This is a compelling portrait of 1960s America that takes as its starting point the brutal events of 11 March 1963, the day on which the lives of three complete strangers - a black handyman, an Italian-American carpenter and a second-generation Jewish housewife - collided in the leafy Boston suburb of Belmont. These three people did not know one ...
This is a compelling portrait of 1960s America that takes as its starting point the brutal events of 11 March 1963, the day on which the lives of three complete strangers - a black handyman, an Italian-American carpenter and a second-generation Jewish housewife - collided in the leafy Boston suburb of Belmont. These three people did not know one another, but, by the end of the day, the housewife had been raped and strangled, the handyman had been arrested on suspicion of being the notorious Boston Strangler, and the real Boston Strangler - carpenter Al DeSalvo - had returned home to his wife and children. It was not until two years later that DeSalvo admitted to the gruesomely violent murders of thirteen women. Also, unwittingly drawn into the drama were one-year-old Sebastian Junger's own family, who posed for a photograph with DeSalvo the day after the Belmont strangling, at the completion of his work on their studio. Taking the chilling family snap as his inspiration, Junger explores the worlds of the three protagonists and, in so doing, creates a portrait of America in the 1960s that touches on the historic themes of the era: the assassination of JFK, the rise of the immigrants and the troubling race relations that prefigured the death of Martin Luther King. This new work by Sebastian Junger, the acclaimed author of "Perfect Storm" and "Fire", is as enlightening as it is haunting. Taking as its foundation the events that shocked a quiet community in 1963, "A Death in Belmont" expands to encompass an entire nation at a time of extraordinary social turmoil.
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The identity of the Boston Strangler is still in d
it tells the story of Roy Smith, a disadvantaged black man who was convicted and sent to prison for 12 years for committing a murder that he may very well have been innocent of because it could have been the work of the Boston Strangler. Unfortunately, there is really no way to tell for sure one way or the other.
The identity of the Boston Strangler is still in dispute, Al DeSalvo confessed to the crimes, and the killings did stop when he went to prison but in recounting details of the crime scenes he seemed to know little more than what was published in the newspapers.
I wish this book had a little more fact and a little less speculation, but despite that it was a remarkably good read.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-06-05 In 1963, Boston was plagued by a serial killer known as the Boston Strangler. In the neighboring town of Belmont, there was the murder of a woman that fit the profile of the Strangler, but a young black man named Roy Smith was convicted of the crime, and the stranglings continued. Handyman Albert DeSalvo later confessed to being the Strangler, but he never claimed credit for the murder in Belmont. Junger's captivating and intricately researched audiobook explores whether the killing was done by Smith, DeSalvo or someone else. Junger has a personal as well as journalistic interest in this case: DeSalvo worked at his boyhood home for several months, and the Belmont murder was not far from his neighborhood. Conway reads with an intense, serious passion and a deep, resonant tone, ideally suited to the somber subject. He shifts his voice into a perfect Boston accent when relating DeSalvo's own words and employs a number of other subtle inflections for other characters. A fascinating insight into the terror inspired by serial killers, this compelling look at the Boston Strangler case asks as many questions as it answers. Simultaneous release with the Norton hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 13). (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-02-13 Bessie Goldberg was strangled to death in her home in Belmont, a Boston suburb, in March of 1963-right in the middle of the Boston Strangler's killing spree. Her death has not usually been associated with the other Strangler killings because Roy Smith, a black man who was working in Goldberg's house that day, was convicted of her murder on strong circumstantial evidence. But another man was working in Belmont that day: Albert DeSalvo, who later confessed to being the Boston Strangler, was doing construction work in the home of Junger's parents (the author himself was a baby). Could DeSalvo have slipped away and killed Bessie Goldberg? Junger's taut narrative makes dizzying hairpin turns as he considers all the evidence for, and against, Smith or DeSalvo being Goldberg's killer; he also reviews the more familiar case for and against DeSalvo being the Strangler-for there are serious questions about his confession. As Junger showed in his bestselling The Perfect Storm, he's a hell of a storyteller, and here he intertwines underlying moral quandaries-was racism a factor in Smith's conviction? How to judge when the truth in this case is probably unknowable?-with the tales of two men: Smith, a ne'er-do-well from a racist South who rehabilitated himself before dying in prison; DeSalvo, a sexual predator raised by a violent father who was stabbed to death in prison. This perplexing story gains an extra degree of creepiness from Junger's personal connection to it. First serial to Vanity Fair; 19-city author tour. (May 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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