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The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox [Format Kindle]

Nina Burleigh

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Revue de presse

"Clear-eyed, sweeping, honest and tough, Nina Burleigh's autopsy of one of the most compelling criminal dramas of our time sets a standard that any of the other other chroniclers of this tale have yet to meet. The story of Amanda Knox is part Salem witch trial, part cultural misunderstanding of an epic sort, and part vendetta. Burleigh found the universal elements of a junior year abroad that shook the world, and she brings them home without sentimentality nor an axe to grind. This is what long-form narrative journalism is all about." --Tim Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time

"THE FATAL GIFT OF BEAUTY is the real, the true, and the complete story of the Amanda Knox case. It will draw you into a nightmare world of murder, conspiracy, corruption, false accusations, police incompetence, abuse, lies, and manipulations. Nina Burleigh is a first-rate journalist who presents a meticulously researched and reported account, with every fact documented and sourced. It is an essential read for anyone interested in this case. More than a murder story, is a look into the dark and complex soul of Italy itself."--Douglas Preston, co-author of The Monster of Florence

"Finally, the twisted tale of Amanda Knox, the all-American college girl convicted of murder in Italy, gets the telling this extraordinary story deserves. Nina Burleigh's immersion in Italian cultural history provides a context that allows us--first the first time--to understand how this international miscarriage of justice could have occurred. Stirring, compelling, and in the end a tragic tale worthy of Italian opera." --Joe McGinniss, author of Fatal Vision, The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro and The Rogue

"The global media, in its frenzied coverage of the sensational Amanda Knox murder trial, overlooked what Nina Burleigh has skillfully unearthed and analyzed--a compelling chain of evidence, subtle levels of significance.  Her telling of the tale is clearly the only one that gets it right."--John Berendt, author of The City of Falling Angels and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

“A fascinating book about a beautiful American girl in Italy and how she was prosecuted for a murder she may not have committed. It is also a study in sexism and criminal law--especially in Italy. Horrifyingly readable.”-- Erica Jong

"Nina Burleigh has cut through the confusion of conflicting and often inaccurate news accounts of the Amanda Knox murder case and given us a lucid, fair-minded account of the case. She shows, quite convincingly, that Knox and her co-defendant have been victims of a serious miscarriage of justice. Perhaps more importantly, she explains why, showing the case to be the product of cultural misunderstanding between Italy and the U.S."--Alexander Stille, author of The Sack of Rome

"[In] this powerful example of narrative non-fiction...Burleigh, who parses how the Knox trial was perhaps tainted, still presents a fair and unbiased portrait of a girl adrift in a foreign legal system and a culture rife with preconceptions about young American women." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Burleigh’s propulsive narrative and the many unsettling aspects of the case make this a standout among recent true-crime titles."—Kirkus Reviews

“Journalist/author Burleigh (e.g., Unholy Business) reconstructs a murder case that has proved to be about much more than murder.”—Library Journal

"A fascinating book about a beautiful American girl in Italy and how she was prosecuted for a murder she may not have committed.  It is also a study in sexism and criminal law--especially in Italy. Horrifyingly readable." --Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying

“Savvy true-crime reporting combined with a headline-hogging murder trial.”—Booklist

Présentation de l'éditeur

   The sexually violent murder of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007, became an international sensation when one of Kercher’s housemates, twenty-year-old Seattle native Amanda Knox, as well as her Italian boyfriend and a troubled local man Knox said she “vaguely” knew, was arrested and charged with the murder. The Fatal Gift of Beauty is award-winning author and journalist Nina Burleigh’s mesmerizing literary investigation of the murder, the controversial prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of Knox, the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and clash of cultures in one of central -Italy’s most beloved cities.

      When Perugia authorities concluded that the murder was part of a dark, twisted rite—a “sex game”—led by the American with an uncanny resemblance to Perugia’s Madonna, they unleashed a media frenzy from Rome to London to New York and Seattle. The story drew an international cult obsessed with “Foxy Knoxy,” a pretty honor student on a junior year abroad, who either woke up one morning into a nightmare of superstition and misogyny—the dark side of Italy—or participated in something unspeakable.

      The investigation begins in the old stone cottage overlooking bucolic olive groves where Kercher’s body was found in her locked bedroom. It winds through the shadowy, arched alleys of Perugia, a city of art that is also a magnet for tens of thousands of students who frequent its bars, clubs, and drug bazaar on the steps of the Duomo. It climaxes in an up-close account of Italy’s dysfunctional legal system, as the trial slowly unfolds at the town’s Tribunale, and the prosecution’s thunderous final appeal to God before the quivering girl defendant resembles a scene from the Inquisition. 

