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And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank
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And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  48 reviews
On April 27, 1913, the bludgeoned body of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan was discovered in the basement of Atlanta’s National Pencil Factory. The girl’s murder would be the catalyst for an epic saga that to this day holds a singular place in America’s collective imagination—a saga that would climax in 1915 with the lynching of Leo Frank, the Cornell-educated Jew who was con ...more
Hardcover, 752 pages
Published October 7th 2003 by Pantheon
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  361 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ruth
In 2009, when my boss offered me tickets to see the musical “Parade,” I of course said “yes.” I knew that “Parade” retells the story of Leo Frank, the German-Jewish superintendent of Atlanta’s National Pencil Factory, who was convicted of slaying 13-year-old factory worker, Mary Phagan, in 1913. Later, when Frank’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison, an angry mob sprung him from prison and lynched him. The Frank case gave rise to the Anti-Defamation League. Surely, “Parade” would be a ...more
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
And the Dead Shall Rise by Steve Oney
New York: Pantheon Books
$35.00 – 742 pages

Little Mary Phagan
She went to work one day;
She went to the pencil factory
To get her little pay.
- “The Ballad of Mary Phagan”
by Fiddlin’ John Carson

American history contains an abundance of dramatic court trials that have momentarily seized the attention of the entire nation, converting the public into a captive audience. However, none have done
Krista Pojman
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I played Lucille Frank in the musical "Parade", and it was the best show I have ever been in and ever will be in. I decided to pick up this book to get more familiar with my character and the struggles she had to go through, and I'm glad I did. I ended up finishing the book right before the final performance. I cried seven times that day, and I think what got me the most is Lucille never gave up hope and continued to fight for the honor of her husbands name. This book brought tears to my eyes, a ...more
Caleb Hoyer
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First thing’s first: this book is LONG. But for its length, it is surprisingly suspenseful. The history recounted, while extremely thorough, is never dense. And the author clearly knows his subject backwards and forwards, inside and out, and is fascinated by it. That fascination, aided by strong writing, is contagious. My knowledge of the case of Mary Phagan and Leo Frank was almost entirely based on the musical Parade. In reading a 650 page book, rather than watching a 2 hour musical, it can t ...more
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
In the US, we take pride in being the home of the free and the brave; that all men are created equal, and are born with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But just how true do we live to that equality and liberty. In the book And the Dead Shall Rise, Steve Oney recounts a detailed account of the hallmark case of The People v. Leo Frank. The book the tumultuous case that proceeded the murder of Mary Phagan, a 13 year old girl working in a factory in 1913 Georgia. The case ...more
Katherine Addison
This is an excellent book, extremely well-written along with being well-researche, about a single, long, avalanche-like disaster bookended by two catastrophes: the dreadful murder of Mary Phagan in the basement of the National Pencil Factory in 1913 and the lynching of Leo Frank in Marietta in 1915.

As Oney says, at this point, we are probably never going to be able to determine whether Leo Frank murdered Mary Phagan or not. I tend to lean toward "not" (and I think Oney leans with me)
Betsy Boo
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Amazing historical/true crime book. I have to admit it took a bit for me to get into this because the author spends a lot of time in the beginning going over a lot of background and I'm used to true crime books getting right into the action. But I see now that this is more than simply a true crime story. It tells not only about two shocking crimes, but also about how these crimes affected the race relations of the entire country. This book is epic: devastating and un-put-downable! Being from the ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it
How silly is it that I pick up a book about a lynching, read 400+ pages leading up to the lynching yet secretly hope that somehow he doesn't die... yep, that was me.
I can only give this 3 stars almost because it was too well researched and written. This is a LONG book with lots of information in there. Problem is that much of it probably wasn't necessary for the telling of the tale. I often felt like I was reading someone's footnotes that were written right into the text. But I did read ev
It was hard to put this one down, not because I was so enthralled by it, but because I had tried for so long to get through it, and I just couldn't keep all the people, background, and circumstances straight. This would be a great book for someone who can really visualize an entire constellation of a world, circa 1913 Atlanta. I have always been fascinated with this case, but I think perhaps I will have to stick with the CNN documentary on the subject.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-challenge
I tried. Oh how I tried. I spent two weeks falling asleep reading this book and never passing page 190. Maybe it is a winter read for me, when I have time to really get involved in a book, but... I gave up. I will definitely revisit it, or find another book on the topic as it is pretty fascinating.
Stephanie Bartlow
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
While the subject matter was interesting, I found the writing style ponderous and difficult to read. I wanted to finish the book, but just barely.
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History/crime buffs, lawyers
I've always been fascinated by the Mary Phagan case, and the unbelievable trial and twisted public sentiment towards Leo Frank—and ultimately, its tragic conclusion.

Oney's book does a remarkable job of transporting the reader to that time and place, and one often forgets that this all transpired nearly a century ago. The key players are brought that vividly back to life. He also succeeds in conveying the general atmosphere of Atlanta in 1913, and how contemporary media so heavily influenced bot
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
An comprehensive (exhaustingly so ) study of the trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan, a 13 year old employee of his. A perfect storm of Frank's guilty behavior, a rise of anti-Semitisms, concern about Child labor caused his arrest and eventual conviction for the crime. The trial, which would be consider unfair by today's standards was replete with racism, classism, and spectators' engaging in open cheering of the prosecution.

Like the Governor who commuted his sentence to life in im
This book is about Leo Frank and the murder of 13 year old Mary Phagan in 1913. Leo Frank was the manager of the Atlanta pencil factory where she was working and where she was found murder. I know that many people know this story, but Steve Oney brings a lot of new facts with a very intense foot notes. There is a lot of detail and it is not a fast read but it is well worth your time to read it. You will encounter many famous people who were involved in this case. You will read about Rabbi David ...more
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lori by: true crime readers
Shelves: true-crime
This is a comprehensive examination of the infamous case of the murdered poor white southern factory girl whose outsider urban Jewish employer was blamed for the crime. I read this book 5 years ago as I had always been intrigued by the case. I believe I saw a tv movie about this case about 20 years ago and it ignited my interest.

