THE LEOPOLD AND LOEB FILES ON WGN MIDDAY FIX

Nina Barrett speaks on WGN's Midday Fix about The Leopold and Loeb Files

WATCH THE CHICAGO TONIGHT SEGMENT

Nina Barrett talks to Phil Ponce on Chicago’s most-watched TV news-magazine show

LEOPOLD AND LOEB: 90 YEARS LATER, FINDING THE TRUTH

Join Nina Barrett on a visit to the cemetery where the Leopold, Loeb, and Franks families are buried

LEOPOLD & LOEB ON FACEBOOK

CHICAGO BY THE BOOK: 101 PUBLICATIONS THAT SHAPED THE CITY AND ITS IMAGE, released just days ago by The Caxton Club and published by the University of Chicago Press, includes two articles on books stemming from the Leopold & Loeb case, one by Gary T. Johnson on Clarence Darrow’s plea in defense of Leopold and Loeb, published as a book in 1924 (chap. 44); the other Nina Barrett’s discussion of Meyer Levin’s 1956 novel COMPULSION (chap. 79). The book itself is a phenomenal achievement, a history of a great world city as told by books and other publications that have borne witness to events great and small through almost 200 years. ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Connect with us on Facebook

About the Book

The Leopold and Loeb Files
An Intimate Look at One of America's Most Infamous Crimes

In 1924, University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were young, rich, and looking for a thrill. The crime that came next—the brutal, cold-blood murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks—would come to captivate the country and unfold into what many dubbed the crime of the century. As the decades passed, the mythology surrounding the unlikely killers continued to capture the interest of new generations, spawning numerous books, fictionalizations, and dramatizations.

In The Leopold and Loeb Files, author Nina Barrett returns to the primary sources—confessions, interrogation transcripts, psychological reports, and more—the kind of rare, pre-computer court documents that were usually destroyed as a matter of course. Until now, these documents have not been part of the murder’s central narrative. This first-of-its-kind approach allows readers to view the case through a keyhole and look past all of the stories that have been spun in the last 90 years to focus on the heart of the crime.

Carefully curated and steeped in historical context from Barrett, this book allows the surviving Leopold and Loeb documents, most of which are in the form of either transcripts or narrative, to function as both artifact and literature, recounting the moves of the murder and sentencing hearing as well as addressing the questions that continue to fascinate—issues of morality, sanity, sexuality, religious assimilation, parental grief and responsibility, remorse, and the use of the death penalty.

This comprehensive, ephemera-driven history allows the reader to act as a fly on the wall and speaks powerfully to the unsolved mysteries of this distinct crime, in which the guilt of the perpetrators is unambiguous but almost everything else is open to interpretation.

Browse the Book Buy the Book