While the City Slept

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254 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By Gotta Tellya on 03-07-16

Tragedy and hope

If you could sum up While the City Slept in three words, what would they be?

Horrific, inspiring, and illuminating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not that kind of a story. All the characters are (were) real people, many of whom were likable and admirable. I could never choose a favorite in this story.

Have you listened to any of Rene Ruiz’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. But I think this narration was excellent, somehow combining compassion with a matter of fact presentation of the facts.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The insanity of the American treatment system for the mentally ill.

Any additional comments?

This is an eye-opening, honest, and thoroughly researched investigative book relating a horrific incident of violence. Sadly, the attack on Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper is only one of a great many incidents of senseless violence perpetrated by crazy, enraged people who in most cases have fallen between the very wide cracks in the US mental health system. The author carefully tells the life stories of Teresa, Jennifer and their assailant, Isaiah. The author describes Isaiah's abusive upbringing and the dearth of mental health resources and laws necessary to restrain and treat him before he began performing acts of violence. The trial is described in detail, as is the verdict and its aftermath. I admire both Teresa and Jennifer hugely, as well as some of the law enforcement personnel involved in their case. I agree that the mental health system needs a major overhaul and adequate funding. Until there is a system in place to treat those at early risk for mental illness, until there are laws that require the mentally ill to stay on their medications, and until adequately staffed institutions are established to contain and restrain those who will not comply, tragedies will continue to happen. Over the past nearly half a century, our country's mental health system went from locked institutions where the mentally ill were warehoused, to the opposite state--abandoning the mentally ill on the street, and allowing them the "right" to refuse what little treatment was available. Tell me, which system is crazier? Many people will benefit from early treatment. Those who do not, and who cross the line and perform horrific acts, should never again be allowed the freedom to harm people. It's tragic that Isaiah suffered abuse and neglect from his father early in his life. But that can't be the sole origin of his problems. Several family members on his mother's side were schizophrenic. It's equally tragic that Isaiah did not receive help when it might have made the greatest difference. Tragic--but in this case, water under the bridge. Having listened to this book, I think that Isaiah knew what he was doing when he attacked and killed Teresa Butz and attacked Jennifer. I can't help feeling relieved that he will be in prison for the rest of his life.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Diana D. on 06-18-16

Deserves the prize

The writing in this book is amazing-complete, respectful of all people concerned, and lots of relevant facts.

As with many substance-based Audible books, though, I would like to see the Audible book come with a PDF with sources--and in the case, with some of the statistics Sanders gives in the last chapter. Guess I'll have to check the book out of the public library. ...

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Courtney on 05-20-16

An in-depth view of the flaws in our mental healthcare system

This book was very well researched and written. If you're looking for a fast paced or mystery style crime novel, this isn't it. But if you're interested in character studies, court proceedings, and deep analysis of a multifaceted social problem, this is a detailed and compassionate look at the people involved with a crime that most likely could have been prevented by mental healthcare intervention at any one of multiple points in the deterioration of the perpetrator's mental state.

As someone looking at a career in psychology, this book really hit home for me. There is a desperate need for mental health services in this country, and the lack of them is a direct cause of enormous costs, both financially (in court costs, property damage, and prison housing costs) and in lives. The victims of crimes like this one, as well as the families of perpetrators, and even the perpetrators themselves pay an enormous price for our lack of adequate mental health resources. This book demonstrates that in a detailed account of the instances in which intervention might have made a major difference, and in shedding a broader light on the flaws and gaps in the intersection of our mental healthcare and criminal justice systems.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Teddy on 05-06-16

well done all around

I was not familiar with either the author, Eli Sanders, or the reader Rene Ruiz hi hope I've spelled these correctly, I can't go check while I write).
I enjoyed the writing; it was researched, friendly. caring and something's had a bit of irony or other comic relief contained within.
The reading was appropriate, sensitive songs....calm. I've found a new reader to look for.
Well done, all 'round.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Erin Johnson on 04-15-16


Well written story. Sanders has an amazing ability to humanize what most simply consider statistics. I hope this raises awareness on many fronts.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By B. Ambroso on 06-29-16

Great book!

Loved this book! Amazing story and really well told! Definitely recommend to anyone who likes true crime or is interested in mental health issues in the US.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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