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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  467 Ratings  ·  119 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,
ebook, 397 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
May 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
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
Jessica Wall
I read this book as an optional supplement to my land use law class and had some difficulty getting through it. The book was a quick read, but it felt like a book written for people who don't like to read. Chapter after chapter appeared sensationalized, as the author tried a bit too hard to illustrate who he thought were the villains and the heroes. He didn't write very much about the legal aspects of the case, which was disappointing. I've read the Supreme Court opinion and thought this book wo ...more
Doug Cornelius
The story behind the Kelo case that gave communities broad rights to eminent domain. The "Little Pink House" is Ms. Kelo's home that she was trying save from the wrecking ball. The City of New London wanted to take it and the rest of her neighborhood for redevelopment into an upscale hotel and retail area to complement a nearby redevelopment for Pfizer. She would not leave and took the legal battle to the Supreme Court.

The view is clearly one-sided, from that of Ms. Kelo. The officials of the lo
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can count on one hand the books I've given a five-star rating, and I consider myself a fairly avid reader. I read this book because of its mention at a David Crosby concert at the Garde Theater a few weeks back. Jeff Benedict (the author) introduced the performer at the beginning of his show. Later, toward the end of the performance, Mr. Crosby mentioned the Kelo Vs. City of New London case of eminent domain abuse, the movie recently made about the battle, and he sang a song he'd written espec ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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? 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
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jordan McPeek
Who knew I'd ever be reading a book that has a hero who found inspiration in Ayn Rand? Yeah, the lawyers fighting this eminent domain battle for the little guys are knights of the libertarian order. But the issue itself - big corporate types using their influence over local/state government to their own benefit - crosses over into my leftie territory.

This is more a story of the little people and their fight against eviction by eminent domain than it is a legal textbook. Emphasis on the characte
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy Lafleur
I have family in Connecticut and had briefly heard of the Susette Kelo's fight to keep her house from being taken through eminent domain. I picked up this book to learn more and actually learn the final result of the case. I was a little nervous to read this book as my local libraries classified in the law section, but there is so much to it beyond the mechanics of eminent domain law. Benedict writes a compelling narrative of the case from Kelo's purchase of her dream home to the Supreme Court d ...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
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of a gutsy, working-class woman who refused to sell her home in CT and then spent eight years battling eminent domain all the way to the Supreme Court. The courage of Suzanne and some of her neighbors as they fought for their homes against a consortium of local, state and corporate developers who wanted to build high-end Pfizer research facilities, hotels, and condos, was inspiring. Considered a mistake by the Supreme Court, their decision was to allow the seizure ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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!
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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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.
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