On March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese was brutally beaten and murdered in the street near her apartment, in full view of more than three dozen friends and neighborsand no one did a thing to stop it. More than thirty-five years after its first publication, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, the true account of what transpired that night in Queens, New York, continues to disturb us. We would like to think that we would step in and do what we could to stop the carnage. But not much has changed in the ensuing years, as crime goes on all around us and we do nothing to help.
Pulitzer Prizewinning New York Times reporter A. M. Rosenthal covered the case for the paper as its city editor, and his chronicle of the events became this book. Part memoir, part investigative journalism, part sociological study, a disturbing story of urban apathy, Thirty-Eight Witnesses puts readers on the gritty sidewalk of the murder scene and speaks of the need for change. In the ensuing years, the case has become famous, and today in criminology classes, students learn about witnesses and the Genovese Effect. A new foreword discusses the historical legacy of the case and how little has changed in fifty-plus years.
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About the Author
A.M. Rosenthal: (1922-2006) was the editor of The New York Times from 1969 through 1986, during which time he gained fame for the paper’s coverage of the war in Vietnam, Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, and most notably for his decision to publish the Pentagon Papers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This account of the murder of a young woman in New York back in 1964 is very thought provoking. No less than 38 people witnessed - either visually or aurally - the murder, and yet not one of them summoned the police or any other form of help. Much has be written since this case as to why people would behave like this, what it says about our society, what it says about human beings. This book is a re-print of an piece written at the time by a Pulitzer prize winning journalist. Since reading it I have found myself pondering about the issues he raises.
On March 13, 1964, 28 year old Kitty Genovese was murdered in Queens, NY. The murder took place in a course of about 30 minutes, with breaks in between. She was stabbed numerous times and sexually assaulted after she died. However, that’s not what’s so shocking about the crime. The shocking part, and the reason it’s still talked about and referenced, is that there were 38 witnesses to the attack. None of them called the police. None of them stepped out to see what was happening as a woman screamed for help. Once or twice someone would shout down, which would interrupt the murderer, who would sneak off, and then come back a few minutes later and carry on. This book was originally written about a year after the crime by an editor at the New York Times who assigned a reporter to the case a few days after it happened, making it one of the first true crime books. There’s also a preface from him that he wrote several years ago, giving his opinion in this day and age, which gives a great comparison of a man who heard about this crime when it happened, how he reflected upon it then, and how he reflected on it over 30 years later. There’s also a preface from several years ago from the reporter himself. I’ve read a number of true crime stories. I have the standard addiction to the true crime channel. I heard references to this crime in movies and recently watched a special on it. However, what the author does is a bit different. Yes, he gives the detailed information about the crime and the murderer. BUT, he points out from the beginning, what makes this crime so fascinating and what his original point was in writing the book: The human person and how we react to certain things. He asks the question of empathy vs. self-preservation and questions desensitization. Seeing his personal reflection on what he would’ve done then vs just several years ago and everything in between made me really question how I would react if I heard a woman scream or how I do react when I see people in need. I was so engrossed into the book, I read it within a few hours. I can’t remember the last book that really made me think like this. I highly recommend it. **I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
i cant believe i spent $10.00 for 61 pages!