Julia's Reviews > For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago

For the Thrill of It by Simon Baatz
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Aug 09, 2008

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Read in August, 2009

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but in keeping with my love of Chicago crime, I figured it would be alright. In fact, I was very pleasantly surprised! Being a fan of Chicago history and crime, I already knew a fair amount about the Leopold and Loeb killing. What I like about this book is that the crime itself was described in a very objective manner in less than 3 pages. This came approximately in the middle of the book, after a detailed description of the upbringing of the boys, when they met, and how their individual idiosyncrasies fed into each other to culminate in the killing of 14-year-old Bobby Franks.

The second half of the book is dedicated entirely to the legal proceedings of the trial and its aftermath. Had someone told me that to begin with, I may have passed over the book. But in actuality, it was incredibly fascinating to see how the law was practiced in the 1920's. Now, my knowledge of the law comes mostly from listening to friends in law school and watching Law & Order. But even I could recognize the world of difference between legal proceedings now versus then, one of the biggest being that the trial started within a month of the commission of the crime. This part of the book also details the histories of the two lawyers in the case- Robert Crowe and Clarence Darrow. Both are big names in politics, law, and Chicago history. To see how their histories intertwined like Leopold's and Loeb's and to put into context the importance of the outcome of this trial made for a truly interesting read.
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