Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage
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Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Suzette Kelo was just trying to rebuild her life when she purchased a falling down Victorian house perched on the waterfront in New London, CT. The house wasn't particularly fancy, but with lots of hard work Suzette was able to turn it into a home that was important to her, a home that represented her new found independence.

Little did she know that the City of New London,...more
Hardcover, 377 pages
Published January 26th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Susette Kelo survived a troubled childhood and two unhappy marriages and had decided to start her life all over again. She bought a little cottage near the Thames River in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, Connecticut. She worked on the house, even sanding the hardwood floors by hand. At around the same time, Claire Gaudiani was appointed chairman of the New London Development Corporation. Claire decided that Pfizer Corporation should locate their new research and development headqua...more
Selma
A careful recreation of the events leading up to and after a landmark Supreme Court decision on eminent domain. Benedict offers readable portraits of the people behind Kelo v. the New London Development Corporation. The book is thin on analysis, sticking mostly to a straightforward chronology and valorizing the working class heroes of this drama. They deserve the reader's sympathy, but the reader also comes away dissatisfied with reportage that has all the hallmarks of a made-for-tv movie. As a...more
Lobstergirl
Jun 05, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Cspan
Shelves: law
I would rate this book more highly if it weren't written, largely, at a sixth grade level: "George Milne hadn't become president of Pfizer's central research by accident." You don't say? Not by accident? Indeed.....do tell.....

Little Pink House is the back story of Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court case of 2005 that ruled it's perfectly okay for a municipality to seize the property (blighted or not) of citizens by eminent domain and give it to a private developer, as long as you argu...more
David Quinn
The Institute for Justice (they sound as self-righteous and cheesy as their organization’s name implies) should issue just one more press release about the Kelo case, maybe something like: “We’re deeply saddened that such an interesting and important subject as eminent domain would be written about so poorly. We wish the author had chosen to be a carnival barker or toll collector rather than a writer. We do, however, wish to confirm that we’re as big a group of tools as we appear to be.”

The gene...more
msdanconia
In 2005, I stumbled across the Kelo v. New London, case shortly after I had started writing for my college newspaper. Nothing was the same after. I was familiar with eminent domain, of course, and found even the government's ability to take private property for 'public use' egregious. At 19, I was only beginning to understand the scope of how far government power had grown.

Jeff Benedict faithfully chronicles the story behind the landmark Supreme Court case, starting with the story of Susette Kel...more
Monie
When Susette Kelo’s five boys grew up and moved out of the rural house she shared with her husband it became apparent that their marriage was no longer working. Susette made the decision to leave him and move out on her own. Having also made the decision to use no money from their joint account all Susette was able to afford was a small fixer upper on the waterfront in New London, Connecticut.

Around the same time Susette purchased her new home and began to fix it up. The New London Development C...more
Jeff Walden
"nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation"

Thus reads the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, restricting the power of eminent domain: requiring that takings of private property be for "public use" and that the owner be compensated.

In this book Jeff Benedict documents the story of Susette Kelo and how the Fifth Amendment entered her life. She had found her dream home: a small fixer-upper in New London with a river view. Shortly after moving in a...more
Danielle
This book shares the story of behind the Supreme Court case Kelo vs. City of New London. Most of the book is centered on everything that leads up to the case and what happens after, there is relatively little space dedicated to the trying of the case in the actual Supreme Court. I think reading this book made me angrier than I have ever been reading a book. I knew going in what the result was, which I always disagreed with, but getting all the background story and the details, which I wasn't rea...more
Ashley
Oct 16, 2010 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Heard about this book on NPR on 2/3/09 and knew I had to read this book. I added it to my "to-read" list and promptly forgot about it...until I was reviewing my to-read recently. Best book I've read in a very long time.

Every American should read this book. I may be totally naive, but I had no idea something like this could happen in the US, being the land of the free and all. I knew about eminent domain, but assumed it was only used when building highways, schools, etc., not for generating high...more
Kim
I finished the book, and it was powerful reminder of how quickly power and beauracracy can spin out of control, and intrude into the rights and privacy of others (Obama administration: take note!) Benedict played an even hand to show the well-intended (yet mis-handled) actions of those who wanted to revitalize an economically disadvantaged town, compared to the dreams, hopes, and rights of the home owners who felt their homes and their lives were more valuable than a Fortune 500 company. By the...more
Reggie
This is a very important story. You should read it.