      To reveal what actually happened on that terrible night after Halloween, Nina Burleigh lived in Perugia, attended the trial, and corresponded with the incarcerated defendants. She also delved deeply into the history, secrets, and customs of Perugia, renowned equally for its Etruscan tunnels, early Christian art, medieval sorcerers, and pagan roots.

      The Fatal Gift of Beauty is a thoughtful, compelling examination of an enduring mystery, an ancient, storied place, and a disquieting facet of Italian culture: an obsession with female eroticism. It is also an acute window into the minds and personalities of the accused killers and of the conservative Italian magistrate striving to make sense of an inexplicable act of evil. But at its core is an indelible portrait of Amanda Knox, the strangely childlike, enigmatic beauty, whose photogenic face became the focal point of international speculation about the shadow side of youth and freedom.

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3995 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 370 pages
  • Editeur : Broadway Books (2 août 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004KPM1EO
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  • Composition améliorée: Activé
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  105 commentaires
133 internautes sur 145 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Engrossing and Highly Intelligent Page-Turner Hits The Mark 4 septembre 2011
Par Jim From Chicago - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I purchased Nina Burleigh's fine book having only limited knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the the tragic, horrific murder of Meredith Kercher, an English exchange student studying in Perugia, Italy, on a prestigious ERASMUS scholarship.

I can tell you unequivocally that I'm glad I bought and read this book. It is an outstanding piece of investigative writing containing a thorough, credible analysis of a most troubling series of events. It is also a damn fine page-turner of a read.

With only limited exposure to media coverage of the murder, ensuing investigation and trials, I was very puzzled and troubled by the case. I wanted to know more about what could possibly have driven two or three persons to commit such an unspeakable act. Was it drugs, sex, ritualistic pagan deeds, or something else? The murder, and ensuing police investigation and trials, were portrayed in a made-for-TV movie I saw recently and which upset me greatly. I was at first very angry about Amanda Knox and her boy friend, especially as they were portrayed in the TV movie. They struck me as trivial, hash-addled bone-heads, possibly murderers to boot. The movie, however, was low-grade in quality and lacking in credible analysis. I could not put my finger on it, but something about the entire case didn't feel "right" to me. Unsatisfied, and in after a restless a night or two following the TV movie on the case, I bought Nina Burleigh's book.

Nina offers a very thorough, well-researched, and provocative analysis of the case and players at all levels: the scene in Perugia, the university town in which the murder occurred; the victim and her flat mates; the three acccused and convicted of the crime; the Italian magistrate responsible for both investigating and trying the case; the police and crime lab personnel; the Italian legal system; the lawyers on all sides; the witnesses; and affected family members.

The book addresses the importance of context in this case. Context is crucial to understanding what happened and the likely reasons why each of the events along the way played out as they did. Absent an understaning of context the events in Perugia are so puzzling as to be beyond comprehension. That is why I slept fitfully after viewing the TV movie. The case made no sense to me.

The author does an outstanding job detailing and dissecting the context of the case. She includes discussion of how Ms. Knox's strange behavior informed the investigation, the motivations driving the prosecutor, the 3 accused of the crime, the media, and other, key players in the saga. The reader is thereby armed with all of the tools necessary to understand what went down the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The author also skillfull reviews and critiques the tangible evidence, explaining in detail the strengths as well as the apparent weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

Reading this book helped me understand what most likely happened when Meredith Kercher was murdered. One is able to more readily comprehend the ensuing investigation and the culminating trials. The author's discussion of related topics central to context, including the still evolving role of women in Italian culture, the impact of religion on the case, and differences between the Italian and American justice systems, provide valuable insights. The author skillfully demonstrates in chapter after chapter her own gravitas as a writer and analyst.

Having practiced law for over 33 years in the United States, I can tell you from experience a case that makes no sense is every lawyer's worst dream. Thanks to Nina for writing a book that illuminates a most vexing case, one that is tragic on many levels.

We can only hope that justice will be done in the still-pending Knox and Sollecito appeals.
70 internautes sur 83 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Well written and interesting, but... 31 octobre 2011
Par M.A. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I get the feeling that Nina Burleigh doesn't much like Amanda Knox. In an interview with Red Room, she was asked to list five words describing the girl. Burleigh chose "Childlike. Naïve. Passive. Callous. Oblivious." Not a redeeming adjective in the bunch. In "The Fatal Gift of Beauty," Burleigh describes Amanda as narcissistic, loud, jealous of the more sophisticated Meredith Kercher, and someone with "father issues." Not especially even or balanced (though to her credit, the author does dispel myths that Amanda's sexual history was over-the-top and occasionally almost sympathizes with the girl). However, despite the fact that Burleigh seems as annoyed by Amanda as Meredith's British friends were, she presents a compelling, logical, measured case for the young woman's innocence. And she does it in a well-written, well researched, interesting narrative. For that, Burleigh should be commended.

I went back and forth, trying to decide if this was a three- or four-star book. (I wish 3.5 were a choice.) On the one hand, it's interesting, a really good read, and includes some fantastic research. On the other, it's sensationalist in parts and no more unbiased than the Foxy Knoxy articles in the Daily Mail, the Knox/Mellas family's glowing portrayals (which, for the record, don't actually bother me; your mom and dad should always think you're wonderful), or the British girls' slams. As much as I've read about this case and its central figure, I'm still baffled by the fact that Amanda Knox seems to provoke such extreme reactions in people. Maybe it's simply because the situation she found herself in was so extreme. Maybe it really is because she was so "outside the norm," and since I live in the liberal, hippie West myself, she doesn't seem strange to me at all. Regardless, I suspect that more than a she-devil, narcissist, or angel child, Amanda was just a normal 20-year-old, liberal, American college kid: compassionate, self-absorbed, loving, insecure, adventurous, impatient, curious, funny, melodramatic, smart, and trying to find her way in a world that excited, scared, and at times probably angered or irritated her. I'm still waiting for the book that portrays her through that kind of realistic lens.

One more thing, because others have commented on it: Under most circumstances, I would agree that bringing Meredith's sexual history or drug use into a story about who killed her would be irrelevant and appalling. But under these circumstances, when the press and prosecutors made such a point of completely demonizing one girl and venerating the other, learning that, when it came to sex and drugs, the gulf between Amanda and Meredith wasn't as wide as prosecutors would like us to think is very, very interesting. And it makes me wonder yet again, as I have many times: What if Meredith's Italian boyfriend had stayed in Perugia that long holiday weekend and Amanda's had left town? What if Amanda had been home and was killed and Meredith had found the body? Would Meredith's British reserve have saved her? Would her father's press contacts have helped, and would we vilify him for using them? Would the British consulate have swooped in, or would it have left her high and dry like the Americans did for Amanda? And most importantly, would we be talking today about that poor British girl and her Italian boyfriend who were railroaded, manipulated, and locked up for no reason instead of the American one?
36 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Gothic Tragedy... 11 octobre 2011
Par Joan C. James - Publié sur Amazon.com
I found Ms Burleigh's depiction of how traditional misogyny and the mysterious faith-shrouded history of Perugia, including references to ancient paganism, conservative religious dogma, interrogation techniques of the Inquisition, conspiracy theories and even the mafia all could have played into the psychology of this tragic crime absolutely fascinating. Her description of this picturesque, Umbrian hilltop city with its medieval palaces, winding streets and eerie maze of alleys gives a strong gothic flavor to this story.

Amanda Knox, a naive, scholarly, slightly "hippy-flavored" young woman went to Perugia to steep herself in Italian culture and to become proficient in the language. Sadly for her and just two short months after she arrived in Perugia, she got caught in a Kafkaesque web spun by the Perugian authorities, specifically the pathological prosecutor, Guiliano Mignini who controlled her journey through the perilous labyrinth that is the Perugian justice system.

Ms Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito became the second and third victims in a burglary that turned into the brutal, bloody rape and murder of Meredith Kercher, a beautiful British Erasmus Scholar and Amanda's friend and roommate. Despite the fact that all evidence pointed to Rudy Guede, a knife wielding transient with a history of break-ins and burglary as the sole perpetrator, Amanda and Raffaele were tried, convicted and imprisoned along with Guede. Their conviction was based on the sexual fantasies and satanic cult obsessions of prosecutor Mignini as well as the false forensic evidence of Patrizia Stefanoni and the collaboration of the trial judge and the Perugian police.

