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The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town

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The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul   On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set the The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul   On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set their house on fire. He miraculously survived, and yet living through those horrific hours was only the beginning of his ordeal. Broken and defeated, Bill was forced to confront a question of ultimate consequence: How does a person find the strength to start over and live again after confronting the darkest of nightmares?   In The Rising, acclaimed journalist Ryan D’Agostino takes us into Bill Petit’s world, using unprecedented access to Bill and his family and friends to craft a startling, inspiring portrait of human strength and endurance. To understand what produces a man capable of surviving the worst, D’Agostino digs deep into Bill’s all-American upbringing, and in the process tells a remarkable story of not just a man’s life, but of a community’s power to shape that life through its embrace of loyalty and self-sacrifice as its most important values. Following Bill through the hardest days—through the desperate times in the aftermath of the attack and the harrowing trials of the two men responsible for it—The Rising offers hope that we can find a way back to ourselves, even when all seems lost.   Today, Bill Petit has remarried. He and his wife have a baby boy. The very existence of this new family defies rational expectation, and yet it confirms our persistent, if often unspoken, belief that we are greater than what befalls us, and that if we know where to look for strength in trying times, we will always find it. Bill’s story, told as never before in The Rising, is by turns compelling and uplifting, an affirmation of the inexhaustible power of the human spirit.


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The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul   On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set the The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul   On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set their house on fire. He miraculously survived, and yet living through those horrific hours was only the beginning of his ordeal. Broken and defeated, Bill was forced to confront a question of ultimate consequence: How does a person find the strength to start over and live again after confronting the darkest of nightmares?   In The Rising, acclaimed journalist Ryan D’Agostino takes us into Bill Petit’s world, using unprecedented access to Bill and his family and friends to craft a startling, inspiring portrait of human strength and endurance. To understand what produces a man capable of surviving the worst, D’Agostino digs deep into Bill’s all-American upbringing, and in the process tells a remarkable story of not just a man’s life, but of a community’s power to shape that life through its embrace of loyalty and self-sacrifice as its most important values. Following Bill through the hardest days—through the desperate times in the aftermath of the attack and the harrowing trials of the two men responsible for it—The Rising offers hope that we can find a way back to ourselves, even when all seems lost.   Today, Bill Petit has remarried. He and his wife have a baby boy. The very existence of this new family defies rational expectation, and yet it confirms our persistent, if often unspoken, belief that we are greater than what befalls us, and that if we know where to look for strength in trying times, we will always find it. Bill’s story, told as never before in The Rising, is by turns compelling and uplifting, an affirmation of the inexhaustible power of the human spirit.

30 review for The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Ryan D’Agostino’s The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, And the Power Of Human Resilience In An American Family is certainly not his story. It is one that has been entrusted to his care, an honor allowed of sorts, to be the author to let the world know how Dr. William Petit chose to live after the horrific murder of his wife and two daughters. ” But he has decided to live, because life abides.” Connecticut is made up of 169 towns; many of them small and friendly like that of Cheshire, where the Petit f Ryan D’Agostino’s The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, And the Power Of Human Resilience In An American Family is certainly not his story. It is one that has been entrusted to his care, an honor allowed of sorts, to be the author to let the world know how Dr. William Petit chose to live after the horrific murder of his wife and two daughters. ” But he has decided to live, because life abides.” Connecticut is made up of 169 towns; many of them small and friendly like that of Cheshire, where the Petit family lived. Dr. Petit’s home was on a quiet street, a cul-de-sac, a quiet place, a sanctuary even, a place to build a marriage and raise a family, a place to come home to at the end of a day. Until the dark early hours of one morning when two men broke into this home, beat William Petit with a bat, tied him up, shoved him into the basement and then proceeded to torture and kill his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, his daughters, Michaela and Hayley and then set them and their home on fire. Unimaginable. You could not live in Connecticut and not know anything about these horrible events. But what you had to wonder is how anyone could endure a loss such as this? How does he go on? Dr. William Petit has shared his story, the pain, the sorrow and yes, even the laughter and joy. It only feels right that we take the time to read what he has to say. Though the trial of the two murderers is covered, this really is about the man, his family, his friends and that first word of the title, Resilience. I understand I’m on the road Where all that was is gone. So where to now, St. Peter? Show me which road I’m on. --Elton John, “Where to Now St. Peter?”, from Tumbleweed Connection, one of Bill Petit’s favorite albums The Petit Family Foundation was founded after this senseless tragedy and grew out of the generosity of literally, the world. It is our hope, the PETIT FAMILY FOUNDATION goal, that we continue to raise and distribute funds to fulfill our mission to help educate young people especially those with interests in science, to help support those with chronic illnesses, and to help protect those affected by violence. We have all seen the many great things which have been inspired by the lives and memory of JENNIFER, HAYLEY, and MICHAELA PETIT, which enable us in turn to follow their example to help more and more people each year. This is a tall order, and we look to all who care to help us attain these goals.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schnell

