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House of Evil: The Indiana Torture Slaying (Anglais) Poche – 1 mai 2008

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House of Evil In the heart of Indianapolis in the mid 1960's, through a twist of fate and fortune, a young girl came to live with a mother and her seven children. What began as a temporary childcare arrangement between Sylvia Likens' parents and Gertrude Baniszewski turned into a crime that would haunt cops, prosecutors, and a community for decades to come. Full description

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Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 256 pages
  • Editeur : St Martin's Press (1 mai 2008)
  • Langue : Anglais, Allemand, Français, Italien, Espagnol, Danois, Hindi, Chinois, Japonais, Coréen, Gallois
  • ISBN-10: 0312946996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312946999
  • Dimensions du produit: 10,7 x 1,7 x 17,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Format: Poche Achat vérifié
Ce livre est écrit par John DEAN, journaliste. Il raconte un fait divers tragique qui a secoué les USA en 1965 : le sort épouvantable de Sylvia LIKENS, adolescente de 16 ans, enfermée et attachée dans une cave et morte des suites des tortures et sévices infligés par la famille chez qui ses parents l'avaient placée, ainsi que sa petite soeur, car ils étaient forains et gens du voyage.
Je ne raconterais pas les détails pour ne pas heurter les personnes les plus sensibles, on trouve tous les détails dans ce livre, ainsi que sur de nombreux sites internet, et 2 films ont été réalisés, tous les 2 sortis en 2007 : "An American Crime" avec Ellen PAGE ("Juno") directement tiré du fait divers, et "Girl Next Door", adaptation du roman du même nom de Jack KETCHUM, largement inspiré de ce fait divers tragique.
Pour en revenir au livre de John DEAN, livre sur lequel porte mon commentaire, je tiens à signaler qu'il est écrit dans un anglais assez facile à comprendre.
Par-contre, l'imprimerie n'a pas très bien fait son travail, il y a de quelques lignes mal imprimées, avec une surdose d'encre qui donne un effet de lettres en gras à la limite de l'illisible tellement il y a d'encre. Mais on arrive à lire les mots, quelques fois difficilement mais ils sont lisibles.
Je conseillerais donc ce livre aux personnes qui voudraient améliorer leur anglais et qui sont intéressées par ce fait divers tragique. Avertissement tout de même, je le déconseille aux personnes sensibles car les détails qui y sont exposés sont à la limite du supportable (mais ce sont malheureusement les vrais détails).
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 105 commentaires
106 internautes sur 108 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Same story with minor amendments 2 septembre 2008
Par Azuree Riordan - Publié sur
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
I once owned the reprint of this book, but was so disturbed by what I read that I very scarcely read it and eventually gave it to someone who needed it for research this past spring. Last month I decided to give it another chance and bought this new paperback version. For those who have not heard this story, let me tell you something: This tale of the sadistic side of human nature is just as horrific the second or third or tenth time around as it is the first. To this day, my head spins and my stomach churns as I think of the unspeakable horror that sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens endured at the hands of her monsterous caretaker, her equally heartless children, and their demented friends. This is a story that in four years time has NEVER left my memory and probably never will. If you do decide to read about this, prepare to be shocked as this story is told with a terrifying realism that should only exist in our nightmares.

As for the differences between this publication and the original, this book is in fact the same book, except that: 1. This book is a traditional paperback book as opposed to the copy with the original red vellum cover (hence, the steep price tag for the latter); 2. There is an added foreword as well as an updated afterword; and 3. The photos have been moved to the very middle of the book as opposed to the random placement in the original, including two or three never-before-seen pictures. There are also some very minor amendments such as the name of the song that Sylvia sang at night and the change in spelling of her older sister's name ('Dianna' as opposed to 'Diana'). Since this is more or less the same publication, and neither better nor worse than the first copy, I'll give it the same rating as I did originally: 4 stars.
69 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Just the Facts, Ma'am 20 janvier 2009
Par Shanna McQueen - Publié sur
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is undoubtedly interesting and well researched and explores, sometimes in horrifying detail, the lengthy torture and eventual death of 16 year old Sylvia Likens in 1965. However, as other reviews of this manuscript have commented, there is little psychological exploration of the motives of 37 year old Gertrude Banisweski to orchestrate and encourage the kind physical pain both she and her children inflicted upon Sylvia in the short months that Sylvia was a boarder at the Baniszewski home. Then again, I am not certain there could be or that certain forms of sociopathic behavior really need explaining.

