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Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed Americaby Kevin Cook
Synopses & Reviews
What happened to Catherine “Kitty” Genovese? Slain on her front stoop in New York City just before the 1964 World’s Fair—a murder the New York Times called “a frozen moment of dramatic, disturbing societal change”—Kitty became an urban martyr, butchered in plain sight of thirty-eight witnesses who “didn’t want to get involved.” Her killing crystallized a new psychological concept: the “Bystander Effect.”That’s the story told by the Times’s legendary A. M. Rosenthal, Malcolm Gladwell, the authors of Freakonomics, and countless psychology textbooks. But it isn’t true. As Kevin Cook demonstrates, the tale of “thirty-eight witnesses” is a myth. The truth is more compelling—and so is the crime’s young victim. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Genovese murder, Cook offers a riveting, suspenseful account of what really happened that night in Kew Gardens, Queens. Drawn from newly discovered documents and revelatory interviews with Kitty’s lover and other key figures, Kitty Genovese redefines a story America thought it already knew.
"In his latest book, Cook (Titanic Thompson) disproves the popular belief about the 1964 murder of Catherine 'Kitty' Genovese in Kew Gardens, Queens — that 38 neighbors watched her being stabbed to death from the safety of their apartment windows, and did nothing to help, a phenomenon dubbed the 'Bystander Effect' by social scientists. One neighbor did call the police immediately, but the notion that so many failed to respond struck a nerve, bolstered by the New York Times' coverage, and Times editor A.M. Rosenthal's book Thirty-Eight Witnesses. The ensuing clamor led to the creation of the 911 emergency phone system, 'Good Samaritan' laws, and the development of the field of pro-social behavior — designed to turn bad neighbors into good ones. Cook never loses sight of the victim, tracing the arc of Genovese's 27 years of life, and presenting the memories of her partner, Mary Ann Zielonko. Cook also offers a nuanced rendering of Genovese's murderer, Winston Moseley, with ample details of his trial. In an especially moving section, Cook notes the chance elements that put Genovese in harm's way. As much social history as true crime, this is an insightful probe into the notorious case, 50 years later. 16 pages of photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
At last, the true story of a crime that shocked the world.
The untold truth behind the sensational murder that cast a shadow over 1960s America.
New York City, 1964. A young woman is stabbed to death on her front stoop--a murder the called "a frozen moment of dramatic, disturbing social change." The victim, Catherine "Kitty" Genovese, became an urban martyr, butchered by a sociopathic killer in plain sight of thirty-eight neighbors who "didn't want to get involved." Her sensational case provoked an anxious outcry and launched a sociological theory known as the "Bystander Effect."
About the Author
Kevin Cook is the award-winning author of Kitty Genovese, Titanic Thompson and Tommy’s Honor. He writes for Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Men’s Health, and other magazines and has appeared on ESPN, Fox TV, and CNN.
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