Geneal­o­gy of a Mur­der: Four Gen­er­a­tions, Three Fam­i­lies, One Fate­ful Night

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

Inde­pen­dence Day week­end, 1960: a young cop is mur­dered in Stam­ford, Con­necti­cut. More than six­ty years lat­er, jour­nal­ist Lisa Belkin explores the paths of the three men whose lives col­lide on that sum­mer night.

How did one grand­son of immi­grants become the cop, one his killer, and one her step­fa­ther — a doc­tor who inad­ver­tent­ly set this shoot­ing into motion? Her can­vas is large, span­ning the first half of the 20th cen­tu­ry: immi­gra­tion, reli­gion, prison reform, med­ical exper­i­ments, the nature/​nurture debate, even the infa­mous Leopold and Loeb case, and his­to­ry of motor­cy­cle racing.

It is also inti­mate: look­ing into the work­ings of the mind and heart, as each fam­i­ly — one Irish, one Ital­ian, one Jew­ish — expe­ri­ence the obsta­cles thrown in the way of immi­grants pur­su­ing the Amer­i­can Dream”.

Fol­low­ing these threads to their trag­ic out­come in July 1960 and beyond, Belkin exam­ines the coin­ci­dences and choic­es that led to one fate­ful night. The result is a bril­liant­ly researched, nar­ra­tive­ly inge­nious sto­ry, which illu­mi­nates how we shape his­to­ry even as we are shaped by it.

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