Cover Image: Leopold and Loeb

Leopold and Loeb

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Member Reviews

I knew little bit about this case but not a hole lot , and this book introduce the full case to me as well as making it easy for me to understand who was who and what happened.

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Leopold and Loeb by Hal Higdon is a true crime about two young men who committed a notorious murder in Chicago in the 1920s .

I am familiar with Higdon's Runner's World articles and books and always found him an engaging sports writer, and was surprised to see his name associated with this true crime book. While he does over the crime, motivations, historical context, and legal case with great depth, the key details were all revealed early on in the book leading me to lose interest. It could have been shorter, more focused, and a talented true crime writer would have known how to reveal the case in a way to keep reader engagement high.

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This book is not formatted to be read on a kindle and that was an issue for me. Moreover, this was an interesting read and I believe it would’ve been better, had it been a tad more succinct. Would still recommend!

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This is a reissue of a book first published in 1974. It’s a true crime account of a murder in Chicago 100 years ago in a famous case which later formed the basis for a film. I’ve seen the case as a short feature on a true crime documentary in the UK and I was intrigued to learn more of the detail.

Higdon presents what feels to be a meticulously researched and authoritative account. The murder was a random act of violence and defied reason. The perpetrators were rich, privileged and had no history of violence. So why did they choose to carry out this brutal act? The book documents the background really well. I gained insight into the times, the people and the events. It is truly chilling but the facts are presented with compassion. The consequences are equally interesting; the subsequent investigation and court case in what was to become one of America’s most famed murder trials. If you love true crime, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this and it’s also an interesting journey into the depths to which humans can sink.

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I selected this book because I’m a true crime lover and I was interested in this case. I found the book very informative, it was a lot more information than I expected.

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This is a well researched and well written book! I learned things about the case I didn't know and was intrigued from beginning to end. I would recommend this! Special Thank You to Hal Higdon, University of Illinois Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book.

Outside the U.S., people probably have not heard of Leopold and Loeb. But that is a shame, because this fascinating murder case riveted the U.S. a century ago., and for good reason. These two young men chose their victim at random. He was an innocent fourteen-year-old boy. Why would they do such a thing? Were they insane? Were they monsters?

This bizarre murder case has been written about in numerous books and told in movies, but by far the best account is the one that Hal Higdon wrote in 1975. This new edition has appeared in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of this celebrated crime.

Higdon is a superb researcher, and this book is meticulously reported and written with great clarity and nuance. Perhaps more than any other account, Higdon has delved deeper into the motivations of the killers. What drove them to commit such a disgusting act of murder for no apparent reason whatsoever?

The result of his fine work is compelling, almost hypnotically so. Recommended for anyone interested in true crime.

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"Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century" by Hal Higdon is a gripping and meticulously researched account of one of the most infamous crimes in American history. The book stands out for its comprehensive exploration of the Leopold and Loeb case, delving into the motivations, personalities, and societal impact of the perpetrators behind what was labeled as the "crime of the century."

One commendable aspect of the book is Hal Higdon's dedication to providing a thorough and well-documented examination of the Leopold and Loeb case. The author navigates the complexities of the crime and its aftermath with precision, offering readers a detailed and insightful narrative. The exploration of the perpetrators' backgrounds, legal proceedings, and the cultural impact of the case adds depth to the historical account.

Higdon's writing style is engaging and informative, making the book accessible to a wide audience. The author successfully combines a journalistic approach with a storytelling flair, ensuring that the narrative maintains a compelling pace. The inclusion of historical context enhances the reader's understanding of the era and the societal factors that contributed to the crime's notoriety.

However, some readers may find the content intense and unsettling due to the nature of the crime and its details. Potential readers should be aware of the heavy subject matter, which involves a brutal crime and its legal aftermath.

In conclusion, "Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century" is a well-crafted and comprehensive exploration of a notorious criminal case. Hal Higdon's meticulous research and engaging storytelling make the book a compelling read for those interested in true crime and historical narratives. While the intensity of the subject matter may be challenging for some readers, the book's overall impact lies in its ability to provide a detailed and nuanced perspective on the crime and its enduring legacy.

