• Kitty Genovese

  • A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences
  • By: Catherine Pelonero
  • Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (377 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 revealed that dozens of witnesses had seen or heard the attacks on Kitty Genovese and her struggle to reach safety but had failed to come to her aid or even call police until after the killer had fled.

This audiobook cuts through misinformation and conjecture to present a definitive portrait of the crime, the aftermath, and the people. Based on six years of research, Catherine Pelonero’s audiobook presents the facts from the police reports, archival material, court documents, and first-hand interviews. Pelonero offers a personal look at Kitty Genovese, an ambitious young woman viciously struck down in the prime of her life; Winston Moseley, the killer who led a double life as a responsible family man by day and a deadly predator by night; the consequences for a community condemned; and others touched by the tragedy.

Beyond just a true crime story, the audiobook embodies much larger themes: the phenomenon of bystander inaction, the evolution of a serial killer, and the fears and injustices spawned by the stark prejudices of an era, many of which linger to this day.

©2014 Catherine Pelonero (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Wow, read this only if details does not annoy you.

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.

I loved the fact that 911 was a result of this murder and how it was dealt with. The psychological research that went into to disinterested bystander etc kept me riveted. Like I said, this is not a novel. It is a chronological look at as many facets as the author could regarding Kitty's life.

With this type of journalism repetition to prove a point etc or to go from hearsay to semi-proven fact is a given and it does get to be a bit much but I understood the reasoning behind it and if true life stories is your cup of tea then I am sure you will really enjoy this book and the look into the reasoning behind events.

WaAr

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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EXCEPTIONAL TRUE CRIME BOOK

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 Kitty that night.

For the first time, I learned that Kitty was a lesbian - considered "deviate" for that era - and had a criminal record and worked in a bar. Not that her lifestyle made her at risk for this savage crime. However, the media of the time made no mention of any of this. Her killer, Winston Moseley, heretofore shown only in a booking photo, was a middle-class professional husband and father with no criminal record. He owned his own home and two cars. His wife was a registered nurse. Again, I don't remember these facts being told by the press. That said, Pelonero gives each of these two very disparate persons equal weight, choosing to focus on FACTS of the crime.

What no one knew was Moseley was a serial killer and rapist. He'd previously terrorized women of his own race so not much investigation was put into those crimes. In fact, Anna Mae Johnson, a black woman, had been murdered on her porch then dragged into her living room where Moseley raped her post-mortem, with her husband asleep upstairs. The medical examiner stated that the woman had been stabbed. It wasn't until Moseley confessed to that murder and saying he'd SHOT the victim, did an exhumation reveal bullets in the dead body. (While much has been written about Kitty Genovese, I've yet to find any books written about the life and death of Mrs. Johnson.)

Moseley, a prolific but undetected criminal has gotten less attention in history than Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahlmer, John Wayne Gacy and other white serial killers. It is this very racial oversight which led FBI profilers into mistakenly predicting that the DC Sniper had to be a white male. They should had done the research that this author put into her book.

This is one of the best true crime books that I've read in years. Pelonero does get a bit weighty in some places, giving a blow-by-blow account of some court testimony. But her attention to detail in other areas is well done. This story is not just about 3 dozen people who failed to act by merely not calling the police - although not much has changed in many decades since then, as evidenced by the recent murder in a yoga wear store while 2 Apple Store employees next door listened with their ears to the common wall. This is a story about a horrific crime, an innocent victim, a mentally ill killer and the question of the public's MORAL duty to assist a fellow human being fighting for his or her life.

28 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good book, not so great narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I thought the book was very interesting. It was well researched and thoughtful. The only downside was the narrator. She did not have a good cadence to her reading.

20 people found this helpful

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When Indifference becomes Evil

Novelist Stephen King (1947 - present) makes places evil and sometimes sentient characters in his novels. "'Salem's Lot" (1975) was the first chilling fictional King town I read. Later, he created the adjacent, inimical town of Derry, Maine, in "It" (1986). Derry's utter indifference is its most deadly trait.

In 1964, the chilling indifference of real-life Kew Gardens, NY, met the psychopathic Winston Mosley. The combination was deadly. Mosley slaughtered a screaming, bloody Kitty Genovese in front of at least 37 neighbors who admitted seeing or hearing him over 45 minutes. There were hundreds more neighbors who didn't admit to seeing or hearing Mosley attack her twice outside large apartment buildings.

I don't remember when I first heard about this murder, but I do know even 50 years later, it's often cited as the ultimate anecdote of apathy, fear, and - as I remember it, contempt for the victim.

Growing up in the Midwest long before the internet age, I heard stories that Genovese shouldn't have been out as late as she was; that she'd dressed proactively; or that she'd been killed in a domestic dispute with an angry boyfriend and the neighbors thought it was just one of the couple's regular spats. Catherine Pelonero's "Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences" (2014) dispelled the myths I'd too readily accepted. Kitty Genovese managed a bar, and was on her way home from work. She wasn't wearing a miniskirt and high heels. She was a lesbian in a loving, committed relationship, and she did not know her murderer, Mosley, a serial killer.