I do disagree with Ms Burleigh's take on the Knox family. Fifty percent of marriages in the US end in divorce so I don't really see Curt and Edda's divorce as being relevant to this case. Although there may have been stress for the kids and some bitter feelings, they seem to have made the best of it and the girls from both sides were being raised as close friends. I think if I were in trouble in a foreign country and needed support, I could not find better than Curt Knox or Edda and Chris Mellas. I also don't buy that Amanda was jealous of Meredith. They may not have been BFF's, but I think they were casually fond of one another and neither had particularly negative feelings about the other.

This book was written and published prior to the conclusion of the appeals process. It's certainly apparent to me that Ms Burleigh believes Amanda and Raffaele to be innocent and they have since been declared completely "innocent" (as opposed to "acquitted for lack of evidence") by the appeals court's presiding judge and jury, and have been release from prison.

I recommend this book and if you have further questions about this case, you should also read Bruce Fisher's "Injustice in Perugia" and for a layman's understanding of the forensic case (or lack of it), Dr. Mark Waterbury's "The Monster of Perugia" is very helpful. I also recommend "The Monster of Florence" by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi for a chilling portrait of the obsessed mind of Guiliano Migini.
45 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An indispensable resource 21 août 2011
Par Dr. C. D. Connaughton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
This is a remarkably well researched, informed, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book. There is a wealth of fascinating background information on Italy, Perugia and its culture, the defendants, and the prosecutors. A lot of this information was new to me although I have read eight other books on this tragic murder and the subsequent trial.

The work deserves to be regarded as an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the case, along with 'Murder in Italy' by Candace Dempsey, 'Injustice in Perugia' by Bruce Fisher, and 'The Monster of Perugia' by Mark Waterbury.

The book is so well researched that it sometimes reads a bit like a doctoral thesis, but a highly readable and interesting one. Ms Burleigh does indeed present a thesis in the book regarding the dynamics behind the prosecution and the verdict.

It is clear from many sources that a terrible miscarriage of justice has taken place and that two young innocent people, Amanda and Raffaele, have been wrongly convicted.

I hope that this will be rectified very soon.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Convincing and Well-researched 6 juillet 2014
Par Cerinthe Major - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I did not know much about the case before I started the book. I knew that Knox and Sollecito had been accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong, and that some Americans who had followed the trial more closely than I had felt an injustice had been done. I have no reason to believe the book withholds inculpatory evidence except for the facts that Knox was convicted and re-convicted and Kercher's family believes she did it. I take Kercher's family's belief very seriously, since they more than anyone would have an interest making sure the correct killer was behind bars. (Even someone falsely accused more wants to prove her innocence than find the guilty party, except insofar as finding the guilty party establishes her innocence.) Aside from that hesitation, Burleigh makes a strong case that there was indeed a miscarriage of justice.

The book clearly lays out the case, and it is almost impossible not to believe Burleigh's conclusion that not only is there reasonable doubt that Knox murdered Kercher, but it is beyond reasonable doubt that she is innocent.

The book's particular strength is in explaining to Americans just how strange Knox's behavior was according to Italian mores, and thus how Italians could be so convinced that she did it. Knox's behavior is even a bit strange to Americans, but I have known a couple of hippie types (including one from Seattle who went to UW and was very beautiful in a no-make-up way) who are like Knox: slightly tomboyish; flirtatious without realizing the full implications of their flirtations; extremely afraid of having or seeing strong negative emotions like grief, fear, and anger; slow to understand the range of emotions others are experiencing. Burleigh employs helpful comparisons to explain certain things, like how people in the U.K. see her as sort of a Casey Anthony: a beautiful unrepentant party girl. Similarly, the book does a good job explaining how Italian views on women (and, for that matter, international views on women) indirectly caused Knox's arrest and conviction, as well as the celebrity her case received - a modern day witch trial.

Another strength of the book is her cool yet sympathetic view of Knox. She explains much of Knox's behavior as far from atypical for a college student. I'm a professor and spend most of my days with 20-year-olds, and I agree. Yet she hardly seems totally won over by Knox, and her depiction of an immature and emotionally unsophisticated woman not only makes her defense of Knox more plausible, it provides an explanation for how her arrest and conviction could have occurred.

I would have appreciated a deeper understanding of Kercher, who comes across as something of a cipher. I understand that the author didn't have the same access to Kercher's family, but one would think that somewhere there was information she could have accessed.

Overall, one of the best true crime books I've read, and one that gives a broader cultural context for the reaction to the crime.
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