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This book is one that enthralled readers when first printed. The crime still has the capacity to shock and is one to examine. The themes of nurture versus nature and poverty compared with wealth are still necessary. The death of 14 year old Bobby Frank's is an unfathomable tragedy and in this book the author takes the reader through background of offenders to their ultimate end in incarceration.
I read this years ago but it still has investigative value today.

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This is one of the most intriguing true crime story I read and I read also in other books.
This is a well researched and well written book, highly recommended
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Leopold and Loeb were two well-educated and highly intelligent Jewish boys from wealthy South Side families. They chose 14 year old Bobby Franks at random as their victim. They were defended by the era's most famous attorney, Clarence Darrow. He requested that they not be put to death. They were imprisoned and while in jail Loeb was killed but Leopold was finally released after 30 years and lived until 1971 age 66. This was a very interesting case that was known as The Crime of the Century. If you like true crime then you will love this book. I would like to read another book about this murder in the future.

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I would love to read this, but in its current format it is very difficult to read digitally, on a phone or on a Kindle. At first I thought I had encountered an error when downloading it but after repeated attempts, they all came out the same. The whole book is printed horizontally, and cut-offs are not equal between pages, meaning even if i do try to read it sideways, I end up reading the same lines again or missing lines that have not been caught

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I have consistently been interested in the Leopold and Loeb case, as I grew up right in the area – waiting for the bus directly in front of the Franks home, in fact. I’d heard many of the details as asides, the two rich boys wanting to commit the “perfect crime”, the Nietzschean super-mensch rationale, the finding of the glasses near the body. This book gave a very detailed look at the crime, the trial, and the incarceration. While I don’t believe I’d continue to argue that this was the crime of the century, I believe it is still a valuable read, a classic in the true crime genre.

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This new edition of a true crime classic explores the infamous 1924 murder of Bobby Franks by privileged teenagers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Delving into the sinister plot, shocking confessions, and sensational trial, it provides a gripping, definitive account of the heinous crime.

This is a fascinating and compelling story. It’s unfortunate that this new edition retains the homophobic language of the original.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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Free ARC from Net Galley

While this is a repress of the 1975 book, I think it still stands above most accounts with the writing style and detail. The thing is proving is the so-called new violence we twitter about today has been around a long, long time.
Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb managed to not only shock the prohibition but steal the press from everyone's favorite crook Capone. No small feat if you know the time period. Enjoy!

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A classic piece of true crime writing which covers a case both fascinating and disturbing. It is hard to believe it is 100 years since the events occurred and a testament to the author that this long-published account stands up well as a comprehensive account.

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This is a classic of true crime. I found it a great meditation on the darkness that can overcome humanity. I had read the original version but was interested in what would be added in this new edition, based on the centennial of the case. The young people I teach always find the story captivating, in part because of the age, in part because of the randomness of the murder. This point makes the murder a mystery to try and unravel. I have often compared the attention this case brings to the Holocaust. Both, while different on scale, attracts people to study the cause and motive of the people.

This book does a great job giving background and context to both of these men, and laying the groundwork for understanding the idea that these men would never have ordinarily been suspected of murder, let alone any kind of kidnapping. The book also does a great job of looking at the legal thriller aspect of the case, including Darrow and how the case helped shape his image of a celebrity during the time.

I have recommended the earlier editions to students, and I think the new edition would also be of interest to them.

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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with this book to review.

Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century is a true-crime book written by Hal Higdon. It was first published in 1975 and is considered to be the definitive account of the 1924 murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. The book was a bestseller and was adapted into a film in 1978.
Higdon's book is a detailed and well-researched account of the crime, the investigation, and the trial. He provides a balanced view of the case, giving attention to both the prosecution and the defense. He also explores the motivations of the two killers, who were both highly intelligent and came from wealthy families.
Higdon's book is a fascinating and disturbing read. It is a reminder of the evil that can exist even in the most seemingly normal people. It is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of peer pressure and the importance of moral values.
I highly recommend Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century to anyone interested in true crime or the history of American law. It is a well-written and informative book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

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This book was interesting but I felt it was too long with too many minute details. I just felt it was a bit bogged down with details

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What compelled two wealthy, brilliant college boys to commit the “crime of the century”? Greed, boredom, arrogance? On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the crime, this reissue of a book originally published in 1974 leaves no facet or fact overlooked. There are surprisingly few photos in such a detailed book. However, the Chicago murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks remains a fascinating and famous moment in true crime history.

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