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The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City's Most Infamous Crimes Paperback – April 3, 2012
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“Burns’s gripping tale may serve as an allegory for some of the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time.” –The New York Times Book Review
“This is a controversial and important book, presenting a powerful argument that the minority youths who are convicted of raping and nearly murdering “the Central Park Jogger” were innocent of that crime (though not necessarily of other violent crimes committed in Central Park that night). It demonstrates that our justice system is far from full proof even in the face of alleged confession, eyewitness and forensic evidence. Were these false convictions based on understandable mistakes? Or were they based on racial stereotyping? Read this fine book and make up your own mind.” –Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion
"Burns is a calm, lucid, and concise writer."--NPR
“Gripping from start to finish, The Central Park Five is an unvarnished look at one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history. You may think you know the true story of the Central Park jogger, but you don’t. Sarah Burns tells a harrowing story, in which her only allegiance is to the truth.” –Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland
“Remarkable…Straightforward, thought-provoking reportage.” –Booklist
“A riveting retrospective.” –News Blaze
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Top Customer Reviews
I learned a lot about the crime that I didn't know and I can't really criticize this book for anything but its light treatment of the topic. This topic deserved twice as much material. So I give 5 stars for what it did do and 3 stars for the fact it didn't get more in-depth. I was left wanting much more.
Having shelled out money for the hardcover version (because I love true crime), I regret that decision. I recommend this book but unless you have money to burn, I recommend getting the paperback or borrowing from a library. It's worth reading it's just not worth $17 to $26 for the hardcover.
Because he was not identified, even though he was right under the eyes of the police the entire time, Reyes was able to continue his vicious rape spree and even to murder one woman before he was ultimately apprehended. Even then, it didn't occur to police to compare his DNA with that found on Trisha Meili, the jogger. The match was not made until more than a decade later, when Reyes voluntarily confessed and supplied detailed information about the crime.
Burns convincingly describes how racial hysteria overwhelmed all reason. With Donald Trump taking out full-page ads calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty, and media pundits stoking public furor about black-skinned "animals" and "savages" running amok, no one questioned whether police had the right suspects: "Race not only inspired the extreme reactions to the crime; it also made it easier for so many to believe that these five teenaged boys had committed the crime in the first place, and no one was suggesting that they might, in fact, be innocent."
(Actually, a couple of intrepid columnists from New York Newsday, Jim Dwyer and Carol Agus, were expressing public doubts during the trial about the strength of the evidence connecting the youths to the crime, but their voices were not enough to turn the tide of public opinion.)
This is a quick read, and a fascinating story. Highly recommended.
Burns sets the geographical, social, and temporal scene of the crime in the financially struggling, crime increasing New York of 1989. The Central Park Five kids, all between fourteen and sixteen years old, who were in the park that night weren't there to work on their merit badges. They were making trouble, harassing and assaulting runners and bikers, throwing stones, and so on.Read more ›
She also distorts the truth about other famous cases such as Bernard Goetz and Eleanor Bumpers. Even somehow finding a way to blame police for shooting Ms. Bumpers when she is the one who lunged at an officer with a knife trying to kill them. She has the audacity to suggest they should have used pepper spray to deter lethal force. Clueless.
The Author wants us to believe that the confession of a serial rapist and psychopath is compelling evidence that Matias Reyes acted entirely alone in the beating and rape of Trisha Meili. His psychiatrist claimed that Matias is not capable of telling the truth and this was a guy who raped his own mother and other women. He had nothing to lose in confessing to this crime, there is no reason to give validity to the fact that he claims he "found religion" and felt bad that others were being accused of a crime he committed by himself.
The truth is that more than one doctor has testified and maintains to this day that the jogger's injuries could not have been from one attacker alone. One of the doctor's testified that she saw hand prints on the jogger's legs indicating she was held down while someone else sexually assaulted her. The truth is that it is very unlikely that one psychopath would have been able to chase down a seasoned runner, hit her to the ground, further assault her, and then drag her farther into a secluded area to rape her.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this book because I had to do a research paper and I really don't regret at all. Good story, the writer did a great job.Published 6 months ago by Noldimia Delgado
I thought I was ordering the DVD, so was surprised whens I realized I ordered the book instead. I have only started reading it.Published 20 months ago by Louann P. Dunn
Until reading this book [and also watching the film put together by Sarah Burns' husband], I had no idea to what extent racism played a role in finding the original Central Park... Read morePublished on June 26, 2014 by Wilma Wake
A SAD BUT TRUE BOOK. VERY INTERESTING....VERY WELL WRITTEN. I DID ENJOY IT TO THE VERY END.
I VAGUELY REMEMBER THE HEADLINES BUT NEVER KNEW THAT REAL STORY OF THESE YOUNG... Read more
This book has left out many facts that prove the 5 that were convicted were correctly convicted. Typical liberal account of facts. Leaving many inconvenient facts out.Published on April 24, 2014 by Cage
I got this book for my mom for Christmas. She loved the book and raves so much that I am going to borrow and read.Published on November 5, 2013 by Jacquelyn Smith