    Advanced Reading Copy review Due to be published September 15, 2015 I really wish this story had been written by a different author with a different style. The central tragic crime and the surviving victim's struggles surely deserve better. Imagine "In Cold Blood" as written by Kathie Lee Gifford. The author, Ryan D'Agostino, relies on a narrative style that is part grade school documentary voice-over ("Hayley was beautiful and Otis was handsome, and they were both athletic and intelligent and co Advanced Reading Copy review Due to be published September 15, 2015 I really wish this story had been written by a different author with a different style. The central tragic crime and the surviving victim's struggles surely deserve better. Imagine "In Cold Blood" as written by Kathie Lee Gifford. The author, Ryan D'Agostino, relies on a narrative style that is part grade school documentary voice-over ("Hayley was beautiful and Otis was handsome, and they were both athletic and intelligent and confident, but they were still teenagers, and being a teenager isn't easy for anybody") and an inner train of thought monologue ("What to do? This is bad. So what to do? What's the strategy? Yell? Be quiet? He decides to stay quiet"). When he uses actual quotes and describes events he witnessed, the writing improves at least to a newspaper reporter level. I did manage to learn a lot about the infamous crime and its aftermath. Dr. Petit's ability to rise above the horror of losing his home and family due to criminal violence is inspirational. I just didn't need to be told repeatedly and inanely how much he suffered and how miraculous his recovery was.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judie

    On July 23, 2007, it seemed that Dr. Bill Petit’s life was over. Two men broke into his small-town Connecticut house while he was asleep. They brutally attacked him, beating him on his head, then tied him to a pole in the basement to die. They then began a seven-hour rampage of torture against his wife, who one of the men raped and then strangled, and two daughters, ages seventeen and eleven, raping the younger one, when they couldn’t find any money in the house. Afterwards, they set the house On July 23, 2007, it seemed that Dr. Bill Petit’s life was over. Two men broke into his small-town Connecticut house while he was asleep. They brutally attacked him, beating him on his head, then tied him to a pole in the basement to die. They then began a seven-hour rampage of torture against his wife, who one of the men raped and then strangled, and two daughters, ages seventeen and eleven, raping the younger one, when they couldn’t find any money in the house. Afterwards, they set the house on fire. Bill managed to escape to roll to a neighbor’s house before the men set the house on fire. Though severely injured,, Bill survived. His wife and daughters died. The men were quickly captured in the minivan they stole from the house. Bill’s life was in ruins. The community was in shock. While THE RISING concentrates quite a bit on the events of the night and the trials of the two perpetrators, it also provides some background on the Petit family and, to a lesser degree, on how Bill was able to deal with the aftermath. It provides much information about the first trial. I wish it had more about the second one. Bill was raised to give back to the community through both his work (he was an endocrinologist) and volunteer work. His wife and daughters also volunteered in numerous capacities. Throughout his life, he was always in control and kept his emotions hidden. After their deaths, he learned more about the caring actions of his daughters, things they never told him. The community pulled together to help him heal as did donations from strangers throughout the country who heard his story. His facade eventually broke down somewhat during the first trial and enabled him to begin to move on with his life in a stronger position. The book offers hope and a way to possibly deal with a major tragedy. It also has a few a lines of humor. For example, it tells that his wife told one man she was a pediatric nurse; he replied she could probably give him a great foot rub. There are some areas that seem extraneous. An example is when it mentions that he once dated a girl named Wendy. All the children in the family had the names of the Darling family in Peter Pan. It is a fast-read, but not an easy one because of the subject matter. The author is a professional journalist working primarily in the magazine area. Some parts are taken from articles he had published earlier. That might explain why there is a lot of repetition which is one of the main reasons I have given the book only three stars. I received an uncorrected proof of the book from LibraryThing. Some things may have been changed by the time the final version was printed. I also hope the final version includes some photographs of the family. They, along with photos shown at the trial, are available on-line.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” -1 Peter 5:8 “Bill is trying every day to claw his way back into a world he's not even sure he wants to live in. The end of the world visited a loving family in a small Connecticut town one night, and he alone survived it. Damaged almost beyond repair, but alive.” In July of 2007, armed intruders, broke into a suburban Connecticut home, bludgeoned Dr. Bill Petit, while he slept and “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” -1 Peter 5:8 “Bill is trying every day to claw his way back into a world he's not even sure he wants to live in. The end of the world visited a loving family in a small Connecticut town one night, and he alone survived it. Damaged almost beyond repair, but alive.” In July of 2007, armed intruders, broke into a suburban Connecticut home, bludgeoned Dr. Bill Petit, while he slept and then tortured and killed his wife and daughters. They finished it off, by setting the house aflame. Bill managed to escape, through a basement door, badly injured and completely unaware, of what had happened to his family. Obviously, this is a horrific scenario, something beyond our worst imagining, but the author does not sensationalize. He turns this dark story into a survivor's tale. It takes a few years, but Bill begins to build a new life. It is well-researched and well-written. I know this will spook many readers but if you can handle the real-life horror, give this one a try. “...he has decided to live, because life abides.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    4 stars! This was a true crime story, but that's not all it was about. It was the rising out of the ashes of a man, a father and a husband. A horrible tragic event occurred in 2007 that left Bill Petit for dead, his house in ashes and his wife and two daughters raped and murdered. This was a premeditated crime in which both criminals (that is way too nice of a name for them) were caught leaving the house in the family van. Both blamed the other, yet there were phone calls alluding to both being in 4 stars! This was a true crime story, but that's not all it was about. It was the rising out of the ashes of a man, a father and a husband. A horrible tragic event occurred in 2007 that left Bill Petit for dead, his house in ashes and his wife and two daughters raped and murdered. This was a premeditated crime in which both criminals (that is way too nice of a name for them) were caught leaving the house in the family van. Both blamed the other, yet there were phone calls alluding to both being in on the act and both were given a trial of their peers. This is truly the story of Bill Petit and how he dealt with losing his whole family while he was half dead, losing 5 to 7 pints of blood, tied up in his basement, hearing little, while his family was dying just above him. It was a very interesting read and it's hard to say that it was enjoyable due to the circumstances. So I will just say that it was an uplifting read which I am glad that I read. Thanks to Blogging for Books and Crown Publishers for providing me this tragic, but rememberable book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan Walker

