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Author Topic: Last Book You Read  (Read 218883 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #1260 on: June 18, 2016, 11:10:06 PM »

"Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences," by Catherine Pelonero (2014)


https://www.amazon.com/Kitty-Genovese-Account-Consequences-Hardback/dp/B00IVM9GQS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466317291&sr=8-2&


Very good book about one of the most infamous murders of the 20th century: The murder of Kitty Genovese, which occurred on a nice street in a middle class neighborhood in Queens, after 3:00 a.m. one night in 1964. 62 people heard her cries for help, 38 of them also saw her (staggering around after she was stabbed, etc), but people figured that she must just be drunk, or that "someone else must have called the police," etc. so nobody called the cops for half an hour, and she slowly died - none of the dozens of stab wounds she received were fatal on their own, if she had received quick emergency care.

This infamous case has been studied endlessly and cited by psychologists for the phenomenon of bystander indifference, how in a big city nobody cares about anybody else or pays attention to anyone else; or about how everyone assumes that the other guy will do something, and that if you're going to be attacked, you're better off in front of one witness than 38.

The report about 38 witnesses was first written by Martin Gansberg in the NY Times shortly after the murder. In recent years, some have questioned its accuracy. But Pelonero adamantly believes the initial report is correct and dismisses the recent attempts at revisionism.

At times, Pelonero can be a little sloppy, like when she dismisses the revisionism without actually going into an in-depth discussion about the other side's arguments. In response to those who say that Gansberg's story was inaccurate, Pelonero spends much of a page with an argument that basically boils down to things like, hey, this is the legendary NY Times and a legendary reporter, they didn't get that way by making up lies. That is one particularly sloppy page in an otherwise very good book.

I have not researched the Genovese murder like Pelonero and others have; I can't state a firm opinion about whether or not Gansberg's 1964 article was correct. He always stood by it, as did his editor, A.M. Rosenthal. And nobody really questioned it for decades afterward. Although recent articles in the Times itself have.

This is  generally a very good book; Pelonero does a very good, chilling job recreating the murder.

This is a very famous, horrific case; whether it's this book or another, read about it if you haven't yet. Plenty of stuff available online as well.

By the way, Winston Moseley, the man who murdered Kitty Genovese (as well as one or two other women), just died two months ago; he was more than 80 years old, and one of the (if not THE) longest-serving prisoners in New York State prison system.

Kitty's brother just released a documentary about her murder, called THE WITNESS, playing now at IFC Center. I hope to see it at IFC Center, or to eventually watch the DVD.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 07:59:33 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1261 on: June 19, 2016, 08:13:55 AM »

I have read the Zhivago book, but not Kitty Genovese. I am currently reading John Heilpern's bio of John Osborne again

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« Reply #1262 on: June 19, 2016, 10:24:33 AM »

"The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book," by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee (2014)




Does it say anything about how Feltrinelli dealt with the widow who was bugging him for her share of the copyrights while he tried to persuade her to leave everything to him?

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« Reply #1263 on: June 19, 2016, 11:47:08 AM »

Does it say anything about how Feltrinelli dealt with the widow who was bugging him for her share of the copyrights while he tried to persuade her to leave everything to him?

After Pasternack dies, there is some brief discussion about the settling of the estate/royalties, though I do not remember offhand much of what it says about that. I think that some deal was worked out a few years later by the widow with Soviet officials - of course, the gov't had to be involved with money transfers from abroad, and probably took a hefty cut. Also, Pasternack's mistress claimed that before he died he had signed a document leaving things in her hands, but the person who was supposed to bring the document from the USSR to Italy lost it and the document was never entered into the record. The mistress ended up receiving a small portion of the money.

btw, I see on Amazon another book,, written one year before the Finn/Couvee book, about the publication of Doctor Zhivago. It's called "Inside the Zhivago storm: The editorial adventures of Pasternak's masterpiece," (English and Italian Edition) by Paolo Mancosu

https://www.amazon.com/Zhivago-editorial-adventures-Pasternaks-masterpiece/dp/8807990687

Mancosu has a website here https://zhivagostorm.org/



« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 12:06:56 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1264 on: June 21, 2016, 12:41:52 PM »


