While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders (Epub)


Ebook Info

  • Published: 2016
  • Number of pages: 336 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 0.42 MB
  • Authors: Eli Sanders


On a summer night in 2009, three lives intersected in one American neighborhood. Two people newly in love—Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper, who spent many years trying to find themselves and who eventually found each other—and a young man on a dangerous psychological descent: Isaiah Kalebu, age twenty-three, the son of a distant, authoritarian father and a mother with a family history of mental illness. All three paths forever altered by a violent crime, all three stories a wake-up call to the system that failed to see the signs.

In this riveting, probing, compassionate account of a murder in Seattle, Eli Sanders, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper coverage of the crime, offers a deeply reported portrait in microcosm of the state of mental health care in this country—as well as an inspiring story of love and forgiveness. Culminating in Kalebu’s dangerous slide toward violence—observed by family members, police, mental health workers, lawyers, and judges, but stopped by no one—While the City Slept is the story of a crime of opportunity and of the string of missed opportunities that made it possible. It shows what can happen when a disturbed member of society repeatedly falls through the cracks, and in the tradition of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, is an indelible, human-level story, brilliantly told, with the potential to inspire social change.

User’s Reviews

Review One of Library Journal’s 10 Best Books of the YearOne of Mother Jones’s 20 Notable Books of the YearOne of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Best Books of the Year“Expertly crafted . . . [Sanders’] evenhanded reporting and emotional commitment to the story make for gripping reading.” —The Washington Post“A heartbreaking—and compelling—story from every angle . . . Americans have long been fascinated by true-crime stories, from Truman Capote’s 1966 masterpiece, In Cold Blood, through this year’s binge-worthy TV series Making a Murderer. The bad guy is always mesmerizing. What makes a person go to that dark side? Sanders works hard to provide the answers. . . . [He] does a terrific job of telling the life stories of all three principal characters.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer“[A] disturbing, sometimes-horrifying story of true crime and justice only partially served.” —The Huffington Post, “11 Books That Grab You from Page One” “Inspiring . . . From a harrowing crime, it draws powerful lessons for our mental health and criminal justice systems that can’t be ignored.” —Sister Helen Prejean, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Man Walking“An arresting narrative . . . Certainly a story worth telling with lessons well worth learning. . . . It’s heartbreaking all the way around.” —The Seattle Times “Written with great sensitivity and even greater beauty.” —Jeff Hobbs, New York Times bestselling author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace“Gripping . . . Moving and unsettling . . . Told with incredible sensitivity.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune“While the City Slept reveals the American landscape of a horrific crime. Eli Sanders, with a rare quality of attention, does this clearly and judiciously. Because of his outstanding reporting, we see not only the complex workings of one’s environment on the course of one’s life, but also how what we consider a tragedy is almost an inevitability—and how, of course, it doesn’t have to be.” —Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, New York Times bestselling author of Random Family“Compassionate . . . A meticulous indictment of the way America reckons with mental illness.” —Mother Jones“Engrossing, elegantly written . . . A story that we need to hear.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer“A gripping and sensitive account.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch“Riveting . . . Absorbing and meticulous.” —BookPage“Told with care, compassion, and the kind of details that will force you to catch your breath.” —The Stranger“The author’s opening pages are among the most immediate and breathtaking in modern true-crime literature, as evocative as any moment of In Cold Blood or Helter Skelter.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review“Astonishing . . . Pair with Jill Leovy’s Ghettoside for powerful . . . analysis of the failures of our criminal justice system. . . . It’s heartbreaking, infuriating, required reading.” —Library Journal, starred review“An unflinching portrait of the human casualties of one city’s and, by extrapolation, our country’s overburdened health-care and judicial systems.” —Booklist, starred review“Gripping . . . Moving . . . Sanders’s meticulous narrative [is] a disturbing indictment of society’s neglect of the mentally ill.” —Publishers Weekly “This book is important. . . . Sanders writes with an uncommon empathy. . . . On both a human level and a policy level, While the City Slept makes a vital contribution and deserves a wide and receptive readership.” —NWLawyer “The great achievement of this book is that it shows how any crime is ultimately a failure of systems and of citizens, and that to some degree we are all complicit when a person who needs help is cast aside. To show empathy for a criminal, especially a criminal who has committed such a violent act, ennobles the process and purpose of journalism.” —Dan Zak, author of Almighty“Superb, pulse-pounding . . . Moving and mesmerizing . . . Grimly fascinating . . . Hair-raising . . . Sanders . . . is extremely sure-handed in his recreations of the lives, loves, and losses of his protagonists. . . . Every public official in a position to effect change in the mental health system ought to read this book and reflect deeply on its lessons. The rest of us can simply be moved to the tears summoned by the enduring love, tentative hope, and inconsolable pain of this searing human tragedy.” —BookBrowse“The book is wholly remarkable, and the heartbreak it delivers is a heartbreak we all share responsibility for. . . . Sanders has a deft hand and a sensitive approach and avoids the sensational. . . . [He] has given us the tools for a needed conversation, and it is high time that we started it.” —The Seattle Review of Books

Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:

⭐ Eli Sanders details the events leading up to and the court case following a horrific rape and murder that occurred on the outskirts of Seattle in 2009. The victims are admirably profiled. Two women who had found each other and were two months away from their wedding. The life of the perpetrator is also detailed and the many times his parents, the school system, the mental health system and the courts failed to stop his descent into criminality. Sanders interviews over fifty family members, people in the jury, law enforcement, and health care workers to get a full view of the circumstances leading up to the that night in South Park, Seattle, Washington.Two significant takeaways for me were the victim’s ability to forgive and Sanders comments on the state of mental health care in Washington Stare as well as the nation as a whole. The surviving victim notes her ability to forgive in her interviews with the author, her victim impact statement, and in retreats she is involved in for law enforcement members. This remarkable ability to separate herself from the crime andThe majority of the book marks an object and journalist tone, but the last 30 pages or so is an editorial looking at the ways the system could be bettered. Like many government agencies, it comes down to money and the ways that assistance is needed by so many.I tore through this book. A nonfiction page-turner. A series of confounding questions: Why? Why would someone do this? And how could it have been stopped?

⭐ Thank you to the author for portraying the horror of the crime, and remembering to mention that one in five US women are rape victims. Thank you for documenting what can be known of Isaiah’s life and the complexity of psychiatric diagnosis. And thank you for pointing out the farce that is public mental health treatment in this country. For want of paltry funds for Head Start and school social workers and community mental health clinics —- for stupidly underfunding these programs, we have the largest prison population among Western countries.

⭐ I live in the area and remember the crime well. It was just so disgusting that two people trying to get on with their lives were deprived of the future they were planning. Isaiah sure comes across as mentally ill. And as someone who has the wherewithal to know what he chose to do was a crime.I have so much sympathy for his family too. On top of the family dysfunction, having to deal with the mental illness and violence. And they lost family too. I hope the survivors, which also includes family on both sides, have a good life.Sad story. The writing is good, kept me reading, even though so demoralizing. I recommend the book highly.

⭐ I assumed this book would be extremely graphic in its violence. It was not at all. Instead of feeling hatred towards the killer, I found myself angry at the system society has ignored, and even some pity for the perpetrator.I really liked how it began exploring those beautiful young women’s lives and the love they shared. Such a tragic event.

⭐ I enjoyed this book for the reasons of shedding light on necessary topics within the justice system and the way the story is told! The book lays out different topics; Summary, Teresa, Jennifer, Isaiah and the Trial. My wife bought me the book. After reading the book I have not been able to get these two women and the injustice that was put into their lives out of my mind. This book made me think more than any other book has in the past about what can be done with the justice system, mental health and overall reform. I highly recommend this book for people who want to see more sides of the story, a glimpse into the past and truly think about many aspects of the case; there is always more than just meets the eye and this book has it.

⭐ This is not an easy book to read, but I read it and kept reading. With insight and great compassion, Sanders shows how a young man in desperate need of mental health treatment fell through the cracks over and over. The result was a horrific crime–so horrific that Sanders leaves much of the survivor’s testimony unreported.This is a book about how two womens’ love for one another. It’s about the civic neglect in the South Park neighborhood where they lived. It’s a thorough and compelling account about the culprit’s slide into madness. Most of all it’s a plea to all of us to work to make the mental health system fuctional.

⭐ This is an important read as a wake up call for everyone. Too complacent too long about mental health issues. Our mental health system is broken. Young people with mental health issues are being missed in record numbers until these people have committed crimes against other people or committed suicide. They often end their lives in prison after a serious crime because they were missed as young people. This is especially true in the community of people who are lacking in insurance and the money is not available to treat them. John Kennedy vowed as President to go to the moon and to fix the mental health system. Getting to the moon was accomplished and the rest…………………………

⭐ A compelling look at what happens when our government fails the mentally ill and as a result the public they are supposed to protect. I appreciated reading the background of both victims as well as their attacker and appreciated the author’s attention to detail.

⭐ Coming from a dysfunctional childhood, I found this book very important to read because one questions always seem to come up: why does one person turn the disadvantage into strength while another disintegrates. Victim vs survivor. It’s the one question I have lived with my entire life. This case was one of “poor me.” Sure, he could have been helped with counseling, but where does individual responsibility starts, and it’s because of my childhood ends. Good read.

⭐ I’ve watched a lot of crime TV. This is one of the first few true crime books I’ve read. This book seems to be very factual and leaves out dramatic embellishments. It also uses this story as a situational perspective on the state of mental health related to criminal behavior in America, a real problem. The book is great if you lean towards pragmatism, but might be a bit drawn out for those seeking a story written using liberties for the purpose of high drama.


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