    This is not a book about a horrible crime. This is an amazing book about the human spirit. The story of what Bill Petit went thru, losing his wife and daughters to torture and murder, being nearly beaten to death can be a hard read at times. But keep going because the recovery process is so worth the read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Without demeaning or diminishing any of what Bill Petit endured, this book gets a touch sycophantic in moments. D'Agostino is a tremendous writer and the writing is never dry or dull--I plowed through this--but I wish the focus had been wider. Still, I look forward to whatever D'Agostino writes next. Without demeaning or diminishing any of what Bill Petit endured, this book gets a touch sycophantic in moments. D'Agostino is a tremendous writer and the writing is never dry or dull--I plowed through this--but I wish the focus had been wider. Still, I look forward to whatever D'Agostino writes next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an…

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This is very difficult to read. The graphic details are horrific. The question the book poses is: how does someone whose wife and two daughters were killed (and he was beaten and left for dead in the cellar) go on? I had to skip a lot of it and inadvertently read something I wish I had never read. In any event, this paints a portrait of a man who against all odds has managed to carve out a new life. He is still haunted, of course, and that battle will never be over. The author did the absolute be This is very difficult to read. The graphic details are horrific. The question the book poses is: how does someone whose wife and two daughters were killed (and he was beaten and left for dead in the cellar) go on? I had to skip a lot of it and inadvertently read something I wish I had never read. In any event, this paints a portrait of a man who against all odds has managed to carve out a new life. He is still haunted, of course, and that battle will never be over. The author did the absolute best he could to describe what it is like to be laughing and acting normally, and suddenly fall silent, lost in past horror.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Rohrer

