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The Central Park Five

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529358971

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 30th May 2019

Genre: Biography & True Stories

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The case of the Central Park Five is being revisited with a new acclaimed Netflix limited series on the subject, When They See Us, directed by Ava DuVernay.

This is the only book that is going to tell you all you need to know about one of the most infamous criminal cases in American history. A trial that, thirty years on, still bears a striking, and unsettling, resemblance to our current political climate in the era of President Donald Trump.

In April 1989, a white woman who came to be known as the ‘Central Park jogger’ was brutally raped and severely beaten, her body left crumpled in a ravine. Amid the staggering torrent of media coverage and public outcry that ensued, exposing the deep-seated race and class divisions in New York City at the time, five teenagers were quickly apprehended – four black and one Hispanic. All five confessed, were tried and convicted as adults despite no evidence linking them to the victim.

Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect.

In The Central Park Five, Sarah Burns, who has worked closely with the young men to uncover and document the truth, recounts the ins and outs of this historic case for the first time since their convictions were overturned, telling, at last, the full story of one of America’s most legendary miscarriages of justice.


Burns's gripping tale may serve as an allegory for some of the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time.
The New York Times Book Review
Praise for The Central Park Five documentary
At first discomforting, then enraging, then illuminating.
The New Yorker
As grim a portrait of the criminal justice system as can be imagined.
Detroit News
Timeless... It encapsulates an era.
San Francisco Chronicle
A deeply affecting experience.
The Wall Street Journal
Measured in tone and outraged in its argument, it is an emotionally stirring, at times crushingly depressing cinematic call to witness.
The New York Times
A patient, righteous documentary.
Entertainment Weekly
Remarkable... thought-provoking reportage.
Riveting... An important book.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
A riveting retrospective.
News Blaze
Gripping from start to finish, The Central Park Five is an unvarnished look at one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history. You may think you know the true story of the Central Park jogger, but you don't. Sarah Burns tells a harrowing story, in which her only allegiance is to the truth.
Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland
This is a controversial and important book, presenting a powerful argument... It demonstrates that our justice system is far from full proof even in the face of alleged confession, eyewitness and forensic evidence.
Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion