Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
Id like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Cries Unheard: the Story of Mary Bell [Paperback]

Gitta Sereny
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback --  

Book Description

7 May 1999
Gitta Sereny pieces together the fractured life of Mary Bell, convicted of manslaughter when she was only eleven years old.

Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; New edition edition (7 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333753119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333753118
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Renowned journalist and biographer Gitta Sereny covered the Mary Bell case in the 1960s and wrote about it at the time. Mary, then eleven, was charged and subsequently convicted of the manslaughter of two younger boys. Now, following Mary's release on licence, and in collaboration with her, Sereny provides a thought-provoking biography of someone who was considered to have committed an evil crime of unparalleled horror. She brilliantly delves into the mind of this complex and damaged human being and reveals how little was done to investigate Mary's own troubled circumstances. A powerfully disturbing book, it will resonate with all who read it.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will alter your judgement... 12 Jun 2002
By A Customer
I, like countless others found the Bell case and the more recent Bulger case totally heinous. I formed the opinion that these 'evil' children deserved to be detained indefinitely, and that Mary never should have been allowed to have a child of her own.
I read this book purely out of curiosity, and I finished the book with a totally different judgement.
The author Gitta Sereny followed the initial case, attended the trial and wrote the book 'The case of Mary bell'. She wrote in a recent publication of her hopes of one day writing Mary's own account of the terrible tot murders in Newcastle in 1968.
Mary finally decided to talk to Gitta Sereny in 1995 and for a year, they collaborated to produce 'Cries Unheard'. At no point in the book does Mary attempt to excuse the terrible crimes she committed. The book concentrates on the painful suffering childhood Mary endured at the hands of her Mother, a prostitute who introduced Mary to the most horrendous kind of child abuse and how the legal system appallingly mismanaged her time in detention.
Gitta Sereny searches for reasons as to why certain children take the leap from being simply 'off the rails' to committing heinous crimes. Contrary to the judges opinion at Bell's trial that she was a monster and born evil, that all children are born good and pure and that childhood influences mainly parental can take a child to breaking point and commit crime.
After reading this book I think you will feel what I now feel towards Mary Bell, utter sadness and pity that social workers or the legal system did not intervene or become aware of Mary's disturbances. The saddest thing of all is that if they had been as vigilant as Gitta Sereny and probed a lot deeper into the reasons behind Mary's actions, the two little boys would have very likely been alive today.
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Escape from the Truth 23 April 2010
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Gitta lifts the lids on life's sewers and jumps into the swirling effluence. Emerging with a fistful of kohinoor diamonds, whether exploring child sexual perversity, Nazism or child killers She appears as a fearless feminine archetype a kindred spirit to Alice Miller.

Gitta never takes the presentation of the world for reality. The baying for blood, the mass hysteria, the pronounced sentence, it's all part of a charade. This is all too easy for her as the lessons why these forms of behaviour appeared never become learnt and history repeats, repeats, repeats ad nauseum. Her careful archeological sifting of the evidence provokes strange reactions, from the bystander. The most common is that she is justifying monsters. Understanding why these people emerge creates a range of psychological projections and ripples. Some people wish those broom cupboards of the dark imagination to be carefully locked, sealed and forgotten. Gitta is all for take a firemans' axe and battering down the doors, then drawing the curtains to let in the light. The question is why do these people shirk away from the reality and want to condemn without asking why? What are they hiding?

In this book Gitta takes on the world. Mary Bell, as the Bulger killers, was sentenced by the media well before the judge pronounced. Grown adults were shouting abuse at a child and banging on her prison van with pounding fury. No one came to her emotional rescue, remaining more conmdemned than the series of adults; fathers and mothers who murdered their children in gruesome tortures. Child killers are the bete noire of society, their whipping boys and girls.

Gitta's book is a page turning expose of Mary's life.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must' for every serious thinker 10 Sep 1999
By A Customer
Sensitively written, well researched, story of Mary Bell, dubbed a 'child murderer' but clearly presented here as more sinned against than sinning. Her story should be compulsory reading for all who have to handle children in such circumstances, but especially by parents and police, social workers and journalists, and the general public before they rush to pass judgement. One of the best books I have ever read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise to Gitta Sereny 6 April 2003
A thought provoking biography of what at the time was considered to be an evil crime of unparalleled horror. The author gets well into the mind of a particularly complex human being, something a lot of clever and obviously not so clever psychiatrists and social workers had tried to do during all her years in captivity. One finds it very hard to believe, even in the late 60's, that more background wasn't checked into and discovery made of how much influence Mary Bell's mother, Betty's upbringing had on her. Although Mary Bell does not for a very long period of the book come across as a particularly nice person, one wonders how any of us would have coped with so much mental and sexual abuse before the age of 11. The most worrying aspect of the book is the fact that even today, we have not progressed dramatically in how we deal with child offenders, as illustrated by the infamous Jamie Bulger case. Not easy, or should I say, not pleasant reading but essential if we are to learn anything from Mary Bell's case. Much praise should be given to Gitta Sereny for sticking with Mary for all these years and at least showing that no matter what we all thought at the time, Mary Bell was maybe not as evil as everybody thought.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant, an in depth version of the tale of ...
This book is brilliant, an in depth version of the tale of Mary Bell, after she committed her heinous crimes, a very interesting read.
Published 12 days ago by Mimmz
2.0 out of 5 stars would recommend since offers basic facts but as a read
Not sure what the writer's point is - seems to want sympathy for Mary Bell who after killed 2 other children - surely murder convictions are about the crime, not why a person did... Read more
Published 1 month ago by squirrel 59
5.0 out of 5 stars Though provoking book, should be required reading in schools.
excellent book, thoughtful, insightful and well written,We should all seek to improve the parenting skills and living conditions for children and that might help to cut out some of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by kathleen wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Insight
Mary Flora Bell at the age of 11, strangled to death two little boys in Scotswood, an inner-city suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kevin Walsh
3.0 out of 5 stars lost appeal half way through
I was looking forward to reading the book and initially did enyoy it but it failed to hold my attention half way through, however this can happen and i'm no literary expert so... Read more
Published 12 months ago by miss n pape
5.0 out of 5 stars an extraordinary story
an extraordinary account of a terrible event in Britains history
Also a revelation about a small child who was abused by her mother and who only escaped by greats... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Robert Hjorth
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm gripped
After reading ''The Case Of Mary Bell'' I couldn't wait to buy and read this next book.I haven't finished it yet but what I can say is I can't put it down. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jess
4.0 out of 5 stars 'I believe Mary Bell's childhood experiences...to be the key to the...
A gripping and thought-provoking read, as the author considers the murders in 1968 of two little boys by 11 year old Mary Bell. Read more
Published 18 months ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched & written
It is salutary to realise that the kind of punitive measures meted out in 1968 no longer would be tolerated today. The title of the book is apt.
Published on 21 July 2012 by A. St John Howe
3.0 out of 5 stars Cries unheard
I found this book to be very slow reading. I gave up half way through. Too much court room jargon. You need to have a degree in literature to reed it.
Published on 7 Sep 2011 by shazzer
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category