During the time that Sylvia Likens and her sister, Jenny, lived with Gertrude Baniszewski, both were subjected to repeated verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Soon, however, Gertrude focussed her rage upon Sylvia. What is most horrifying is that this wicked woman encouraged and incited additional violence using her own children and other children from the neighborhood as pawns in her vicious game. I must say, it is REALLY unclear as to why Gertrude did focus so much hatred and rage upon a child she hardly knew. The theory cited by the prosecuting attorneys is that Gertrude was jealous of Sylvia's beauty and the promise her life held. Perhaps this is true, but if one is hoping for a clear motive that meets the criteria for basic understanding (i.e. money, love, or revenge), there simply is not one.

While the court did find it necessary to evaluate Gertrude and her 17 year old daughter for legal sanity, Gertrude was never fully psychologically evaluated. Her 17 year old daughter, Paula, was. The psychologist noted that Paula's mental functioning, emotional immaturity, and violent behavior were consistent with that of children reared in homes where "emotional neglect" is the norm. It is known that Gertrude, as a single mother, could not afford to feed her 7 children. The children regularly fought over food and Sylvia was once severely beaten for eating a sandwich given to her by her oldest sister during a visit. It is also known that Gertrude was heavily addicted to prescription pain medication and regularly spent her days in bed. The children had little superivision and Paula was expected to perform many of the duties that Gertrude avoided.

When Gertrude turned her deadly rage upon Sylvia, I do not find it difficult to believe that several of her children also found Sylvia a convenient target for their own unexpressed rage born of a childhood rife with abuse and neglect. The most basic needs of the Baniszewski children were never met with any consistency and they, in turn, were angry and hurt. These feelings were unleashed upon the only person available to them to hurt in return. Still, it is shocking that children as young as 10 could gleefully watch and participate in the kind of extended torture to which young Sylvia was subjected.

There is some powerful evidence that Gertrude was also having a sexual relationship with a neighborhood boy, 14 year old Richard Hobbs. Though neither admitted they were sexually involved, Richard did state that he was a "good friend" of Gertrude's and regularly visited her home after school. He also told police investigators that Gertrude had once "danced" for him in the living room of her home. (To see photographs of Gertrude, who appeared at least 10 years older than her chronological age of 37, this image is both laughable and repulsive.) If Gertrude manipulated or exercised any psychological power over Richard, it was manifisted in his unflinching willingness to carve into the flesh of Sylvia's stomach, at Gertrude's direction, the words "I am a prostitute and proud of it." (There is horrifying photograph of Sylvia Likens battered body in which these words are clearly visible.)

In short, Gertrude and 3 of her children, along with Richard Hobbs and another neighborhood boy, were all conivicted of murder. Eventually paroled, Getrude changed her name and lived in solitude until her death in 1990 from lung cancer, the result of years of habitual chain-smoking. The parole of Gertrude leaves one cold and feeling as though justice was not served. Richard Hobbs, however, was not so fortunate. At trail, Richard admitted to the jury during questioning that he had "no feeling" at the time he carved words into Sylvia's flesh with a hot wire. While Richard attempted to later soften the blow of this admission by stating that he now felt remorse for his actions, I find this difficult to believe. He died at the age of 21 in prison from cancer. (I suppose Richard got what was coming to him from a higher court. Sometimes justice is swift and harsh.)

