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A Death in Italy: The Definitive Account of the Amanda Knox Case [Hardcover]

John Follain
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
Price: 15.46 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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A Death in Italy: The Definitive Account of the Amanda Knox Case + Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (21 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250024242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250024244
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.3 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,169,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

HardCover. Pub Date :2012-08-21 Pages: 464 Language: English Publisher: St. Martins Press London Times journalist John Follain presents the most comprehensive account of the most publicized and controversial trial in a decade Shortly after 12:30 pm on November 2 . 2007. Italian police were called to the Perugia home of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher. They found her body on the floor under a beige quilt. Her throat had been cut.Four days later. the prosecutor jailed Merediths roommate. American student Amanda Knox. and Raffaele Sollecito. her Italian boyfriend. He also jailed Rudy Guede. an Ivory Coast drifter. Four years later Knox and Sollecito were acquitted amid chaotic scenes in front of the worlds media.Uniquely based on four years of reporting and access to the complete case files. and hundreds of first hand interviews. Death in Italy takes reader...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detail 21 Nov 2013
By James
Follain's journalistic prose drives the narrative along at a break-neck pace and creates a real page-turner. I finished the 440p book in few short days. Follain's account gives the background to the main participants and runs chronologically through the investigation and trials. Published in 2011, the book stops with the acquittal of Knox and Sollectio on appeal. It's now out of date, given that this acquittal was thrown out of court and both are being tried before Italy's Supreme Court. But given the lengthy Italian legal process, this is a book which could have waited a decade to be published.

Follain has excellent credentials to write about the case, having covered it from the very start as the Sunday Times correspondent in Rome. He's been based in Italy since 1998, is fluent in Italian and had full access to the 10,000 page case file. The book is also based on interviews with most of the individuals involved.

I back other reviewers' comments that very occasionally Follain misses the mark, e.g. stating that Amanda filled her `interest' box on Facebook with one word: men. As any user will know, this is to choice sexual orientation and the only choice she could make was `men, `women' or `both'. It's a cheap shot and one which will be ridiculed by most readers for either being cynical or nave. There is also one or two loose ends, e.g. mentioning early on that blonde hairs were found under Meredith's nails and in her vagina but then not mentioning them again.

I came to the Follain's book knowing a lot about the case through other books and websites. It's a great reference volume to have on hand to check facts and dates.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Surprised at his lack of objectivity 3 Feb 2014
I really expected this to be the definitive guide, but even my own research goes further than this book has on some of the evidence. Either this book is out of date or he didn't look as hard as I did, which I find hard to believe. Disappointed, thought Follain had more objectivity.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, with flaws 23 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an extremely detailed account of the story, very well researched and packed full of information. It never bogs down though, largely because Follain is so good at capturing people, particularly the quirks in Knox's character, the flowery prosecution and defence teams and the dignity of the Kercher family.

There are some weaknesses though. Strangely, Guede is only caught in outline in these pages. The only person found legally responsible for Meredith's death draws the least attention.

One other issue is that the wealth of contradictory evidence is never analysed. The story is told strictly chronologically and no time is spent summarising keys bits of evidence to hep the reader understand the respective view points of Prosecution and Defence. Finally, certain (on the face of it) key strands are forgotten. This may be the result of these being forgotten in the trials themselves but still, the omissions are curious. For example, early in the book, the author explains that blond hairs were found both in the victim's hand, and her vagina. Who did the hair come from and how did it get there? We don't know, because this seemingly crucial evidence is never mentioned again.

Don't read this if you want to be told who did it; the author does not give a view. But if you want an intelligent (as opposed to titilating), well researched account then this fits the bill.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SAME BOOK, DIFFERENT TITLE 20 Jan 2014
By Mark
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"A Death in Italy" is the same book as Follian's earlier "Death in Perugia." I have both in U.S. editions, and the only difference is a 2 1/2 page addition at the end of the newer title.

Turn to any page, and the text is identical.

Here is my review of "Death in Perugia," which applies equally to "A Death in Italy":

The premise is admirable. John Follian, a London Times journalist who covered this case from the day of the murder, lays out an unbiased account of the bare facts. He has interviewed most of the key participants and witnesses, and quotes them at length. They tell us exactly what they saw and how they felt.

The reader, armed with this information, should now be in a position to judge for himself what really happened.

Says Follain, "I have done my best to give a voice to as many of those involved as possible, with the help of both case files and author interviews, and with the aim of writing an objective, chronological account". We do indeed get the impression, turning these pages, that Follian is objective. He neither judges nor insinuates, and presents facts in crisp, clear, unambiguous prose.

And herein lies the problem.

Many things his participants say are now known to be false or at least not what they seem, but Follain is too objective to tell the reader this. Even worse, many official "facts" are also known to be untrue, or at the least poorly understood due to conflicting accounts and questionable witnesses. Follain "cures" all such ambiguity by simply omitting it, giving us a simple, unambiguous, but arbitrary and selective account.

This problem is fatal and best illustrated by specific examples:


Follain - p.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal book!
I hate reading, but do love true crime. It does, however, have to be good to keep me interested.
It was a story I'd heard about in the papers, but wasn't really interested as... Read more
Published 1 month ago by fruitfingers
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable detailed account of the Kerchner murder
Mr Follain is a journalist so the account is very factual and readable. I thought I would reach a conclusion on who was guilty by the end of the book but surprisingly I am still... Read more
Published 1 month ago by malkiel
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
This was a well written book with lots of interesting facts. I couldn't put it down. Well worth the money
Published 3 months ago by ruthellen
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptionally well-written account.
First time I've ever read anything in this genre before and I found it fascinating. I'd certainly recommend it. 'Page turner'.
Published 3 months ago by s.p. martin
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
A very non biased account of the Meredith Kercher case. I have to say though that I think Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are guilty. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Treacle Jo
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not without bias
This is a very interesting account of the details of Merdith's murder, encompassing both the circustances leading to the suspects' arrest and also the trial and the appeal. Read more
Published 4 months ago by MR D COSTI
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of the Meredith Kercher murder.
This was a very interesting and factual account of this dreadful murder. It was interesting to get all the facts from Meredith's friends as to what kind of person she was. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alexandra
4.0 out of 5 stars Impartial
an impartial review of the case, just the facts, some have tried to twist his words but the facts are the facts.
Published 5 months ago by Spiritof76
4.0 out of 5 stars factual and unbiased account
A clear and detailed account of the facts. Written without bias allowing the reader to make up their own mind.
Published 5 months ago by bronwyn grimshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and detailed
An excellent and detailed factual account, and not pushing an agenda like some other books on this case. The saddest thing is we will probably never know the truth.
Published 5 months ago by
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