I won't bore you with the finer legal points of eminent domain and Jeff Benedict doesn't either. After all, the finer legal points of eminent domain are almost certainly what make Kelo v. City of New London the deplorable decision that it is.

In short, Benedict's book provides the reader with the personal and procedural foundation and epilogue to Kelo v. City of New London. Based on Benedict's telling of the story it is apparent that Susette Ke...more
Stefanie Lubkowski
I had already moved away from the New London area when all this went down, so I thought Id' catch up on the eminent domain battle that started in my hometown area and went all the way to the Supreme Court. I don't expect Claire Gaudiani, the ex-president of my alma mater, to come off well at all but Benedict takes some cheap shots early on concerning Claire's fashion sense when what really matters is whether she was just a cog in someone else's political machine or a driving force. The whole sto...more
Alisa
This is one of the most enraging non-fiction books I've read… such pig-headed stubbornness from the government and industry involved! Just a little bit of compromise or open-mindedness and this story of eminent domain abuse could've turned out better for everyone involved. Instead the government is out millions of dollars and has not much more than a demolished neighborhood to show for it. This was a fairly long book, but engaging despite being chock full of details. I did occasionally wonder ho...more
Christi
In my opinion, the author has done a fantastic job of representing BOTH sides in this case in a fair and upfront way. How often does that happen? Even if you don't agree with the actions of the NLDC, you can see very clearly that they were acting within the letter of the law.

It's a shame that after all the prolonged legal battles, the scare tactics and the spending of taxpayer money that the Fort Trumbull area is empty. No neighborhood. No hotel and corporate mecca. Nothing.

I think as the gover...more
Heloyce
Have been intrigued by the increase in government power in our country today. This book is the true story of a woman living in Connecticut who fought the "system" to keep and protect her home from being taken by eminent domain. The struggle between the "good" guys and the "bad" guys was a constant struggle for everyone concerned. It was hard to keep track of them but Mr. Benedict (author) had conveniently listed all the prominent players in the front of the book. At times I was bogged down with...more
Mike
The true story of a group of Connecticut homeowners who refused to let their land be seized by the state to make way for corporate development. It reads like fiction! Resulted in the landmark Supreme Court decision Kelo vs New London, which allowed for governments to use eminent domain to "promote economic development" and take property to transfer to another private owner. Prompted huge outrage from media and politicians of all stripes and resulted in many laws being passed at the state level t...more
Lauren
A scary story, all the more horrific in that it's true. Well written, very readable, the tale of the residents of New London, CT, and their battle with the city over eminent domain: the ability of the city to seize their homes to demolish them and build newer, better homes. The justification? Larger tax revenues for the city. Now I'm a good liberal, and just gave Al Franken's book 4 stars, but I don't believe government has the right to seize private property for any purpose deemed relevant to s...more
Jacqueline
True story of my mother-in-law's battle with one of the worst government abuses of eminent domain in history....corruption at every level. A must read for any property owner, it's happening all over our county.
Sally
This is a real human interest story about social injustice and audacious arrogance and power trips. The story involves an eminent domain case that received national attention due to the Institute for Social Justice. the case went all the way to the Supreme Court! So glad I read it but may be more relevant to me given my planning background and years at Conn. college. I do think the injustices done to the homeowners in the Fort Trumbull area would resonate with most people. The legal twists and t...more
Theresa
I got this book hoping it would be like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, except about eminent domain (the law that says that the government can take your house if they need the space to build a new road or sidewalk or something like that...or a shopping center to support a pharmaceutical company that wants to be surrounded by expensive things).

