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Child Murder: The Town That Lived in Silence

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What consistently sets Siegel’s writing apart from many other newspaper narratives is his ability and willingness to construct an authoritative, muscular “argument.” In this case, he shows how a middle-class community in the 1960s failed to prevent a child’s murder, and then failed to prosecute it. By framing the story in this way—by offering a theme that is not just organizing but instructive—he elevates the piece above other works of journalism that, in the end, engage and entertain, but enlighten little.