    Sad case, but was covered very well. Inspiring to hear the resilience of Dr. Petit.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I was given an electronic copy of The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by Crown Publishing and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This true crime novel chronicles the brutal home invasion of the Petit family on July 23, 2007. Although Bill Petit was able to slip his bindings and escape to a neighbor for help, his wife Jennifer and daughters Hayley and Michaela perished. The author asks what he feels is an essential question: how is Bill, I was given an electronic copy of The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by Crown Publishing and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This true crime novel chronicles the brutal home invasion of the Petit family on July 23, 2007. Although Bill Petit was able to slip his bindings and escape to a neighbor for help, his wife Jennifer and daughters Hayley and Michaela perished. The author asks what he feels is an essential question: how is Bill, the sole survivor of this family tragedy, able to start a memorial foundation three years later with no outward appearance of grief? Bill learned at a young age the value of hiding your feelings and just doing what needs to be done. He was a quiet leader throughout his childhood and teenage years and always had a fun loving and outgoing personality. This was all important training for the darkest period in his life - not only the loss of his family, but the subsequent trials of the two suspects. Although The Rising is a true crime novel, it reads more like a piece in a magazine. In the first half of the book, the author seems more focused on making sure the reader knows how well respected Bill is, instead of being centered on the promises made in the title. The actual crime, subsequent capture, and trial of the suspects has the feel of a documentary with voice over commentary. The dispassionate telling of this tragedy and its aftermath make it difficult to feel engaged in the story and its outcome. As I read the final page, I was struck by how much The Rising felt like a news program, with the human interest part of the story overwhelming the true crime aspects.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I was familiar with the generalities of the Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion case that made headlines almost 10 years ago, but this in-depth account was absolutely riveting. It doesn’t divulge the grisly details about how one perpetrator raped and strangled the wife and mother Jennifer Petit while the other violated her 11 year old daughter. There are implications made to the most sordid aspects of the crime, but plenty of those heinous facts had already been reported in the press. The main s I was familiar with the generalities of the Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion case that made headlines almost 10 years ago, but this in-depth account was absolutely riveting. It doesn’t divulge the grisly details about how one perpetrator raped and strangled the wife and mother Jennifer Petit while the other violated her 11 year old daughter. There are implications made to the most sordid aspects of the crime, but plenty of those heinous facts had already been reported in the press. The main story follows patriarch Dr. Bill Petit through the ordeal he faced as the sole survivor. At first I was confused by the title; after all, what does The Rising have to do with a family destroyed by violence? Then I realized that Bill is the Phoenix, rising from the ashes of unthinkable tragedy. This is Bill’s story, how he survived, endured two trials, media scrutiny, and the darkest moments imaginable. Through the generosity of his community, he was able to establish a foundation in honor of his wife and daughters. He even found reasons to smile again, finding love and having another child. As horrifying and sad as the whole thing was, this book is a testament to the three Petit girls who were selfless, kind, and undeserving of their fate. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karie

    Even if they don’t remember his name - I would bet that most Americans heard the horrific story of what happened to Bill Petit's family in 2007. Two men broke into their home, brutally attacked and tied up Bill, and raped and murdered his wife and two daughters...and then set their home on fire. Bill did get out alive – but forever changed. Most Americans, however, got to go back to their families after hearing the heartbreaking story. Most of us hugged our children, gave thanks that it hadn't ha Even if they don’t remember his name - I would bet that most Americans heard the horrific story of what happened to Bill Petit's family in 2007. Two men broke into their home, brutally attacked and tied up Bill, and raped and murdered his wife and two daughters...and then set their home on fire. Bill did get out alive – but forever changed. Most Americans, however, got to go back to their families after hearing the heartbreaking story. Most of us hugged our children, gave thanks that it hadn't happened to us, and went on with our lives. I hesitated before choosing this book - wondering if I was brave enough to even read it - wondering how on earth anyone was brave enough to actually live through such a nightmare - and then form some sort of a life after it. Dr. William Petit Jr.'s entire world was destroyed – and the story of how he found a way to go on living and build some sort of a new life - is an amazing one. The author, Ryan D'Agostino, does a brilliant and very caring job of telling Bill's story. The grim details of the crime are described in just enough detail to set the scene. Readers need to remember (or learn) exactly what had happened that horrible night - yet there are no gratuitous details - the book thankfully remains very respectful to the memories of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit. Instead, the reader is given some insight on what allows or makes a person go on after losing everything. After he/she experiences the complete and utter destruction of one's life. From the night of the murders: “…he is witnessing his wife, who must be petrified, having a conversation with two men who broke into their home and beat his skull with a bat. This must be what it feels like when the plane you’re in starts suddenly dropping – you’re alive, holding your wife’s hand, but your world is hurtling towards disaster and there is nothing you can do.” To the rest of his extended family finding out what had happened: “Finally, the chief of police, accompanied by two other officers, walks up to William A. Petit Sr. and says, “Your son is on his way to the hospital, and there are three deceased in the house.” When I read this sentence - it was like a punch in the stomach. The reality of what Bill's father was being told was so stark, so unambiguous that it was almost too much to take. I can't even imagine what it was like to hear. Sometimes d'Agostino allows his feelings, his reflections into the narrative - and many of these echoed my own (though in a far more eloquent way). “It’s something we rarely do: talk about the people in our lives this way when they’re alive. It is the ritual of death, to stand before the gathered and talk about the memories we hope to carry with us but that we know will never again be as crisp and real as they are at this moment.” Bill Petit was a strong man, from a strong family and a strong community. That strength also included a tendency to not show strong feelings - to deal with life as it comes and not make a big deal out of it. “And so disciplined had he been in the quality of his reserve that Bill Petit, upon experiencing a horror most unimaginable, did not even possess the vocabulary to vilify, or destroy. His instinct was not to turn the attention to his own suffering – to ask Why me – because that had not been a part of his emotional education.” This strength carried him through so much - starting with the recovery from his horrible injuries and then to speaking at his family's funeral. “He only had words of love. For a week he had been more dead than alive. But he’d come here, had struggled to his feet, to tell the assembled that he would spend the rest of his life remembering. And to tell them something else: that he would live in their memories. He would never be released from this, and yet he would live.” “When your family is murdered and the home you made together is destroyed, and you yourself are beaten and left for dead, it may as well be the end of the world. It is hard to see how a man survives the end of the world. The basics of life – waking up, walking, talking – become alien tasks, an almost impossibly heavy weight to lift from moment to moment. You are more dead than alive.” The strength shown by this man is awe inspiring. I can't imagine being able to even stand up in under the weight of that much horror, grief and disbelief. He lost his wife, his children, his home, his job...and yet. Somehow - he found a way to go on. To not give in as many of us might. To make something good from all of the evil. “When a man loses everything the way Bill has, there is a danger of falling to a place where his heart will be rendered dark and useless. Where he won’t care much about the future. Where he won’t trust love, won’t bother to hope. Bill has felt sometimes as if he is dangling over that place, has felt like he might fall in – has felt, even, like he might want to fall in. But maybe Bill could trust again. Maybe he could love again. Maybe if he keeps telling people about the good these three wonderful women brought to the world, and if he has the faith that people will listen to him and will go out and do one kind thing, maybe the hole will start to fill in. Maybe faith is enough.” Faith, among other things, seems to have helped Bill Petit Jr. go on. He established the Petit Family Foundation in memory of his family - whose mission is "to help educate young people especially those with interests in science, to help support those with chronic illnesses, and to help protect those affected by violence." He remarried and now has a son. Almost more amazingly to me - he gets up each day. He stands up, he moves through the world, and he does what he can to bring good to the world even after his life was changed irrevocably by evil. I am in awe and I wish him all and any happiness he finds.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Armand

