Simon Baatz | North Shore Congregation Israel | Literary Events | Chicago Reader
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Simon Baatz 

When: Sun., Nov. 2, 3 p.m. 2008
In the summer of 1924, Chicago--and much of the rest of the nation--was captivated by a sensational crime. Two exceptionally intelligent and privileged young men, Kenwood residents Nathan Leopold, 18, and Richard Loeb, 19, had been charged with the abduction and murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks. Their motive was sport: Leopold and Loeb wanted to see if they could get away with "the perfect crime." But they couldn't: a pair of Leopold's eyeglasses were discovered near where the boy's body was found, and after that irrefutable evidence was compiled against the brainiac teens. They caved under interrogation, each fingering the other as the instigator and the actual murderer. But the real drama in historian Simon Baatz's For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago follows their confessions. No one doubted Leopold and Loeb's guilt. The only question remaining was whether they should hang for their crime--and it's the courtroom battle between fierce death-penalty opponent Clarence Darrow and politically ambitious state's attorney Richard Crowe that really propels Baatz's narrative. --Jerome Ludwig

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