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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: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,432 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.

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Customer Reviews

First and foremost, Leo Frank did not kill Mary Phagan.
Jena Tesse Fox
With the things Dorsey was putting into everyone's mouths, I don't think I would want to be cross-examined by him either--innocent or not!
Katie
A poorly written book about a terrible incident in history.
susan f.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 61 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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32 of 46 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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21 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book in spite of what turned out to be a very accurate bad review on Amazon. I was interested in the Leo Frank case and unfortunately the primary source on the subject, by Leonard Dinnerstein, isn't available for 4-6 weeks, according to Amazon. This book, however, which reads like a vanity press special, made me sorry I didn't wait, or just go to a local library for the Dinnerstein. It's written by a descendant of the murder victim and it is written without any writing, intellectual or journalistic skills. Don't buy it.
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22 of 32 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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39 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jena Tesse Fox on October 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
First and foremost, Leo Frank did not kill Mary Phagan. All of the evidence against him was circumstantial at best, and outright lies at worst. This book takes the circumstantial evidence as fact, and assumes that lies are truth. It is also written in the least impressive of all possible ways- Mary Phagan Kean constantly comes back to the similarities between herself and her great-aunt. Once or twice might have been moving, but she tries far too hard to make us see the murdered child as herself. Instead of seeing a young girl forced into horrible living and working conditions, and meeting her tragic end because of circumstances she could not control, we are offered the charicature of an etherial, martyred angel. We are immediatley distanced from the very real person who lived and died, and expected to accept something more than human in her place. The murder of Mary Phagan was a horrible tragedy, but an equally grievous tragedy is that an innocent man was "excecuted" (that is to say, lynched) for a crime he did not commit. Just as terrifying, to me, are those who continue to ignore all of the evidence at hand, and still believe in his guilt.
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