The 1964 Kew Gardens was complicit in Kitty Genovese' murder, an 'unindicted co-conspirator'. Mosley knew his hunting grounds so well that he counted on the neighbors 'willful blindness' At trial, his attorney unsuccessfully argued that his flagrant attack was proof that he was 'schizophrenic' and should be found "Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Defect". Mosley even managed to terrorize a New York neighborhood 4 years after he was convicted and sentenced to death, escaping from a hospital visit and terrorizing a small town for a week.

[Reviewer's note: The term "schizophrenic' was used in 1964 to refer to people who have what is now differentiated as the mental diseases bipolar disorder and separately, schizophrenia; and mentally disordered sociopaths and psychopaths. See, for example, Robert Hare, PhD, who developed guidelines for diagnosing psychopathy (someone without conscience) in the late 1980's, publishing the PCL-2 checklist in 1991. Schizophrenia is commonly defined today as a disease, sometimes treatable, where the affected person cannot tell the difference between what's real and what's not real. Mosley does not fit the modern definition of schizophrenia.]

Kitty Genovese' killing did spur an important change in public safety: it lead to the creation of what is now the 9-1-1 system. In 1964, calling the police meant calling an Operator, and hopefully being transferred to the right police department; or trying to figure out the right department yourself. It took some work, and at least some Kew Garden residents thought it would be a pain, and that anyway, someone else was probably already calling anyway. Surely they were.

There have been follow up reporting and other books. According to Pelonero and other writers, Kew Gardens in the 21st Century remains defensive, insular, and maintains no interest in 'getting involved'. It's as if the place itself is bad, like the fictional Derry.

Dina Pearlman's narration was almost robotic in the second section, which distracted me.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

gripping

I remember reading about this when it happened, but I didn't know anything about the killer or other details.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book!

Thank you for this very informative account. At the time of this murder I was seven years old and living in Harlem, NYC.Apathy is how the witness situation was always explained to me.As a born New Yorker I will call police to report suspect activities I hear and see in my neighborhood where I now live in Washington, DC.I know that New York was very different in 1964.I truly thank those who had shed truth in this murder. God bless you all.

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Groundhog Day

I felt there was too much repeating of the Witness accounts Chapter after chapter, decade after decade. None of it really adding anything new to say. It was a very sad event for the victim and her family.. Why can't people just pick up the phone?

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Very good!

I really enjoyed everything about this book It was very interesting and moved along very nicely.

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Excellent book

I thoroughly enjoyed this intelligent, gripping and well thought out book.
For those who are into true crime narratives that gallop along and don't go into too much social and philosophical analysis, this is not for you. But if you enjoy good true crime and also would appreciate an exploration of social and individual human behaviour, this is a MUST. I never knew this murder was at the heart of the development of the 'bystander effect' theories which are still very much in the news, as well as providing greater impetus for a more efficient and accessible system whereby police could be summoned in an emergency. Thus Kitty Genovese in a tragic way, gave her life for the benefit of generations to come.
I also appreciated the issues of gender violence and sexual orientation which came up, Kitty having been a lesbian at a time when homosexuality was not accepted. It was also clearly a time when sexual assaults on women were treated with nowhere near the severity they are now.
All in all a most enlightening and thought provoking book, written in an accessible style. Highly recommended.

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Excellently Researched

This was excellently researched. There was a large variety of sources and information. I had no idea about this case and it was extremely detailed. A great read for true crime fans. The performance was also excellent.

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  • Melmo25
  • 11-30-21

Fascinating but very disturbing

Oh my. Whether you believe the hype or not, so may people failed to act when this young woman was attacked . A fascinating insight into the depth of human frailty .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carol Bashford
  • 10-14-21

Absolutely fascinating!

Takes you right through the characters of the people in the book from beginning to end and throws up some very interesting questions about human nature. Absolutely fascinating story and well told by the narrator, couldn’t put it down. A must read!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-08-21

Great book, chilling story.

A story I heard long ago and a very sad indictment of humanity. A must read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Squeaky Joe
  • 04-27-22

Thought-provoking and disturbing.

Subtitled: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences this is the story of the horrific murder of Kitty Genovese on the street where she lived in Queens, New York in 1964. What proved more horrifying however, was the number of witnesses to her screams during the prolonged attacks and the fact that none of them bothered to call the police or tried to help her. Using in-depth research, police records, court documents and newspaper reports, Catherine Pelonero reveals the backgrounds to both Kitty Genovese and her killer, Winston Moseley and the aftermath of the murder and its effects on the community where Kitty lived.

I hadn’t heard of this case before, so the details were all new to me. Aside from the shocking murder of a young woman, the response of her neighbours in their apartments across the street provoked outrage at the time and eventually led to the setting up of a single telephone number people could use to call the police. The details of the murder are gory to say the least and may be off-putting to some readers. The author does a sterling job of retelling the story, though she does repeat herself a few times - maybe understandable considering the many witness statements and subsequent interviews of those involved. The book is a fascinating and disturbing account of how individuals can turn away from those in need – a fact that is still prevalent today.

Thought-provoking and disturbing.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rhona Lyall
  • 02-23-22

Could be more succinct

Clearly well researched but overly repetitive. Could have been halved and made the same points.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C.J. Lister
  • 05-20-21

Too much fluff

A detailed account of the case. I felt there was way too much insignificant detail on stuff that wasn't essential to the overall book. That cynically, I felt, was there to bulk up the page count. Some may appreciate the minute detail; I just thought it was a waste of time.