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Home » Books » History » Military History » United States » State & Local » Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ,

"No One Helped"

Kitty Genovese, New York City, and the Myth of Urban Apathy

By Marcia M. Gallo

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Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 02 April 2015
In "No One Helped" Marcia M. Gallo examines one of America's most infamous true-crime stories: the 1964 rape and murder of Catherine "Kitty" Genovese in a middle-class neighborhood of Queens, New York. Front-page reports in the New York Times incorrectly identified thirty-eight indifferent witnesses to the crime, fueling fears of apathy and urban decay. Genovese's life, including her lesbian relationship, also was obscured in media accounts of the crime. Fifty years later, the story of Kitty Genovese continues to circulate in popular culture. Although it is now widely known that there were far fewer actual witnesses to the crime than was reported in 1964, the moral of the story continues to be urban apathy. "No One Helped" traces the Genovese story's development and resilience while challenging the myth it created. "No One Helped" places the conscious creation and promotion of the Genovese story within a changing urban environment. Gallo reviews New York's shifting racial and economic demographics and explores post-World War II examinations of conscience regarding the horrors of Nazism. These were important factors in the uncritical acceptance of the story by most media, political leaders, and the public despite repeated protests from Genovese's Kew Gardens neighbors at their inaccurate portrayal. The crime led to advances in criminal justice and psychology, such as the development of the 911 emergency system and numerous studies of bystander behaviors. Gallo emphasizes that the response to the crime also led to increased community organizing as well as feminist campaigns against sexual violence. Even though the particulars of the sad story of her death were distorted, Kitty Genovese left an enduring legacy of positive changes to the urban environment.

Table of Contents

Prologue: A New York Story 1. Urban Villages in the Big City 2. Hidden in Plain Sight 3. Thirty-Eight Witnesses 4. The Metropolitan Brand of Apathy 5. The City Responds 6. Surviving New City Streets 7. Challenging the Story of Urban Apathy Epilogue: Kitty, Fifty Years Later Notes Selected Bibliography Index

About the Author

Marcia M. Gallo is Associate Professor of History at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the author of Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement.


"Several books and numerous articles have marked the 50th anniversary of the infamousmurder of Kitty Genovese on the night of March 13, 1964 in the borough of Queens in NewYork City. Marcia M. Gallo offers a valuable addition to this literature in a well-written,intelligent, comprehensive, and provocative new account of the often-told story. I believe itwill be of interest to a broad range of readers, including social psychologists, other socialscientists, and to lay and professional readers interested in any of the many questionsraised by the case for policymaking, journalism, social planning, and more."-Robert Levine, PsycCRITIQUES (December 2015) "Gallo [is]successful in her quest to restore Genovese's 'personhood.'In a chapter evocatively titled 'Hidden in Plain Sight,'Gallo does a wonderful job placing Genovese within the context of her times as a vibrant, successful, homosexual woman. Gallo's interviews with Genovese's lover, Mary Ann Zielonko, and some of Genovese's friends add poignant and touching details to a life cut tragically short."-Mariah Adin, H-Net Reviews (April 2016) "Gallo's insightful and important book about the Genovese murder is both a provocative history of the ways apathy continues to challenge our popular memory of social activism and an engaging history of the postwar years that highlights the intersection of a range of social issues and political problems. It deserves a wide audience."-Randy D. McBee, Journal of American History "In 'No One Helped,' Marcia M. Gallo tells you why everything you've heard about Kitty Genovese and her death is wrong, how this came to be, and why it matters. In this valuable book, which sheds light on crime, the media, and New York City, we meet Genovese not as a victim but as a fierce and fascinating woman whose story can inspire people to live boldly and help people in peril."-Robert W. Snyder, Rutgers University, Newark, author of Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York City "'No One Helped' is a provocative, timely, and important book. Marcia M. Gallo has fully conceptualized and explained the textures of the various communities involved in the Kitty Genovese story: the city of New York, the borough of Queens, the neighborhood of Kew Gardens, the bar where Genovese worked, and the nascent lesbian and gay community, among others. This is a remarkable story, and Gallo does fine work making visible the substance of the lives of the main players in this saga."-Leisa Meyer, Class of 1964 Distinguished Associate Professor of American Studies and History, College of William & Mary, author of Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women's Army Corps during World War II "Marcia M. Gallo's historically narrative approach to the Kitty Genovese murder is clear and accessible. Gallo's admirably balanced treatment draws on media coverage, oral history, social scientific literature, and changing memories of the crime."-Karen Halttunen, University of Southern California, author of Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination

EAN: 9780801452789
ISBN: 0801452783
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Dimensions: 23.19 x 16.46 x 1.88 centimetres (0.43 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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