA, there is no way to be certain of which of the two men might have committed the rape and murder of Bessie Goldberg, or if neither of them is guilty. While it is frustrating not to know for sure, the story is fascinating, reads like a tautly plotted mystery thriller, and Junger's close connection is downright creepy. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bessie Goldberg was strangled to death in her home in Belmont, a Boston suburb, in March of 1963—right in the middle of the Boston Strangler's killing spree. Her death has not usually been associated with the other Strangler killings because Roy Smith, a black man who was working in Goldberg's house that day, was convicted of her murder on strong circumstantial evidence. But another man was working in Belmont that day: Albert DeSalvo, who later confessed to being the Boston Strangler, was doing construction work in the home of Junger's parents (the author himself was a baby). Could DeSalvo have slipped away and killed Bessie Goldberg? Junger's taut narrative makes dizzying hairpin turns as he considers all the evidence for, and against, Smith or DeSalvo being Goldberg's killer; he also reviews the more familiar case for and against DeSalvo being the Strangler—for there are serious questions about his confession. As Junger showed in his bestselling The Perfect Storm, he's a hell of a storyteller, and here he intertwines underlying moral quandaries—was racism a factor in Smith's conviction? How to judge when the truth in this case is probably unknowable?—with the tales of two men: Smith, a ne'er-do-well from a racist South who rehabilitated himself before dying in prison; DeSalvo, a sexual predator raised by a violent father who was stabbed to death in prison. This perplexing story gains an extra degree of creepiness from Junger's personal connection to it. First serial to Vanity Fair;19-city author tour. (May 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sebastian Junger is the internationally acclaimed author of The Perfect Storm, which spent over three years on the New York Times bestsellers list and was the basis for a major motion picture starring George Clooney. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Fire and A Death in Belmont. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New York City.

Junger's time in the Korengal is also the subject of the documentary feature film Restrepo, which Junger directed with award-winning photographer Tim Hetherington. Restrepo, which won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for documentary at Sundance, will be released theatrically as a National Geographic Entertainment presentation of an Outpost Films Production in July, and will have its worldwide television premiere on the National Geographic Channel this fall.

Customer Reviews

The book is a very well written true crime account, but it is more than that.
Eliza Allwell
Junger makes his case that DeSalvo was the strangler and that Smith was innocent but this book is not a harangue.
MJS
The problem is in the second part of the book where too many "less interesting details" are hard to follow.
Charles-Eric Langlois

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By kevnm VINE VOICE on May 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Junger has, in the past, intertwined a number of narratives to add complexity and texture to his writing. This structure added to the drama of A Perfect Storm, as the reader moved from the Coast Guard rescue operations to the Weather Service, to the fishing fleet, etc.

Here, though, the multiple narrative threads diluted the work, and felt like padding. The book is the story of a black man caught up in the Boston Strangler investigation. Junger deftly presents evidence which suggests he was innocent. A small amount of additional interest arises from the recounting of the crimes associated with Albert DeSalvo, and even less from the fact that DeSalvo worked briefly at the author's parents' home.

The rest, racism in the South, the economics of Parchman farm prison, Kennedy's assassination, discussions of serial killers and the justice system (which appear to be written for sixth-graders) are strictly padding. They're completely pointless, and still any momentum the narrative might have achieved.

Junger writes well, and this inflated magazine article is not a complete disaster. Admirers of Junger's writing can only hope he finds a story better suited to his considerable talents.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
By all rights, this should have been a five page magazine article instead of a 300+ page book. Although the premise is mildly interesting, most of the book consists of obvious filler. The need for more and more filler means that Junger (and his editors) imposed no self-discipline in his sometimes excrutiating meanderings. For example, it is clear that whoever killed Bessie Goldberg committed murder. To add a couple pages to the book, however, Junger inserts a completely irrelevant description of the legal standards for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter that (by the way) are not even accurate. When you're trying to fill up pages, every random tangent becomes fair game. The telling detail is overshadowed by the extraneous detail, which leaves the reader with the impression that Junger is a sloppy thinker. It's too bad, because he's a generally fabulous writer -- he's not only an excellent stylist, but he usually can put together a tight, cohesive narrative. I'm sure he got a hefty advance on this one, but I can't imagine it is worth the hit to his reputation to turn what could have been a lively magazine article into a book length swamp.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lots of amazon reviewers gave this book a low rating essentially because they think Smith was guilty. I'm reasonably persuaded that Smith was probably innocent -- not as convinced as Junger is, but open to the possibility. Still, I find this book barely worth reading.

First, Junger makes serious errors in regard to criminal justice that show he is out of his element. For example, he writes on p. 95 "once a jury has found someone innocent . . ." As most TV viewers know, juries find people NOT GUILTY, rather than innocent. Junger makes a big deal later in the book about "factual guilt" vs. "legal guilt," yet never makes the connection that juries do not pronounce people (factually) "innocent" but rather legally "not guilty."

On p. 115 he makes a more offensive mistake, claiming "Ideally ten guilty men go free for every innocent man who gets locked up." How could anyone honestly think this kind of error rate is our legal system's "ideal"? American jurisprudence has no such crude calculus of how much error is OK. Rather, the idea Junger has butchered is that we require proof beyond a reasonable doubt and provide other protections to the accused to PREVENT A SINGLE INNOCENT PERSON from being wrongly convicted -- the phrase is "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." While it's true our system doesn't meet this ideal, the idea is that we bend over backwards to give rights to the accused, so that we're confident that when a person is convicted s/he is guilty.

Also in this vein, on p. 254 he compares juries to voters, another offensive mistake. In criminal cases we require unanimous verdicts, and they're called "jury DELIBERATIONS" for a reason.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a sequel to A Perfect Storm, this isn't it. Instead, the book doesn't quite fit into any genre that I can remember.

Having lived in Belmont for several years after Mrs. Goldberg's murder, I remember well the subsequent tension and watchfulness towards strangers. People were still shocked by such a senseless murder of a nice woman.

A little of that legitimate paranoia carries over into Sebastian Junger's perspectives and ruminations about criminal synchronicity in A Death in Belmont.

The frontispiece of the book reveals a photograph of the author (at age one in his mother's lap) while a smiling Albert DeSalvo (the later self-confessed Boston Strangler who eventually recanted his confession) stands behind as though DeSalvo is the center of attention.

On the very day that Mrs. Goldberg was killed, Albert DeSalvo was doing casual labor at the Junger home. A few days before, DeSalvo had acted in a threatening way towards Mrs. Junger in the Junger's basement. Earlier the day she was killed, Mrs. Goldberg had unwittingly hired a felon to be her housecleaner who was later convicted of murdering her.

So, despite middle class Belmont feeling like a safe place, it's obvious that criminals were able to easily and openly enter peoples' homes there. Today, we know that we should be cautious about strangers . . . and even the Internet can bring criminals into our homes. But in the 1960s, the suburbs seemed like a fortress where nothing bad could happen.

So the obvious story for Mr. Junger was to describe in detail how two criminals came to be in dangerous proximity to vulnerable women. And he told that story.

But somewhere along the way, Mr. Junger decided that he should play legal investigator. That led Mr.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?