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A Death in Belmont

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/ Key title / Includes PS Section 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. / From the bestselling author of 'The Perfect Storm' comes a harrowing account of Junger's own personal connection to the Boston Strangler and the chilling crimes which shocked the US nation. / 'A Death in Belmont' has sold over 5,000 copies in hardback since publication. / The film tie-in edition of 'The Perfect Storm' was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold over 3 million copies in the US and over 250,000 paperbacks in the UK. / 'The Perfect Storm' was made into an enormously successful film starring George Clooney.

About the Author

Sebastian Junger grew up in New England and has worked as a tree-feller, Bosnian correspondent, journalist and adventurer. His first book, `The Perfect Storm', spent over four years on the bestseller lists and its film adaptation was a huge box-office success. Junger is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He has also written for magazines including Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, and National Geographic Adventure.


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.

'The great merit of Junger's thoughtful book is that he is constantly striving to go beyond the obvious!True crime stories in which the wrong man is sent down are a dime to the dozen. But Sebastian Junger's elegant and gripping book rises above the herd because he is unafraid to confront the ambiguity of human memory, and because he admits the impossibility of discovering the 'absolute truth' of what happened that day in Belmont!Superbly researched and tautly written, "A Death in Belmont" reads like a classic whodunit; but it is a hundred times more satisfying.' The Telegraph 'Junger is a master of narrative, his bold, clear-eyed prose never lags. His story tells us a great deal about America in the middle decades of the 20th century, about the operations of race, class (and the violence of prejudice) permeated and, in a sad way, defined a society.' The Guardian 'A lucid study of crime and justice in 1960s America!compelling.' Independent on Sunday 'Junger's storytelling is at its best when weaving the case's minute detail into the larger picture of the dark times experienced by the US in the 1960s.' Financial Times 'It is written in the beautifully cool, precise, easy style of the best American journalism. There is a fascinating detail on every page.' Mail on Sunday

In 1963, Junger (The Perfect Storm) was a child living with his mother and father in the Boston suburb of Belmont, MA. His mother was an artist and hired a local handyman to construct a studio inside her home. During that time, the Jungers' neighbor Bessie Goldberg was found strangled in her home. Her murder fit the pattern of a number of crimes that were taking place in the Boston area, committed by a person dubbed the "Boston Strangler." The last person seen leaving the house and the area was Roy Smith, an African American down on his luck, with a criminal record, who was hired to help clean the Goldberg home. He was arrested, charged, and convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison. A few years later, Albert DeSalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler but not to murdering Goldberg, even though he was in Belmont at the time. Smith died shortly after having his sentence commuted, and DeSalvo was killed in prison, so there is no one who can confirm or deny who killed Goldberg. Listeners will enjoy trying to figure out the identity of the murderer while hearing from those who knew DeSalvo, Smith, and Goldberg, people who give each of these three major characters a face and a personality. Well read by Kevin Conway, this is a wonderful book that should be added to all collections. Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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