    This is a very well-written, compelling book about a man who lost his family in a crime so evil and despicable it's almost beyond belief. I devoured it in about three hours. I highly recommend it. This is a very well-written, compelling book about a man who lost his family in a crime so evil and despicable it's almost beyond belief. I devoured it in about three hours. I highly recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Annie Booker

    An engrossing book about a terrible tragedy and an heroic father.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is more than a true-crime book. It's in the tradition of Capote's In Cold Blood, and while not written to that level of genius, it's a far more complete narrative of the Petit family murders in Cheshire Conn., than any other book I've read involving murder. This book starts with three horrible murders and the recovery of the fourth victim, Bill Petit, from what his attackers had assumed was a fatal beating with baseball bat. The slow coming to terms of the loss of his wife and two daughters This is more than a true-crime book. It's in the tradition of Capote's In Cold Blood, and while not written to that level of genius, it's a far more complete narrative of the Petit family murders in Cheshire Conn., than any other book I've read involving murder. This book starts with three horrible murders and the recovery of the fourth victim, Bill Petit, from what his attackers had assumed was a fatal beating with baseball bat. The slow coming to terms of the loss of his wife and two daughters took much of the life out of Bill Petit for three or four years--he couldn't sleep at night for memories of the horrible terrors that ad befallen his family. He had been a prominent doctor, but he couldn't return to his old job after the beating/murders. Instead, he rebuilt his life by creating the Petit Foundation, which supports battered women, wellness, a group of knitters, and many other groups too varied to name. The tragedy of his life, and his efforts to have his life mean something again, have resulted in massive donations to the Petit Foundation, which hopes to become self-sustaining. The book talks about the dedication foundation keepseople sending money in--including kids who have just had birthdays, in the place of birthday gifts. The story of the horrifying tragedy and Bill Petit's resolve to start a foundation that would aid victims like his wife and two daughters is a recovery story that inspires everyone who hears it. The writing in this book, by an editor/writer at Esquire, is superior to the great run of true-crime books. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to see how bitter tragedy can be transformed into a foundation donating money out of love.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Harvey Smith

    A very well written, and very readable story of a family tragedy, and the renewal of the live of the husband father. A doctor and his wife and two daughters lived in Connecticut. One night, two armed men broke into their house, almost killed the husband with a baseball bat. They then raped the wife and strangled her, and fastened the two girls to their beds, and burned the body of the mother, and the two girls in the house. The husband was restrained in the basement of the home, but broke free an A very well written, and very readable story of a family tragedy, and the renewal of the live of the husband father. A doctor and his wife and two daughters lived in Connecticut. One night, two armed men broke into their house, almost killed the husband with a baseball bat. They then raped the wife and strangled her, and fastened the two girls to their beds, and burned the body of the mother, and the two girls in the house. The husband was restrained in the basement of the home, but broke free and crawled to a neighbors to get the police. He was the only survivor. The story was how this all affected him and his remaining family, and how he barely coped with recovering from it. He then at a much later date meets a 20 year younger woman, falls in love, and remarries. Truly a story of the willful recovery of a human from a tragic situation. Excellent, and true.

