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Having double-majored in English and psychology before going to law school, I've heard the name Kitty Genovese brought up many, many times. The case is frequently brought up to describe the bystander effect (psychology), the cold-heartedness of modern man (English), and the duties or lack of duties of people toward third parties in danger. What I didn't know until reading this book was that the template story which is literally ALWAYS used to illustrate these points didn't happen the way it is described to have happened at all. It's still a fascinating story, however, both for the way it became mythologized and in its own right.
One thing I had not known was that Kitty was an out lesbian in the pre-Stonewall era. It was interesting to see how the natural fear of cops among some homosexual witnesses (and the NYPD does not come across sympathetically in this book at all) affected the investigation. It is truly astounding how the media took up the story just as the NYPD framed it, regardless of the truth. It's an early example of how a narrative that people want to believe can supplant the actual facts and be stubbornly resistant to correction.
Kitty herself really comes across as a vibrant, independent character. I also thought the author did quite a good job of painting a three-dimensional portrait of her killer. No one will ever understand his motivations, most likely, but you do get an idea of who he was. I had never known about the subsequent escape, either.
This was a very engaging book, particularly for someone who thought I already knew what the Kitty Genovese story was all about.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, author did good job of laying facts out and cutting through sensationalism of this case. Winston is a psychopath and it's scary that people like him are in the world.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
Kitty's girlfriend's account
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
The narration was okay, I don't like dramatic narrating.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The whole story of the innocent victim and the suffering of Kitty's girlfriend who suffered in silence.
Any additional comments?
Great story..too bad it's true, horrific circumstances