There was considerable discussion among the public about why Sylvia and her sister never ran away from the Baniszewski home. Effectively abandoned by their own parents who were, by all accounts, poverty stricken and shiftless, where exactly were the girls supposed to run? While their parents worked for a travelng carnival, the girls were left in the care of a woman their father hardly knew and never felt it necessary to know better. There was nowhere to go and no one to run to.

In short, I do recomend HOUSE OF EVIL to those who appreciate True Crime. But there are many questions that will never be answered.
31 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Don't let this happen again 12 janvier 2009
Par Luis Pumarada - Publié sur
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
I bought the book after seeing the movie based on it--An American Crime--because what it showed was next to impossible and I wanted to read the full account. The crime, crimes actually because allowing such cruelty to happen was almost as bad, were much worse than the movie dared to show. Reading this well written, absorbing report and seeing the photos of the body, the house, and the persons involved is hard and revolting. However, it will make us really aware that such things do happen, that evil persons live right in our neighborhood and not appear different from us, that government and church may fail to protect, that parents can be bad, and that we can help if we denounce anything suspicious.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Very well written. 5 novembre 2009
Par S. Alred - Publié sur
Format: Poche
This book is well written. You can vividly imagine things that happened. He explains it very well. It is very sad. The one thing that stuck out to me is the update in the book. Almost everyone involved died young. Makes you think justice was truely served for this young girl from someone other than the judicial system.
28 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Skip This One 24 mars 2009
Par Dan Bogaty - Publié sur
Format: Poche
John Dean's HOUSE OF EVIL is the story of the 1965 torture/murder of Sylvia Likens in Indianapolis by a pack of wild children, ages 10 to 17. The director of this almost incomprehensible cruelty was Gertrude Baniszewski who was the mother of some of the torturers and a highly active participant herself. This story of pure evil carried out against the background of financial and emotional poverty of the Baniszewski family clearly cried out for an in depth, well written, and compelling telling. And today, after the original publication of HOUSE OF EVIL in 1966 and its reissue in 2008, the cry of "Please tell my story competently" is still eminently appropriate.

Dean's writing is just purely bad. It is choppy and confused, with sentences that lead nowhere, references never followed up on, and confusing chronology. It is just a poorly written jumble with absolutely no narrative flow. The only positive in the writing - and it is really more just the absence of a negative - is that Dean, with one glaring exception ("The Rev. Roy Julian...spoke with a clipped, precise voice that resounded with Godliness") - eschews the tortured similes and melodrama so prevalent in bad true crime writing.

Far more disappointing is the fact that there appears to have been no research whatsoever attempted in the writing of HOUSE OF EVIL. Dean was a newspaperman who reported this story as it was unfolding, and what he appears to have done here is to simply rework his articles into a book format. This provides the reader with the day to day occurrences of the arrests and trials with which Dean would have been familiar. And he obviously also had as much access as he needed to trial transcripts and arrest records.
But the best true crime includes substantial background material on the principals. What Dean has done here might be moderately acceptable if it were well written, but in order to be more than a glorified rush-to-print newspaper article, we need to know what made Gertrude Baniszewski the way she was. We need research into the dynamics of her marriage. We need extensive history on the Likens family. But in order to provide this kind of information Dean would have had to do a lot of groundwork; conduct interviews; search old school, social service, medical and police records.

In his preface, Dean attempts to explain away this lack of depth by saying that although he has received criticism for not explaining the motives of the people involved in the case, he is not a psychologist and was not asked by his publisher to be one. This is to say the least disingenuous. I certainly am not interested in Dean's conclusions about the players' motives. What I do want is extensive and professionally reported background information so I can try to understand those motives on my own. What Dean's statement means to me is that from the beginning, HOUSE OF EVIL was not intended as an in depth work, but the fact that Dean has reached this goal - that he has succeeded in writing a superficial book - does not seem worthy of praise.

The only reason I am not rating this book one star is that - except for the Reverend's voice resounding with Godliness fiasco - Dean's writing is not actively irritating. I have read worse over the past few years.
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