The preponderence of evidence points to the probable innocence of Leo Frank, the factory manager who was found guilty of Mary Phagan's murder. The case was e
David Ward
And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank by Steve Oney (Pantheon 2003) (364.1523). This is a reconstructed account of the horrible lynching of Leo Frank in Atlanta in 1913 for the rape and murder of young Mary Phagan at the Atlanta Pencil Factory. Frank was tried and convicted, but his sentence was commuted, largely because Frank, a white man, had been convicted on the word of a black man. Two months later, Frank was kidnapped from the courthouse, abducted, and ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
Oney does a great job balancing both sides of the Frank case. Did Leo Frank, superintendent of a pencil factory, kill 13-year-old Mary Phagan on Confederate Memorial Day, 1913? Was it anti-Semitism that led to his conviction? Oney's journalistic background comes through in his evenhanded presentation of the facts of the Phagan murder and Frank trial; his own thoughts on the case remain hidden and he allows the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.

The book is a long one--witho
Mark Desrosiers
Nov 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Race, class, sex, murder, and yellow journalism: the perfect storm for a modernizing Atlanta circa 1913. Throw in some good ol' southern antisemitism and this becomes creepier than ever. Oney is painstakingly thorough and impartial, but the intervening years (plus interested parties) have erased so much he can't come to many firm conclusions about the identity Mary Phagan's killer. After reading this, though, I remain convinced the murderer was not Leo Frank, and I'm certain the devil was on Jim Conle ...more
Shana Dennis
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, morbid
Though there have been more shameful parts of American history, the events described in this book cover so many levels of bigotry, fear mongering, and bloodlust it is no wonder that it continues to be an enduring yet frustrating story. With characters made up mostly greys, innocent Lucille Frank and Mary Phagan and despicable Tom Watson (he seriously has a statue? SERIOUSLY?) and Newt Morris being among the few exceptions, the author seeks to take no sides and lets the facts speak for him. Readi ...more
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This true-life crime story is riveting, but exhaustively comprehensive; it's not for the faint of heart. I did find myself speed reading through redundant descriptions of testimony, but the author does a good job of highlighting the many political nuances and conflicting motivations of many of the key figures in the courtroom drama. Bottom line: This is a great non-fiction read that speaks volumes about how media shapes public sentiment- a message that still resonates in a Twitter-fied society. ...more
Feb 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am on a roll. This book was equally as impressive as Columbine, which I had just read. Here you, too, see how a community reacts to tragedy and political/social coercion. The setting is Atlanta 100 years ago as it enters the new century and emerges from post-Civil War identity crisis. It is old vs. new, black vs. white, gentile vs. jew and most importantly south vs. north. By the end of the book, the guilt or innocence of the accused is rendered irrelevant as internal forces of political and s ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. Steve Oney clearly looked at each and every piece of material available regarding this case, interviewed descendants of anyone he could get a hold of, and left no stone unturned. This book has a notes section the size of a novel on its own. He explores every side avenue, every political angle, every possible layer of this case. It's been a long time since I've been this enthralled by a historical work - and I'm a historian. Get this book and give it your time. You will not ...more
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, nonfiction
The exhaustively researched book about the Leo M. Frank trial and lynching will give me some nightmares, and cause me to glance around me while in Atlanta. It reminds me that parts of the south have VERY closed societies and horrible things happen. Yet there is an underbelly of twisted authority which encourages hatred and evil in the forms of racism and lynching. This murder occurred about 100 years ago....not that far in the past. If only it didn't take 649 pages to get all the information...< ...more
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A fantastic and exhaustive examination of the Mary Phagan case. The author is objective and fair, not taking sides in one of the most important events in Southern history. I grew up hearing stories about the Mary Phagan case -- and interested was rekindled with the Alonzo Mann statement. Now I feel like I know all that can be known about this terrible event.

Highly recommended for anyone interesting in American history.
Jill Bowman
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Finally done at 1:37am... I can't remember when it last took this long to read a book.
Parts of the book read like a college text: including the part where I repeatedly fell asleep mid- sentence. But - overall this was a really excellent book! I have lived in Atlanta since 1988 and many of the sites, streets and landmarks had me searching google maps to track down locations.
The events are so well researched and are so interesting I can only say - I'm glad I read it.
Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A fantastic read about a pivotal point in Atlanta's history with reverberations that affected the state of Georgia's reputation in U.S., had effects on the Jewish elite across the country, and lasted almost an entire century. A must read for any resident of Atlanta. I wish I had read it while I still lived there.
Apr 21, 2012 marked it as couldn-t-get-into
I couldn't get into this book. I really wanted to read it, as there isn't anything else out there about this crime. But, it was too ponderous and the amount of minutae was boring. Too much detail about the Hearst newspapers and other people in the story and not enough focus on the crime, trial, main players, etc. I read about 85 pages (out of 650) and just could not continue.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I also thought it was one of the best non-fiction cases I've ever read. It was riveting and impossible to put down. It felt immediate and like it was happening now. Especially loved the weaving in of repercussions nationwide and the examination of antisemitism as a phenomenon. A classic.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
read this when I 1st bought yrs ago finished it again tonight!
stunning & I am speechless about the cruelty of humanity.....sigh
Aug 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history or true crime
I'm about 100 pages in, and it's pretty interesting so far. Steve Oney gives good details and history of Atlanta, and a thorough view of the crime and those involved.

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