  18. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    If Dr. William Petit wanted his story told, he should have told it himself, even if he needed a co-writer. To have his story told the way it is told in this book was a terrible choice, in my opinion. The Petit murder story is being told like an all-American type story where a hero overcomes an adversity. That type of story is best left for those who have conquered illnesses, injuries or handicaps, not the killing of one's family-- especially not where a mother and her daughters were terrorized, If Dr. William Petit wanted his story told, he should have told it himself, even if he needed a co-writer. To have his story told the way it is told in this book was a terrible choice, in my opinion. The Petit murder story is being told like an all-American type story where a hero overcomes an adversity. That type of story is best left for those who have conquered illnesses, injuries or handicaps, not the killing of one's family-- especially not where a mother and her daughters were terrorized, raped, choked and burned to death in their own home. How Ryan D'Agostino told the story in this book is offensive beyond words. (Note: I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anne Caverhill

    It’s a challenge to give any stars to this book since the story itself is so despicable....2 men broke into a random home in western Connecticut and savagely tortured and then murdered the mom and 2 girls. The dad managed to escape. It’s a rugged reality of a story of what can happen when men with blisteringly raw childhoods (no, I am not defending—maybe trying to provide some explanation to the sociopathic acts)—act out rage beyond belief. If there is any hope to this harshness, is that the dad It’s a challenge to give any stars to this book since the story itself is so despicable....2 men broke into a random home in western Connecticut and savagely tortured and then murdered the mom and 2 girls. The dad managed to escape. It’s a rugged reality of a story of what can happen when men with blisteringly raw childhoods (no, I am not defending—maybe trying to provide some explanation to the sociopathic acts)—act out rage beyond belief. If there is any hope to this harshness, is that the dad has rebuilt his life, remarried, and his wife gave birth to a baby boy. Even in the midst of unspeakable horror, life can and does go on.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    It was ok, but not enough background on the perpetrators and their reasons for this crime. I realize the author focused solely on the victim and his resilience in the aftermath, but the book lacked suspense and insight on why this all happened. It wasn't a thriller and more like a narrative of this man's life. It was ok, but not enough background on the perpetrators and their reasons for this crime. I realize the author focused solely on the victim and his resilience in the aftermath, but the book lacked suspense and insight on why this all happened. It wasn't a thriller and more like a narrative of this man's life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    Tremendous story This book was excellent and the author stayed true to it’s purpose. Bill Petit has endured the harshest pain and sorrow any human should ever have to bear. While this book does describe the horrific events thar took place it is respectful to Jennifer, Hayley, and Michaela.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Madonna Johnson

    Such a hard subject to read - but it does show how there is still hope after such an awful tragedy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Sad story

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    First book I cudnt finish. Too boring sorry

