Among the criminal celebrities of Prohibition-era Chicago, not even Al Capone was more notorious than two well-educated and highly intelligent Jewish boys from wealthy South Side families. In a meticulously planned murder scheme disguised as a kidnapping, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb chose fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks at random as their victim, abandoning his crumpled body in a culvert before his parents had a chance to respond to the ransom demand. Revealing secret testimony and raising questions that have gone unanswered for decades, Hal Higdon separates fact from myth as he unravels the crime, the investigation, and the trial, in which Leopold and Loeb were defended by the era's most famous attorney, Clarence Darrow. Higdon's razor sharp account of their chilling act, their celebrity, and their ultimate emergence as folk heroes resonates unnervingly in our own violent time.
"There have been many spectacular murders in America since 1924, including a presidential assassination, but for the first half of the century, it was the murder of Bobby Franks that most shocked the public. Hal Higdon has superbly re-created the crime, combining painstaking documentation with an absorbing, often suspenseful narrative."-Newsday "Hal Higdon's book ... may be the definitive nonfiction history of this 1920s 'crime of the century.' Higdon recounts every rumor surrounding the case and every detail of the sensational trial, amassing some provocative portraits along the way."-Publishers Weekly "The best factual account of the case yet turned out."-Chicago Sun- Times "Higdon's book outdoes anything Alfred Hitchcock ever filmed. It is a masterpiece of suspense."-Oakland Tribune "A well-researched book that tells a fascinating story." - T. C. Samford, The Ohioana Quarterly "The 1990s was an important decade for the republication of major works on the 1920s... This reprint ... should be considered among these important republications... [Higdon] manages to tell a well-known story and somehow keep even the knowledgeable reader in a state of suspense. This is a remarkable feat and one that historians - who are so prone to offering their conclusions at the outset and then filling a book-length narrative with evidence to support those conclusions - should take note of." - David M. Wrobel, Michigan Historical Review