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The Murder of Little Mary Phagan Hardcover – September 15, 1989


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: New Horizon Press; 1st edition (September 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882820397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882820392
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The author is the great-niece of the murdered Mary Phagan. In 1913, Leo Frank, a northern-reared, Jewish manager of an Atlanta factory, was convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan. Frank, who was almost certainly innocent, was hung by a lynch mob; new evidence points to the likely guilt of the chief prosecution witness, a black janitor. Despite the author's evenhanded approach, this book cannot be recommended. Leonard Dinnerstein's Leo Frank Case (1968; reissued in 1987 by Univ. of Georgia Pr.) remains the best account of the case and the anti-Semitic, anti-industrial milieu that shaped it. (Subject of an NBC miniseries.) Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Mary Phagan, great-niece of little Mary Phagan, is a teacher of the blind and visually impaired in Canton, Georgia. She has been researching and collecting evidence on the murder of little Mary Phagan for more than ten years. She lives with her husband, Bernard Kean, in Marietta, Georgia.

Customer Reviews

First and foremost, Leo Frank did not kill Mary Phagan.
Jena Tesse Fox
The fact remains though, that this long and extremely verbose book leaves the reader with the wrong impression.
Lauren (lauverf@aol.com)
Of course, not wanting to submit to cross-examination does not point to Frank's being guilty.
Katie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Katie on August 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I admit that the musical "Parade" is what introduced me to the Leo Frank/Mary Phagan case, but now the case itself has turned into a major interest of mine, surpassing even my liking of the musical (which I will admit is rife with inaccuracy; it's called artistic license) I was skeptical as to Mrs. Phagan-Kean's book, since I read an interview with her in which she sounded pretty one-sided on the issue and for proof listed facts that could be easily disclaimed (like saying that a white man dictated the murder notes since he said "negro" and "did,"; that means nothing since Conley used those words himself) Yet I decided to read this book because, obsessed as I am with the case, I wanted to hear her story and decide things for myself.

I suppose I will state what I knew before reading this book: I believe that Frank was innocent but, having devoured a myriad of articles as well as several books, including Dinnerstein's famed account, I realize that things are not as black and white as the average Frank supporter makes them appear. I am not entirely convinced that anti-semitism played as large a role in the trial as people think (though I doubt that Watson was without prejuice; his articles kept bringing to mind Jack Chick whenever discussing Catholics) or that the jury was necessarily influenced by mob rule. I think that the investigation was completely botched, though, and that the defense was overconfident. But I won't bore people with what I think, as this is a book review.

First off, Mary Phagan Kean's writing is not very good and the book itself is quite sloppy. She includes entire transcripts of things when just excerpts would suffice; it is like she got lazy and just stuck the whole thing in.
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33 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Lauren (lauverf@aol.com) on October 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The tragic death of Mary Phagen and the subsequent lynching of the man accused of her murder, Leo Frank, has provided the basis for a TV movie, a Tony winning musical and many books of which this is perhaps the worst. In all fairness to the author, I cannot imagine being able to write a completely unbiased account of the murder of my own great-niece myself. I was acctually almost impressed that the author managed to examine the facts of the case as even handedly as she did. The fact remains though, that this long and extremely verbose book leaves the reader with the wrong impression. For a completely unbiased examination of the Frank case written in an intelligent, concise style, be sure to check out Lennord Dinnerstein's "The Leo Frank Case". For a more entertaining option, Harry Golden's "A Little Girl is Dead" is also a good choice. Mary Phagen Kean's book is worthwhile only for those truly obsessed with the Frank case who are eager to explore every view. However, for someone who is seeking their first exposure to the facts of this tragedy, this book cannot be reccomended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. O'brien on November 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Buying this book was for me a classic example of unintended consequences. I learned a little more about the murder,as I had hoped to do, but---unexpectedly--- much more about the Southern mind that accepts "the lynch law" as nothing more than an understandable practice of a different era.

Excuse me, but I believe the Bible was readily available in Georgia in 1915, and that many of the participants in the obscene lynching of Leo Frank, wrongly convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old Mary Phagan in a pencil factory, not only had access to it but probably went to church on Sundays and felt fine about themselves. Obstruction of justice was not acceptable in this country at that time, and the murder---for that was what it was---of Leo Frank became enduringly famous because people "of that time" took the law into their own hands.

The author, a grandniece of the victim, does a good job of presenting original source documents. Some objections have been raised that the book is "too detailed" but I at least appreciated being able to read the long text of Leo Frank's testimony, for example. But it is further inexplicable that the author, who did exhaustive research, faced with such clear indications of Frank's innocence, continues to parrot to the end of the book her father's contention that conditions and attitudes of the times should be the determinant of whether or not to disapprove of outcomes.

The lynch mob, made up of some of Georgia's finest citizens---a sheriff, a judge, and others of that societal level---weren't satisfied merely to hang Frank in a horrific and humiliating manner. These brutal savages further wanted to desecrate the body---one man wanted to grind his shoe into Frank's face---and some tried to collect souvenirs from the body.
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25 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Schmerguls VINE VOICE on September 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I finished reading this book on April 27, 1988, and in my post-reading note to myself I said: "I have just finished a book I shouldn't have bothered to read. It is written by a greatniece of Mary Phagan, who was murdered in Atlanta on Apr. 26, 1913. It quotes a lot of the trial documentation, and the governor's commutation statement, and so it was interesting as a crime account. But I really could not empathize withe the author's resistance to a pardon for Leo Frank, tho his guilt seems clearly not psychologically indicated. In fact the author's father refuses to condemn the lynching. The book is not an inspiring one.
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