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    True Crime....a story of a husband's ability to move on after unspeakable tragedy. True Crime....a story of a husband's ability to move on after unspeakable tragedy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I absolutely love true crime books, and I followed the Petit family story when it was in the news, so when I saw that there had been a book written about Dr. Bill Petit, I knew that I wanted to read it right away. The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by Ryan D'Agostino is a story of incredible heartbreak and tragedy (the details of the Petit family murder are wrenching and gruesome), but it's also a story of a man who's managed to put his life bac I absolutely love true crime books, and I followed the Petit family story when it was in the news, so when I saw that there had been a book written about Dr. Bill Petit, I knew that I wanted to read it right away. The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by Ryan D'Agostino is a story of incredible heartbreak and tragedy (the details of the Petit family murder are wrenching and gruesome), but it's also a story of a man who's managed to put his life back together and start over instead of just laying down and dying - which he had every right to do! The cover is extremely well done and hauntingly beautiful. The book description reads: "The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set their house on fire. He miraculously survived, and yet living through those horrific hours was only the beginning of his ordeal. Broken and defeated, Bill was forced to confront a question of ultimate consequence: How does a person find the strength to start over and live again after confronting the darkest of nightmares? In The Rising, acclaimed journalist Ryan D’Agostino takes us into Bill Petit’s world, using unprecedented access to Bill and his family and friends to craft a startling, inspiring portrait of human strength and endurance. To understand what produces a man capable of surviving the worst, D’Agostino digs deep into Bill’s all-American upbringing, and in the process tells a remarkable story of not just a man’s life, but of a community’s power to shape that life through its embrace of loyalty and self-sacrifice as its most important values. Following Bill through the hardest days—through the desperate times in the aftermath of the attack and the harrowing trials of the two men responsible for it—The Rising offers hope that we can find a way back to ourselves, even when all seems lost. Today, Bill Petit has remarried. He and his wife have a baby boy. The very existence of this new family defies rational expectation, and yet it confirms our persistent, if often unspoken, belief that we are greater than what befalls us, and that if we know where to look for strength in trying times, we will always find it. Bill’s story, told as never before in The Rising, is by turns compelling and uplifting, an affirmation of the inexhaustible power of the human spirit." What a loved about this book is that it isn't just a "true crime" book. Yes, it delves into the crime, but it tells the larger story of Bill, Jennifer, Hayley, and Michaela. It's also the story of Bill's new wife, Christine, and their young son. I don't know many people who could go on after being beaten nearly to death while their wife and daughters were tortured and killed nearby. Not only has Bill managed to go on, he's managed to thrive in his new life, after enduring so much loss and angst. This is a truly uplifting story in the end - Bill's strength is incredible. This is one of those books that you'll stay up all night reading and completely lose yourself in. I couldn't put it down. You'll be moved to tears and inspired at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys true crime, nonfiction, or inspirational memoirs. I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Like many people who lived in Connecticut at the time, I lived and breathed news of the Cheshire Home Invasion in 2007. It was a heartbreaking tragedy when two evil men ( and I use the word 'men' loosely) broke into the home of Dr. William Petit. After beating him in the head with a baseball bat, they tied him to a pole in the basement, while they proceeded to commit unspeakable crimes against his wife and daughters. After forcing Jennifer to withdraw $15,000 from the bank in the morning, on the Like many people who lived in Connecticut at the time, I lived and breathed news of the Cheshire Home Invasion in 2007. It was a heartbreaking tragedy when two evil men ( and I use the word 'men' loosely) broke into the home of Dr. William Petit. After beating him in the head with a baseball bat, they tied him to a pole in the basement, while they proceeded to commit unspeakable crimes against his wife and daughters. After forcing Jennifer to withdraw $15,000 from the bank in the morning, on the promise that they would let her and the girls go if she did exactly what they said, they raped and killed Jennifer, doused the girls who were tied to their beds in gasoline, and burned the house down. Dr. Petit had managed to free himself and roll to his neighbor's house who called 911. The police arrived as the two men were fleeing in Jennifer's minivan, which then crashed. The fact that these two cowards did not get away is the one highlight. The trials are a big part of the book, so I won't ruin it for anyone by elaborating. Because I knew so much about the crime already, I had delusions of skipping past the specifics of it in the book. I did not really want to relive it, but just wanted a glimpse into the mind and soul of Dr. Petit, to see how he - or anyone - could continue to get up every day and put one foot in front of the other after his entire world was so violently ripped away from him. The way Ryan D'Agostino wrote the book, I really could not skip over any of those details, because I needed to be reminded of just how horrifying this was for him in order to appreciate just how huge it is that he came through it as well as he did. The author was very passionate about Dr. Petit's story, and told it from a soft hearted place. He did not sensationalize the crimes just to sell a book, but instead gently peeled back the layers of a very stoic man to show the rest of us just how Dr. Petit could go on. From the things that instantly took him back to that awful night, to the little things that eventually made him smile, I still don't know how I would survive, but I have an idea now of how Dr. Petit did it. His strength and resilience is quite inspiring, and the support of his family and friends was amazing. This was a great book, with many lessons within it's pages. Spend more time with your kids. Give even if you get nothing in return. Keep going even when it seems you have nothing to live for. Always see the best in people. Most importantly, live and love even if you have lost, regardless of what others may think. If Dr.Petit could open his heart to love again, so can you. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from www.bloggingforbooks.com.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Ashburner

    I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Here it is: Living in Connecticut, I remember all too well the Cheshire home invasion and triple murders in 2007. The devastation of Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor, after losing his wife and two daughters in such a horrific and unimaginable way. The same day I saw the images on the TV news and heard the awful unfolding story was the day I moved our dog’s crate from an upstairs bedroom to the kitchen. No one was going to I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Here it is: Living in Connecticut, I remember all too well the Cheshire home invasion and triple murders in 2007. The devastation of Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor, after losing his wife and two daughters in such a horrific and unimaginable way. The same day I saw the images on the TV news and heard the awful unfolding story was the day I moved our dog’s crate from an upstairs bedroom to the kitchen. No one was going to gain entry without her, or me, knowing. I also slept with the bedroom lights on that first night. I’m sure others did as well. I needed to know that Dr. Petit, after surviving the invasion physically, could actually survive the aftermath of losing everything. Like everyone else who heard his story, I wanted to know how that was possible. I saw the spread in People magazine, read the accompanying article about his remarriage and new baby. I would wonder at odd moments, how is that possible? How do you ever keep going? The Rising is a loving tribute, not just to Hayley, Michaela, and Jennifer, but to William Petit as well. For all of the dark, only the good shines through. Almost…too much …Theirs was a perfect marriage, perfect kids, perfect life. Well, no one is perfect–couples argue, kids talk back to their parents, fight with their friends, etc. All of that is missing, and none of that matters. This is a story of survival, after all. I found The Rising fascinating, riveting, reading far later into the night than I have in a long time. Easy to follow, the author does a gracious job of leaving most of the gruesomeness out. You can fear the terror, the gut-clenching certainty of what is coming, and as the reader, you also feel as powerless as Dr. Petit was to stop it. Most of The Rising is devoted to the formation of the Petit Family Foundation, the running of the foundation, the expansion of the foundation, and that all parallels Dr. Petit’s own life as well. It truly did save his life, gave him that one small reason to live–to carry on the girls’ good works. I read The Rising quickly–within three days. Knowing that he has a new wife and beautiful little son helped me get through those darker parts, like during the trials. I knew he made it through the deep darkness to the other side, and now I know how.

