lundi 22 mars 2010

If you read only one book on the Knox case...



The local media (with the exception of Andrea Vogt's reporting for the Seattle PI, from Italy) has been just appallingly bad in its treatment of this case. Indeed, the US media has been nearly as bad. The local talking heads, in lieu of any real reporting, just read press releases handed to them by the PR firm hired to mislead the American public. Blame it on budget cuts if you will. But I say if you don't have the money to pay reporters on the ground then you should stick to covering local things and leave the complex international stuff to the pros. The fact that one of the three people convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007 is from Seattle is irrelevant.

In her book on the case, Newsweek and Daily Beast reporter Barbie Nadeau corrects the hundreds of errors that have been committed by the local media, for anyone who is willing to take the time to read her short and well-written book.

I was going to write a brief review to go with this recommendation, but Tina Brown's introduction (in the Daily Beast) fills the bill quite nicely. An excerpt:

Barbie Latza Nadeau, who has been reporting from Italy for Newsweek since 1997, arrived in Perugia the day after Meredith’s battered body was discovered in the house she shared with three other girls. A resident of Rome, fluent in Italian, Nadeau (who also happened to have been married in Knox’s hometown of Seattle) was uniquely suited to grasp all the factual and cultural nuances of this confounding case.

And she pursued them zealously. Over the next two years, she attended almost every session of Knox’s murder trial, read the entire 10,000-page legal dossier in Italian, and invested countless coffees, dinners, and glasses of prosecco in cultivating cops, lawyers, judges, witnesses, jurors, friends, and families. Nadeau’s regular posts on The Daily Beast during the 11-month trial established her as an authoritative voice on the case—with appearances on CNN, CBS, NPR, the BBC, and NBC’s Dateline. But her pieces also got her blackballed by the Knox family because she declined to toe the line they force-fed to a U.S. media eager to get them on-camera: that Amanda was a total innocent railroaded by a rogue prosecutor in a corrupt justice system.

Daily Beast readers knew otherwise, thanks to Nadeau’s thorough and balanced reporting. But her objective dispatches also earned her the enmity of ferocious pro-Knox bloggers, who hurled insults and threats, hoping to discredit her professionally. Instead, her reputation has been enhanced by her diligent pursuit of a story that most of the U.S. media, including The New York Times, badly misread.

Barbie Latza Nadeau’s sensitive, clear-eyed, and compelling examination of a perplexing case is now a book—the second in our provocative Beast Book series—that brings to American readers the first full account of this baffling case. The book finally gets behind the impassive “angel face” (as the Italian tabs sneeringly called the defendant) to find the real Amanda Knox. Mining diaries, social-networking sites, exclusive interviews, and telling moments in the courtroom, Nadeau paints the first full portrait of a quirky young woman who is neither the “she-devil” presented to an Italian jury nor the blameless ingénue her parents believe her to be. What Nadeau shows is that Amanda Knox is, in fact, a 21st-century all-American girl—a serious student with plans and passions—but is also a thrill-seeking young woman who loves sex and enjoys drugs and who, in the wrong environment with the wrong people, develops a dark side that takes her over and tips her into the abyss.