I actually liked this book, and I got well past page 40, but I just could not get through it. I think it would make a great documentary, and I absolu...more
Andy
This is the compelling story of a news-making case of a homeowner whose property was seized in an odious eminent-domain taking, and her struggle for justice against forces drunk on their own power. The level of government corruption and abuse of power depicted herein often boggles the mind. Benedict manages to lay out the labyrinthine legal details in a way that never makes a lay person's eyes glaze over. Also shows how a lust for power (that of Claire Gaudiani, in this case) can be disguised as...more
Karla
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley
Susette vs Goliath! Inspiring story of an uphill battle against the unjust application of eminent domain by political power and money, all the way to the Supreme Court and beyond. It's a great "never give up" story. Kudos to all who persevered to try and facilitate changes for the better across the country. I don't know if I could devote 10 years of my life for a fight like this. The thing that bothers me the most is, that at the time this book was published, the land where all the homes that we...more
Stephen Hallquist
Seeing that my wife and I were involved throughout this ordeal, my memory of what really happened doesn't quite jive with how things are presented here. For starters, Susette Kelo did not lead this fight. She was vocal for sure, but didn't lead anything. At a number of times she was ready to bail out of the game and it took a concerted effort to reel her in. Nevertheless, much of "her story" was in fact told here...but don't forget, she wasn't the only one involved and there were many other stor...more
Lynn
This is a highly sensationalized book (apparently a movie may on the way) about a landmark eminent domain case that every first-year law student will read in at least one class. The author presents a very one-sided view of the property battle and the participants.

Favorite quote: when describing why they were so anxious to take the case, the plaintiff Kelo's libertarian attorneys noted it was a perfect embodiment of the three things they look for: "(1) sympathetic clients; (2) outrageous facts; a...more
Nancy Maclean Davidson
I had really high hopes for this book because the case really hit a nerve with me. Although I enjoyed the story, I was disappointed that the book barely touched on the important constitutional issue at stake. Yes, Suzette Kelo was fighting to keep her home, but her case is about more than than that. After investing all this time reading about Susette Kelo's journey to the Supreme Court, the Justices' interpretations of the Takings Clause and Americans' property rights were entitled to more than...more
Stuart
Having attended college in New London in the 70s, when the city was in dire straits, I was very interested in the redevelopment that had occurred along the waterfront (Pfizer, etc.). I knew bits and pieces of "the story" and the related controversy, but not really. This book was fantastic, did a great job of weaving together the events, the personalities, the implications of decisions made. I applaud the author for taking the risks that I believe he had to, in writing this book. I recommend it h...more
Rachel
This is an awesome story - factual and interesting. It was especially interesting to me since I grew up in SE CT. By the time you finish this compelling story, you feel as if you personally know many of the characters involved. Without being bogged down by intimidating legal facts, this book wonderfully explains what eminent domain does to those displaced by it. The circumstances behind Kelo vs. The City of New London are incredible and appalling at the same time. I highly recommend this book!
Kristina
I loved this book. I initially heard about this book on NPR. It was so interesting to learn about the plaintiffs behind this land mark Supreme Court decision involving eminent domain. I found this particularly interesting because I learned about the case in law school. However--non-lawyers will enjoy this book just as much. The book provides great insight into the nature of politics. It also shows just how far local government will go to increase its tax base in depressed areas.
Elizabeth
I loved this book. I worried that it would be dry, since it's about lawsuits mostly, but it turned out to be riveting. Benedict really wove the story with politics, neighborhoods, law, and public outrage to create a fascinating story. I got bogged down a little in the middle because I thought I knew how it turned out (badly), but there's more after the Supreme Court decision... In conclusion, this was well-written, well-researched, timely, and personal, and I really liked it.
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Little Pink House 2 16 Aug 22, 2012 07:17AM  
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Jeff Benedict conducted the first national study on sexual assault and athletes. He has published three books on athletes and crime, including a blistering exposé on the NFL, Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL, and Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women. He is a lawyer and an investigative journalist who has written five books.
More about Jeff Benedict...
The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football The Mormon Way of Doing Business: Leadership and Success Through Faith and Family No Bone Unturned: The Adventures of a Top Smithsonian Forensic Scientist and the Legal Battle for America's Oldest Skeletons Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy: The R.C. Willey Story

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