- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 20 hours and 9 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: March 14, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XGJNVB4
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago Audiobook – Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
|Free with your Audible trial|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
For the Thrill of It Book Review
Murder is a hot topic when it comes to common TV and movie themes, but Hollywood tends to focus on figuring out who the murder is. The thing that sets this book apart from the rest of its nonfiction murder genre is from the first chapter we (the readers) already know who the criminals are. The author Simon Baatz (who usually writes stories on medicine and science) did not focus on dropping hints throughout the text and using suspects to entice the reader to continue reading. Instead Baatz gives you every piece of the case and later shocks you with the reasoning behind the murders. By doing this he takes away some of the emotional impact and leans more toward the phycology behind why people murder in the first place.
The brutal murder of 1924 in Chicago will forever be engraved in the memories of the Franks family. Their son Bobby Franks was taken off the streets while walking home, the same thing he always did after school. His parents Flora Franks and Jacob Franks at the time had no idea that they would never see one of their youngest boys ever again. An emotion that Baatz expresses by describing n great detail how the Franks family as individuals reacted to the events that unfolded during that never-ending nightmare. According to Baatz, Mrs. Franks loved her sons "assertiveness, his independent spirit, his ambition," (Baatz 5).
To commit such a crime to another human being you would naturally assume that the criminal has to be deranged and clinically insane. The most disturbing and interesting aspect to the book is that the murders Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb showed no signs of being deranged. Both Leopold and Loeb, had no problems telling right from wrong and were perceived to be very intelligent. It turns out Loeb was the smarter of the two, he knew Leopold's weaknesses and used them to keep Leopold from disagreeing with him. The scarcest thought created by this book is that they could have literally gotten away with murder. John Steele Gordon said it best in his review of For the Thrill of It for the New York Times when he said; "Together they formed a sort of yin and yang of evil"(Gordon).
Baatz does a very good job of taking the reader back to the 1920's. He also has a way of keeping the reader confused, waiting for a reason and an explanation that would explain how these teenagers could bring themselves to murder a young boy. This book is astonishing because it uses real facts to keep you intrigued and always wanting to read the next page. The story of why Bobby Franks was murdered will forever leave audiences amazed and with questions.
Simon Baatz takes a very different approach. He doesn't try to explain WHY anything happened but he does go into great detail about WHAT happened. He tells the story in an "as it happened" way, complete with the thoughts of the participants, almost reminiscent of Capote's In Cold Blood. Which is not to say that Baatz achieves the heights or the insights Capote did. And how could he? Capote spoke to the murderers, Leopold and Loeb are long dead.
This is a risky narrative choice and combined with Baatz's tendency to cut away from the main story to detail (and I do mean detail) another case with direct bearing on or implications for L&L's case it's not always a success. Either we're "in the moment" or we're not, it's hard to have it both ways. It's even harder when those segues are tangents about the prosecutor's career or Clarence Darrow's defense of the LA Times bombers. (After half a dozen of these "shocking" Chicago murders you have to wonder what exactly was in the water in Chicago back then.) Baatz does draw on a mountain of available documentation to recreate L&L's interrogation and trials, even their crime itself and often does create a sense of immediacy.
I'm still hard pressed to give this book anything better than 3 stars. Baatz's prose is decent, his research seems impeccable but ... it just doesn't add up to much. I feel well-informed now on what happened in the case (and I knew just the bare outlines before) but the nagging sense of why or what it means is more acute. Aside from the fact that Nathan "Babe" Leopold and Richard Loeb were complete jerks and that Richard Loeb wasn't the "genius" he was purported to be, I'm not sure that being better informed has helped me to draw any conclusions about the case on my own. It remains not so much enigmatic as pointless.
If you're very interested in the Leopold and Loeb case but don't know the details or if you have an interest in the evolution of insanity defenses, this book might be of interest to you. (Not having read any other books on the case I can't offer a comparison.) If you're a fan of popular history or true crime this might be of interest if you're already interested in the era, otherwise this is probably too specialized for general interest. Either way, take advantage of Amazon's preview option before purchasing - the narrative method didn't bother me but it might be annoying for some readers.
Kindle note: there's evidence here of yet another crime, that of a publisher failing to edit the ebook version. Nearly all the hyphens from the printed text are absent from the Kindle version along with many commas and semicolons. You get used to it after awhile but it certainly doesn't help to get bogged down by an apparent run-on-sentence when the narrative is supposed to convey a sense of immediacy.
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Composers & Musicians > Jazz
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > United States
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Crime & Criminals
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > True Crime > Murder & Mayhem
- Books > History > Americas > United States > State & Local
- Books > Law > Legal History