Cover image for The rising : murder, heartbreak, and the power of human resilience in an American town
The rising : murder, heartbreak, and the power of human resilience in an American town
D'Agostino, Ryan, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [2015]

Physical Description:
275 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
"The story of Bill Petit, the Connecticut man whose family was killed in a home invasion, and his remarkable recovery from that trauma"--
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6534.C44 D34 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV6534.C44 D34 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6534.C44 D34 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6534.C44 D34 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6534.C44 D34 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



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.

Author Notes

RYAN D'AGOSTINO is the editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics magazine. Previously, he was an articles editor at Esquire , and he has written for The New Yorker , Ski , and other publications.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

What author D'Agostino so beautifully does in his true-crime book is to demonstrate and stress the notion that people are good; he wouldn't be doing this were not two people almost unimaginably bad as well. The case involves the 2007 brutal beating of husband and father Bill Petit, a doctor, and the torture and murders of his wife and two daughters in a small town in Connecticut, a case involving a nearly random attack that shocked and transfixed the nation. And also inspired good people to send money, food, and more to help Bill Petit return to a life where all he once had was brutally taken from him. The first part of the book outlines the family members' backgrounds and lives up to that day, and D'Agostino paints a tender picture of a loving group; the rest of the book shows how Bill, summoning inner courage, found the strength to carry on. Though true-crime buffs may miss the action depicted in most such books, readers seeking inspiration about the true goodness of others, especially in the aftermath of a horrific crime, will find it here.--Kinney, Eloise Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit`s wife and two daughters were senselessly murdered when two armed strangers broke into their home in Cheshire, Conn. Brutally beaten and tied to a metal pole in the basement, Dr. Petit was helpless as his family was sexually assaulted and senselessly murdered. Amazingly, he managed to escape and alert a neighbor to call 911, but by then it was too late. Instead of dwelling on the salacious details of the assault or the family's assailants (the author offers little more than a rough sketch of the men), D'Agostino, who first wrote about the Petit family murders for Esquire in 2011, chooses to focus on the attack's aftermath and the tremendous swell of positivity and support Petit received as he attempted to recreate a life in this amazing and inspiring account. Wracked with guilt and grief, Petit was near catatonic for some time until the spontaneous creation of a foundation engineered by his friends roused him and helped him find new purpose as he slowly rebuilds his life. D'Agostino's tender approach to his subject and story is impressive as he artfully charts Petit's emotional thawing without resorting to cloying prose or melodrama. D'Agostino's three-dimensional portrait of Dr. Petit and the family members he lost gives the book an additional emotional punch. Though a horrific crime provides the backdrop, this book is a remarkable account of hope, fellowship, and love in the face of tragedy. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

On July 23, 2007, Bill Petit's picture-perfect life was shattered. Two strangers broke into his Connecticut residence, knocked him unconscious, and left him tied up in the basement. While Petit was unconscious, the men tortured and killed his wife and two daughters and set the family home on fire. Petit barely managed to escape with his life and then had to find the strength to continue on without his loved ones. His extended family and community propped him up as he struggled with the hole in his heart left by senseless tragedy, as he was forced to endure the trials of his family's murderers in addition to dealing with horrific grief. More than a murder story, this is the account of a man who overcame the greatest of losses through the love and support of others. D'Agostino (editor in chief, Popular Mechanics; Rich Like Them) delves deeper than the Petit family murders and the trials, revealing how Petit persisted in the greatest of devastation and tried to make a life on the other side of tragedy. VERDICT Recommended for lovers of true crime and tales of human endurance.-Kristen Calvert Nelson, Marion Cty. P.L. Syst., Ocala, FL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.