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Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences
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Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  691 ratings  ·  103 reviews
A New York Times bestseller!

Written in a flowing narrative style, Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences presents the story of the horrific and infamous murder of Kitty Genovese, a young woman stalked and stabbed on the street where she lived in Queens, New York in 1964. The case sparked national outrage when the New York Times
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Skyhorse
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Katherine Addison
It is a cruel irony that it is so much easier to explain why a book is bad than why a book is good. Because this book is excellent and I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to explain why.

Partly, it's that Pelonero has a clear, vivid writing style; partly it's her effort to practice compassion towards everyone involved, even that baffling, prowling monster, Winston Moseley; partly it's that she has done the research and dug as deeply as she can dig, and she shows the careful process of
Linda Lou McCall
As a "woman of a certain age", I remember when this crime was committed. All the media talked about was the apathy of Kitty Genovese's neighbors during the 1/2 hour it took for her to be savagely murdered. Author Catherine Pelonero gives a complete and unbiased account of this heinous crime. Instead of focusing on the more sensational headliner-grabbing fact of a white woman being killed by a black man, Pelonero tells the good and bad about everyone, including the 30+ witnesses who didn't help ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This came up on my Bookbub recommendations and since it was free I thought I'd give it a go. I've never heard of Kitty Genovese or her murder (which is surprising given my interest in true crime) but I was intrigued by the synopsis, particularly the inactivity of her friends and neighbours during and after her death. This account comes across well researched packed with references and sources, which the author acknowledges is in response to these events being considered as an urban legend in ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Kitty Genovese: A True ..By Catherine Pelon narrated by Dina Pearlman.

A research, crime narration of the true story of the murder of Kitty Genovese this book was fascinating even though a lot of repetition was present due to the nature of the story line. The book chronicles the Kitty Genovese case from start to finish. Detailing her life and personality to a degree. Focusing on her murder and the complete disdain people in the neighborhood showed when she was murdered in front of their eyes.

Sep 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Great first half of a book and then the last half was just boring newspaper crap. This guy wrote this thing in this newspaper and this other guy wrote this other thing in this other newspaper. Very little of the "Consequences" part of the title, which I had taken to mean the start of the 911 system and the new sociology terms and ideas about the bystander effect and deflection of responsibility.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I didn't want to get involved...

A simple sentence that absolutely kills the speakers humanity. This book is the tale of a young woman, viciously murdered in her prime by, and this is my own personal opinion, a completely sane psychotic. He knew what he was doing, he went out that night hunting. He stalked her, he stabbed her, he ran from being caught but came back to finish the job. Yet the defense went with the insanity plea, to no avail thankfully. So now he rots in jail, and deserves every
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
This was well-researched true crime, but I felt like it repeated itself a good bit. Most of the interesting parts are at the very beginning and the end. I found myself ready to be finished with the book a hundred pages before the end, which is never a good sign. I didn't love it, didn't hate it - it was more like "Hmm, interesting."
Peter Moreira
Sep 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Pelonero's research was fantastic, but the repetition in the text is maddening. She needed a stronger editor working with her in the early stages.
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
To much detail of little things, that are just not important to the story itself.
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A plea for help goes unanswered

Over 50 years ago and 4 months after JFK's assassination, a woman on her way home from a late night date was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death a few short yards from her own front door. The woman cried out for help repeatedly but no one stepped forward to help her. Despite her repeated screams for help, cries that she had been stabbed, and more cries that she was dying, Kitty Genovese received no timely help that might have saved her life despite the fact
I expected to be disturbed by this book, but not quite as much as I ended up being. For one thing, I wasn't previously aware of just how gruesome and protracted the murder was. And while it's bad enough that people couldn't be bothered to even pick up the phone while someone was being murdered outside their windows, the excuses made afterward are perhaps even more appalling.

Some people didn't call because they figured it was "just" a man beating his wife/girlfriend. One particularly disgusting
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book. I remember when this story was originally on the news and I remember the controversy that it stirred for a long time. Ms. Pelonero has done her homework. Her work reflects many hours of research into what really happened during this tragic event.
From page one the book takes the reader to the crime scene and through the rest of the events.
Although the subject matter could be dry and read like a history book, it does not. The author not only knows her facts but she knows
Kaye Campbell
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of hearing Catherine Pelonero speak at a conference recently about this book. I was intrigued by her explanation of her process of writing this book. I remember when this murder first happened and all the sequelae regarding Kew Gardens. In reading the book, I was impressed by the depth of scholarship Pelonero brought to the subject. She created images of Kitty Genovese that were heart wrenchingly human. Her use of metaphors was always thoughtful and seemed to bring the reader ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you read pop sociology, from Gladwell to Freakonomics, you know about the murder of Kitty Genovese. It's been cited as the genesis of the "bystander effect", Exhibit A for the modern American public's incredible, savage apathy to the plight of our fellow citizens. 38 people see and/or hear a young woman raped and stabbed to death in front of an apartment building, and no one bothers to call the police for almost an hour? The full factual truth, when laid out, is no less chilling or amazing. ...more
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Consistent in its message, though occasionally repetitive.
Two and a half stars. Just too much fluff.
Nicole G.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I took psychology courses in high school and college in the early to late 1990s. The name Kitty Genovese was a footnote in chapters about the "bystander effect." I only knew that a young women was murdered on the streets of a quiet 1960s neighborhood and that people pretty much watched her die. At the time, it was stated that no one called the police and it was inferred from my readings that she died completely alone. Upsetting.