  29. 5 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    "I am not sure what my own hopes and dreams are, if any." I think I would have enjoyed the book more if the description had been more about Bill Petit and less about this specific (and horrendous) experience. While the book is thorough a lot of time is dedicated to Bill's life growing up and how well-loved Bill was in the community even before these things happened to him. I was hoping to hear more about how Bill overcame the trauma and loss that he faced - I was looking for something inspirationa "I am not sure what my own hopes and dreams are, if any." I think I would have enjoyed the book more if the description had been more about Bill Petit and less about this specific (and horrendous) experience. While the book is thorough a lot of time is dedicated to Bill's life growing up and how well-loved Bill was in the community even before these things happened to him. I was hoping to hear more about how Bill overcame the trauma and loss that he faced - I was looking for something inspirational that helped navigate the recovery process. While the miraculous recovery is inspiring I felt like the book passed over the mechanics of Bill bouncing back and focused on general terms. There's a lot of talk about how difficult it was and then we transition into Bill's life today - I would have liked to know more about the in-between. That being said the story is inspiring in a way. The way the community rallied around Bill and the creation of the foundation to keep the memories of the Petit family alive is heartwarming, albeit a small part of the book. I also found it a little bit disturbing, and wish it would have been elaborated on, how justice was equated with the death penalty. Obviously Bill is entitled to feel however he feels after such an unforgettable experience but it's never really explained, in Bill's words or anyone else's, if the death penalty was a necessary piece in the healing process. Once the trial is complete we don't really come back to the idea - we don't know if Bill visibly started improving after the sentence or if he continued to find solace in the verdict or anything about the repercussions of the trial after it's over. (view spoiler)[ I also personally found it a little confusing how sometimes the story of the invasion would start with Bill being hit on the head and the next time it's told it starts at the bank and we don't really hear the whole story all the way through until a good chunk of the way into the book. (hide spoiler)] Overall it's a hard book to rate because what Bill lived through is unimaginable. The fact that he's done so much with his life is an absolutely amazing accomplishment. But in my mind this book is less about being resilient and more about Bill himself. While my rating isn't a reflection of Bill as a person there is more to this story I would have liked to have read about in more depth.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I expected so much more from this book. I expected it to provide a true accounting of what happened to Dr. William Petit and his family when two armed men broke into his home and killed his family in a gruesome manner while injuring Petit. However, most of the book was devoted to fawning over Petit himself. There was very little factual information about the criminals, the investigation into what happened, the actual trials themselves that lasted months and the facts of the case. Instead we are I expected so much more from this book. I expected it to provide a true accounting of what happened to Dr. William Petit and his family when two armed men broke into his home and killed his family in a gruesome manner while injuring Petit. However, most of the book was devoted to fawning over Petit himself. There was very little factual information about the criminals, the investigation into what happened, the actual trials themselves that lasted months and the facts of the case. Instead we are treated to an extensive litany of why Petit is such a wonderful man, beloved by all, who no longer practices medicine but is devoted to the foundation started in his family’s memory. Since he does not work, I can only guess that he is paid from the foundation but there is no discussion of that. Nor is there any discussion as to why this foundation needs two other employees, who happen to be a relative and friend of the family, and what their role is in the foundation. Petit has rebounded quite well, marrying a woman much younger than he by approximately 20 years, and having a new baby with her. However, it is stressed how difficult dating and marriage was for him, as he still felt obligated toward his deceased family. Fortunately for him, his new wife was persistent and everything fell into place. While there is some interesting information in this book, most of it is pure drivel. I understood why that is when I read the author’s note at the end and he explained how difficult it was to get an interview with Petit. When he finally did, I can only guess at the amount of control Petit wished to exert over the final product. I fear that Petit had too much control as evidenced by the number of insights provided as to how Petit felt in every moment that was included. While it is a small error, on page 97 the author provided a quote about the youngest daughter cooking in which she would use “flower” to make pasta from scratch. While I know some chefs use edible flowers in recipes, a child would most likely use flour in cooking. Such a basic mistake made me question the competence of this author to provide an accurate accounting of this tragedy. I can only say it was a complete disappointment.

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