- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (March 16, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393350576
- ISBN-13: 978-0393350579
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 143 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, as America was losing its 1950s innocence and beginning to confront the darker recesses of human behavior, another heinous crime brought the nation’s changing culture into grim focus. In the middle of the night on a dark New York City street, young Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death, her cries for help falling on deaf ears. If any story could be said to “go viral” in those pre-Internet, pre-24/7-cable-news-cycle days, Genovese’s murder captured the world’s attention to an astonishing degree. Headlines of her neighbors’ indifference were as dramatic as those heralding the crime itself. Touted in death as the innocent girl-next-door, Genovese actually wasn’t anything like the portrait painted in fawning newspaper stories, nor was the outrageous apathy of countless witnesses as coldhearted or ubiquitous as the press luridly described. On the fiftieth anniversary of the murder, Cook revisits that tumultuous era and an unspeakable crime that became synonymous with urban indolence and dispassion. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Cook is [an] adept storyteller. His peppy knowing style calls to mind pop-culture products from the time of the murder…he is firmly and persuasively in the revisionist camp.”
- The New Yorker
- The Wall Street Journal
“An engrossing true-crime tour de force.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Provocative… As much about the alchemy of journalism as urban pathology.”
- Edward Kosner, The Wall Street Journal
“As much social history as true crime, this is an insightful probe into the notorious case.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Kevin Cook rips the cover off an enduring urban myth. He’s done a first-rate reporting job, one that delivers the truth at last about an infamous murder that came to define an age.”
- Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd and Paradise Alley
“Cook’s restoration helps make Kitty human, not merely iconographic.”
- Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A fully-realized portrait of Kitty… Readers won’t forget that she was a person, not a player in an anecdote.”
- Michael Washburn, Boston Sunday Globe
“Smart…suspenseful. [Cook’s] reporting…is rich and deep.”
- Tampa Bay Times
- Jordan Michael Smith, Christian Science Monitor
Top customer reviews
The book is short, well written and to the point – which I like.
1) The Genovese case is controversial because of many misstatements of fact in the initial reports of the crime. It seems to me essential that in a book that claims to be a final corrective to these mistakes that the author include clear citations to interviews and documents. There are NO footnotes in this book. I know many folks don't read them, but that's no excuse for a major author and publishing company (Norton for heaven's sake!) to leave them out. In a one paragraph "Note on Sources," Cook says that he unearthed "thousands of pages" of new documents on the Genovese case. It is irresponsible and unprofessional not to cite these sources in more specificity. They are needed to prove the veracity of Cook's research and for future historians. Big fail here.
2) Cook seems to speculate at times, making it hard to understand what was speculation and what was fact. Early on, for instance, he references the killer having drinks at a bar where the victim worked. Since this was never brought up again and he does not make clear if a witness told him this, I guess he was just speculating. I am a pretty careful reader, but there are other things like this that left me scratching my head.
3) Even though the book is just over 200 pages, it is padded with lots of extraneous info about the context and culture of the early 1960s in America. Context is usually a good thing and this story benefits from some background on urban culture, race relations and gay life (the victim was a lesbian), but to go on for chapters about baseball players, Beatles' playlists and quotes from Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech was too much. I was impatient for him to get on to the Genovese story.
4) There are many errors in the book that should have been caught by a fact-checker: the poet Audre Lorde's name is misspelled; George Gershwin did not write "Anything Goes"; "women's lib" could not have been cited as a factor in the 1964 Genovese case as the phrase "Women's Liberation" did not emerge until 1968. When I see errors like this, it makes me wonder about other facts in the book. Given the resources the author and publisher have, this book should have been much better.
Finally, Cook gives New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal a free pass by failing to discuss the journalistic ethics of a misreported story that has haunted Americans and distorted our perceptions of crime for half a century.