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The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City's Most Infamous Crimes Paperback – 9 May 2012

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (9 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307387984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307387981
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 769,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This is a controversial and important book, presenting a powerful argument that the minority youths who are convicted of raping and nearly murdering "the Central Park Jogger" were innocent of that crime (though not necessarily of other violent crimes committed in Central Park that night). It demonstrates that our justice system is far from full proof even in the face of alleged confession, eyewitness and forensic evidence. Were these false convictions based on understandable mistakes? Or were they based on racial stereotyping? Read this fine book and make up your own mind." -Alan M. Dershowitz, author of "The Trials of Zion
"
"An important cultural document, and unquestionably worth reading...Burns's gripping tale may serve as an allegory for some of the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time." -"The New York Times Book Review"

"Gripping from start to finish, "The Central Park Five" is an unvarnished look at one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history. You may think you know the true story of the Central Park jogger, but you don't. Sarah Burns tells a harrowing story, in which her only allegiance is to the truth." -Kevin Baker, author of "Dreamland"

"Remarkable...Straightforward, thought-provoking reportage." -"Booklist"

"Measured, riveting...The Central Park Five is an important book." -"The Cleveland Plain Dealer"

"A riveting retrospective." -News Blaze


"From the Hardcover edition."

"Riveting. . . An important book." -"The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"
"Burns's gripping tale may serve as an allegory for some of the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time." -"The New York Times Book Review"
"This is a controversial and important book, presenting a powerful argument that the minority youths who are convicted of raping and nearly murdering "the Central Park Jogger" were innocent of that crime (though not necessarily of other violent crimes committed in Central Park that night). It demonstrates that our justice system is far from full proof even in the face of alleged confession, eyewitness and forensic evidence. Were these false convictions based on understandable mistakes? Or were they based on racial stereotyping? Read this fine book and make up your own mind." -Alan M. Dershowitz, author of "The Trials of Zion
"
"Burns is a calm, lucid, and concise writer."--"NPR
"
"Gripping from start to finish, "The Central Park Five" is an unvarnished look at one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history. You may think you know the true story of the Central Park jogger, but you don't. Sarah Burns tells a harrowing story, in which her only allegiance is to the truth." -Kevin Baker, author of "Dreamland"
"Remarkable...Straightforward, thought-provoking reportage." -"Booklist"
"A riveting retrospective." -News Blaze

"Riveting. . .An important book. "The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"
Burns s gripping tale may serve as an allegory for some of the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time. "The New York Times Book Review"
This is a controversial and important book, presenting a powerful argument that the minority youths who are convicted of raping and nearly murdering the Central Park Jogger were innocent of that crime (though not necessarily of other violent crimes committed in Central Park that night).It demonstrates that our justice system is far from full proof even in the face of alleged confession, eyewitness and forensic evidence. Were these false convictions based on understandable mistakes? Or were they based on racial stereotyping? Read this fine book and make up your own mind. Alan M. Dershowitz, author of "The Trials of Zion
"
"Burns is a calm, lucid, and concise writer."--"NPR
"
Gripping from start to finish, "The Central Park Five" is an unvarnished look at one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history. You may think you know the true story of the Central Park jogger, but you don t. Sarah Burns tells a harrowing story, in which her only allegiance is to the truth. Kevin Baker, author of "Dreamland"
Remarkable Straightforward, thought-provoking reportage. "Booklist"
A riveting retrospective. News Blaze"

"Riveting. . .An important book. The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Burns s gripping tale may serve as an allegory for some of the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time. The New York Times Book Review
This is a controversial and important book, presenting a powerful argument that the minority youths who are convicted of raping and nearly murdering the Central Park Jogger were innocent of that crime (though not necessarily of other violent crimes committed in Central Park that night).It demonstrates that our justice system is far from full proof even in the face of alleged confession, eyewitness and forensic evidence. Were these false convictions based on understandable mistakes? Or were they based on racial stereotyping? Read this fine book and make up your own mind. Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion

"Burns is a calm, lucid, and concise writer."--NPR

Gripping from start to finish, The Central Park Five is an unvarnished look at one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history. You may think you know the true story of the Central Park jogger, but you don t. Sarah Burns tells a harrowing story, in which her only allegiance is to the truth. Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland
Remarkable Straightforward, thought-provoking reportage. Booklist
A riveting retrospective. News Blaze"

About the Author

Sarah Burns graduated from Yale University in 2004 with a degree in American studies and went on to work for Moore & Goodman, a small civil rights law firm based in New York. She is now producing a documentary film with Ken Burns based on this book. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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Format: Paperback
In late 2011, Sarah Burns published this book, and just a few weeks ago, the documentary based on this book, or perhaps more accurately stated, made in conjunction with this book, was released in the theatre (I saw it at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington DC). This co-documentary is directed by the book's author as well as David McMahon and Ken Burns (yes, that Ken Burns).

"The Central Park Five" (120 min.) brings in excruciating (but riveting and enraging) details the background of the infamous "Central Park jogger" case of a woman who was savagely attacked, raped and left for dead while jogging in New York's Central Park in 1989. By coincidence that very same evening a bunch of black and latino 14 and 15 yr. old teenagers were hanging out in Central Park and pretty quickly the New York police rounded up a number of them, eventually causing 5 of them to admit to a crime they did not commit. This of course then goes to the very heart of this documentary: why did the 5 innocent teenagers confess to a crime they did not commit? Just watch!

