Saturday, September 17, 2022

Nothing but the Night

Nothing but the Night by Greg King and Penny Wilson
9/20/22; 352 pages
St. Martin's Press

Nothing but the Night: Leopold & Loeb and the Truth Behind the Murder That Rocked 1920s America by Greg King and Penny Wilson is a very highly recommended examination of the infamous 1924 murder.

The names Leopold and Loeb will immediately be familiar to true crime aficionados and bring to mind two teens who killed for the thrill of it. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two intelligent and wealthy teenagers who were charged and convicted for the 1924 murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago. Franks was actually Loeb’s second cousin and the families had homes close to each other. The murder was shocking for its senselessness, the revelation of a love affair between the defendants, and defense attorney Clarence Darrow's defense summation which saved the boys from the death penalty. King and Wilson reexamine the case and who was the true mastermind behind the crime.

This is an exceptionally well researched inspection of the case and included are a bibliography and chapter notes. It remains a troubling and disturbing case that deserves a new look at the known facts and King and Wilson take on this task admirably. Those who appreciate the quest for the truth in psychological historical true crime cases will welcome this even approach to looking at the facts with new eyes. It also serves to look closer at Clarence Darrow's argument against the death penalty. His suggestion that  experts declared Leopold and Loeb were "mentally diseased" rather than evil unleashed a media frenzy.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.

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