The truth is not much better, though. I had no idea how horrific her
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clear telling of the case. I remember the controversy, although it was years later when I was older. I still remember my family talking about it with neighbors. The details of what happened make you very sad. It is too late to go back and some of the reasoning of the neighors is frightening. Good background of Kitty as the victim. A very in depth portait of the murderer. Good research.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent book that delves deeper into the murder of Kitty Genovese. It goes into a lot of different sides of what happened before, during, and the aftermath of the murder. I also really liked the addition to what was happening historically, during the time period that was being described.
Andrew Lee
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've been a member for several months now and while most of the books they provide warrant a "meh" response from me, you do get some nice gems like this book. For those unfamiliar with the Kitty Genovese story, it's the (somewhat) exaggerated crime case of a young woman who was stabbed in March of 1964 in a nice upper middle class neighborhood of Queens, New York. Many onlookers in the apartments witnessed the crime yet no one called the police and the perpetrator soon returned and ...more
Crime Traveller
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In March 1964 a young woman by the name of Catherine "Kitty" Genovese was stalked and brutally murdered in the residential streets of a suburb in Queens, New York. Police reports highlight 38 people witnessed or heard her attack and 37 of them did absolutely nothing to help. As the years have passed this case has developed with different versions of events emerging.

Author Catherine Pelonero has spent six years researching the murder of Kitty Genovese in order to tell the truths of that night,
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I knew nothing of this case it both having been committed in another country and before I was born and I came across this book by pure chance. A meticulously researched, unbiased and throrough account of the victim, the area, the murder, the murderer and the apathy of her neighbours who heard Kitty Genovese scream and / or saw her being attacked from their windows. There is repetition in this book however it is to be expected with a book that has gone into so much research in order to present ...more
Tere Fredericks
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
Finally, a Recounting I Believe

I have heard about this story over the years. Even though I was very young at the time, I remember my parents discussing it, in hushed voices, whether to keep me from hearing about it, or in awe of the horrifically truth. I've since heard it was an urban myth, made up to scare young women into being at home at that time of night. I choose to believe this book is the truth, simply because I do remember my parents discussing it. This case is credited with the
Amanda Rose
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellently written and researched, crisp prose that conveys the harrowing nature of the murder plus the swirling aftermath that made it the Event That Launched a Thousand Thinkpieces. I gather the author is a playwright and this is her first nonfiction work, which would account for her being able to balance a style which leaves you in no doubt about the horrific crime, the shock and sadness it left in its wake but without being sensationalistic and giving a thorough accounting of all the facts. ...more
Chris Steeden
Being from good ol' Blighty I had not heard of the Kitty Genovese case. This book gives a very detailed account of the murder, background of the victim and murderer, the police at the time, the witnesses in the apartments that saw / heard the murder, the investigative journalism afterwards. the trial, the murderers escape and capture from prison plus the fall-out from the case. Phew!

Extremely well researched. You can tell the author put in a substantial amount of time to bring this tome to the
R J Mckay
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Catherine Pelonero does a masterful job of laying the groundwork and setting the tone for her latest work “Kitty Genovese”. This story was, literally, torn from the headlines, and is the story of a young woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The murder took place in an area that everyone considered safe. And to make matters worse, her murder was committed on a public street at 3 A.M. and her screams were heard by many of the neighbors, but no one “wanted to get involved".

Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Horrifying Murder

The author did a very thorough job of researching this murder and it's after effects. The book was well written in what I felt to be an unbiased voice. The author was writing about Kitty and who she was, about the occurrence that brought about her death and the lack of action taken by the 38 neighbors who heard her screams for help and even watched the attack happen.

It was a puzzle then and still is to me why nobody picked up a phone to call the police when she first screamed.
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceedingly thorough yet never boring look at this famous murder. While it has always been submitted that people 'saw' what was happening and did nothing (something like 37 people), the book makes much clearer why this occurred (not "not wanting to get involved" but not understanding what they were seeing or hearing....really only one man could have perhaps saved Kitty, a neighbor, who was too afraid to even call the police until he called another friend for advice on what to do. Such a sad ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story about the murder and rape of Catherine Genovese in Queens, NY in 1964 where the neighbors in the surrounding apartments heard her cries of help and some saw her being stabbed yet none called the police or tried to help. I remember when this happened and the story caused the beginning of the use of 911 to call the police. The reporting of the crime was covered by newspapers and magazines at the time and later. This author did a fine job of telling the story of this poor ...more
Larry Gross
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Catherine Pelonero does a spectacular job of telling this gruesome story. She literally took me back in time. I was in 6th grade when this horrific murder that gained world-wide attention took place. It happened on the next block where I lived in Kew Gardens, New York. I remember seeing her bloody hand print on a storefront window and the pool of blood at the base of the staircase where Kitty Genovese died. It has forever stayed embedded in my mind. Catherine's writing ability is extremely ...more
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Catherine Pelonero is the author of Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences, a nonfiction book about the notorious 1964 murder case. Kitty Genovese made both the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists, reaching #10 on the New York Times Best Sellers in Crime & Punishment and #1 on Amazon in biography & memoir, Kindle edition.

As a true crime author
“Elizabeth Moseley took the stand. She described her husband as a man who was always quiet and always thinking. She spoke of his meticulous neatness and his extreme shyness. He never undressed in front of her. Asked about their sexual relations, she said, “Well, at first it was normal or what you consider normal. Then later it was more what they describe as cunnilingus.” She said he needed it as a stimulus before intercourse.” 0 likes
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