Several comments: first and foremost, this documentary is clearly the result of painstaking background work into the details of the case. The initial part of the documentary does a great job setting the table of what New York was like in the late 80s (pre-law and order days of Rudolph Giuliani's administration in the 90s). The documentary also gives some amazing insights on why the media were not more thorough and critical while covering the case and the trial (one of the interviewees is a New York Times reporter who basically admits that 'we failed to do our job').
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This travesty of justice could and should have been a much better book. It is a dull read of facts of the case.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 54 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars there is no reason to give validity to the fact that he claims he "found religion" and felt bad that others were being accused o 31 July 2015
By Matthew L - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This account is very one-sided. The Author claims to be providing the framework of racism during this time period but she presents her own opinions of racism, so called minority crime, and how other people viewed black culture at the time, as fact.

She also distorts the truth about other famous cases such as Bernard Goetz and Eleanor Bumpers. Even somehow finding a way to blame police for shooting Ms. Bumpers when she is the one who lunged at an officer with a knife trying to kill them. She has the audacity to suggest they should have used pepper spray to deter lethal force. Clueless.

The Author wants us to believe that the confession of a serial rapist and psychopath is compelling evidence that Matias Reyes acted entirely alone in the beating and rape of Trisha Meili. His psychiatrist claimed that Matias is not capable of telling the truth and this was a guy who raped his own mother and other women. He had nothing to lose in confessing to this crime, there is no reason to give validity to the fact that he claims he "found religion" and felt bad that others were being accused of a crime he committed by himself.

The truth is that more than one doctor has testified and maintains to this day that the jogger's injuries could not have been from one attacker alone. One of the doctor's testified that she saw hand prints on the jogger's legs indicating she was held down while someone else sexually assaulted her. The truth is that it is very unlikely that one psychopath would have been able to chase down a seasoned runner, hit her to the ground, further assault her, and then drag her farther into a secluded area to rape her.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Balanced Look at Injustice 10 Oct. 2013
By Maria - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book recounts the steps that led to a horrible injustice done to five teen aged boys who are referred to as the Central Park 5, who were convicted of raping the Central Park Jogger in 1989, and whose convictions were vacated completely after they served their full sentences. I lived in NY at that time, and the book is a fair recounting of the frenzy around the case as well as the details that led to overturning their convictions. The book and film are the work primarily of Sarah Burns, daughter of documentarian Ken Burns, and show the background research and production values of a Burns project. It's an easy and effective read, and highlights the ineffectiveness of the justice system when it is deliberately perverted by those in control of the process. I used the book and DVD in a class on how racial conflict is presented in the mass media focusing on the racial elements of the story, and found it very effective and balanced. Greater coverage of how the minority media covered the ongoing story would have strengthened the project, since the few references that are included indicate the coverage was very different, and especially since the five teenagers were all members of minority communities. Chapter titles would also have been handy. The whole mess is sad and frustrating and infuriating, and the interviews with the now-grown men reflect the pain and injustice of lives that cannot really be recovered. These kids were put into prison for years when they were not guilty and simply wanted to play baseball, create some art, and go to the prom. The impact of the film and book have been significant; for the first time in about ten years, the NY City government is starting to negotiate with them on compensation for unlawful imprisonment.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the documentary 15 Jan. 2013
By LisaG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm still amazed that most people don't know this story yet. Sarah Burns took on an overwhelming task in trying to change the collective recollections of a city that was raving after the Central Park Jogger was assaulted. And I hope that people who think they know the story will give her book a read and learn what really happened.
While these were young teens, adults have succumbed to the persuasive tactics of authorities and "confessed" to crimes they did not commit. So the book serves as a warning for the innocent.
I was most struck by Khorey Wise - who left the park long before the jogger was attacked. He served the most amount of time because he was older than the other convicted "Five." But ironically, if he had not been convicted and met Matias Reyes, the true rapist, one wonders whether Reyes would ever have come forward and cleared the teens. Indeed, Reyes said that he confessed because he met Wise and felt bad because Wise was serving time for Reyes's crime.
The book was, however, biased. These kids were involved in several assaults in the park that night. That the police believed they could also have committed the assault on the jogger was not a stretch. But Burns downplays the crimes and the "Five's" motives, conduct and behavior that night. They certainly did not deserve to go to prison for the many years they did. But they were not simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. They had other crimes on their hands.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 8 Feb. 2013
By Ren Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, and a fairly balanced review of a horrible, highly publicized crime and it's outcome for five young men who were convicted but innocent. Disturbing look at how all levels of society pre-judge crime situations without all the facts. How those who are responsible for our safety abuse their power. How those who are responsible for protecting the innocent protect their own careers instead. How those who are supposed to report the news accurately distort the facts, are too lazy to get the facts, or are too busy trying to sell newspapers with sensationalism to get it right. Yet another example of how we humans fail over and over again to learn our lessons from past experience. For another recent example, read Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real Story behind the Headlines 8 Dec. 2012
By Jana3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well-written account of what really happened that night in Central Park. Like most people, I read the various newspaper and magazine stories regarding the tragic rape and assault of the jogger in Central Park. This is what really happened and it's an eyeopener. No matter how many times we learn about false confessions, human nature dictates we believe that people don't confess to horrific crimes they didn't commit. Juveniles, in particular, don't comprehend the consequences of "confession". The young men in question didn't all have competent counsel and served many years in prison for a crime they didn't commit.
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