It reads well, though it suffers from having been written in 1991 when the russian archives were just starting being accessible. But Conquest is a good narrator and especially when  dealing with  the pre-IIWW years his portrait of Stalin is still valuable. 9/10

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« Reply #1265 on: October 03, 2016, 12:40:11 PM »




Euro Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to European Crime Fiction, Film and TV (Pocket Essential series) - Barry Forshaw

A personal tour in state- of-the-art continental crime fiction. Mainly devoted to Italian and French contemporary writers the author throws some historical hints and reviews some movies and tv series he considers worthy of note. Well, if one likes reading crime fiction he can find some reading hints here, but this is a very idiosyncratic book. I give it 8/10 because I presume it is the only book dealing with rumenian, polish, dutch, greek and portuguese crime fiction, which I doubt though  I'll ever read. But oddly, it leaves out russian crime fiction, an important one.

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« Reply #1266 on: October 30, 2016, 07:13:24 PM »



Good anthology of stories of alternative history. The level is generally good, though I do not think there's a masterpiece among them, but most are coming up with a sly approach. Oddly Hitler himself doesn't share the limelight.   7/10

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« Reply #1267 on: November 18, 2016, 11:23:46 AM »

Dan Brown The Lost Symbol and Inferno




Brown's ability lies not so much  in his russian dolls enigmas but in his chases and how the chased ones manage to find a way out. He also gives many anectodical informations on many locales (in these cases Washington, Florence, Venice and Constantinople) and organisatons (masons).  7/10

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« Reply #1268 on: November 18, 2016, 03:46:53 PM »

Reading three at the moment






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« Reply #1269 on: November 22, 2016, 10:06:49 AM »

If you like Barry Gifford then you should check out his writings on Film Noir. If you haven't already that is.


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« Reply #1270 on: February 02, 2017, 03:37:21 PM »



A good collection of crime stories, some from not specialist in the field. With one exception all quite good and some very good. Published in 1950, roundin' up stories from the '20's on.

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« Reply #1271 on: March 12, 2017, 07:05:34 PM »

Five Came Back - Mark Harris - Really excellent book about five directors (Capra, Ford, Huston, Stevens, Wyler) who served in World War II.

I also read Harris's Pictures at a Revolution recently, chronicling the 1967 Best Picture nominees and their role in ushering in the New Hollywood. So far as I know these are his only two books, but even on that basis I'd rank him among the best film writers out there.


I just got Five Came Back from the library (Ben Menckeweicz mentioned on TCM recently after a showing of THEY WERE EXPENDABLE).

I'm only a hundred pages in, but it is indeed very good  Afro Afro Afro Afro Afro

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« Reply #1272 on: March 14, 2017, 07:08:35 AM »



Filled with quotations from Ventura and his colleagues plus a ton of photographs make this indispensable for this actor's fans, like me who consider him the best french actor ever...were it not that he kept his italian nationality till the end:"You can't stop being italian" runs a quotation in the book. So much so that he played in italian in Rosi's Cadaveri eccellenti. But what results from the book just confirms what the audience perceived: he was in real life what he appeared to be in movies. The book is on the man and his art, little is told of his movies. That is why i give it only 9/10.

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« Reply #1273 on: April 13, 2017, 12:25:07 AM »


I just got Five Came Back from the library (Ben Menckeweicz mentioned on TCM recently after a showing of THEY WERE EXPENDABLE).

I'm only a hundred pages in, but it is indeed very good  Afro Afro Afro Afro Afro

I finished FIVE CAME BACK. Very, very, very, very, very good book.

I then read ROUND UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS: THE MAKING OF CASABLANCA: BOGART, BERGMAN, AND WORLD WAR II, by Aljean Harmetz. Good book about the making of one of the greatest movies of all time.

It was completely  coincidental that I read those two books back to back. But of course, some of the material they cover relates to one another.

FCB focuses on the military film work that five famous filmmakers did during WWII: Fors, Capra, Stevens, Huston, and Wyler.

As RUTUS is set during World War II, it also has some discussion of the military film work by Hollywood studios - specifically Warner Bros.

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« Reply #1274 on: April 18, 2017, 08:43:28 AM »



A biography come out right after the actor's death, concentrating more on the man Gabin than on his movies. To be read at a half-sitting. 8/10

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