For the Thrill of It

For the Thrill of It It was a crime that shocked the nation the brutal murder in Chicago in of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience Nathan Leopold and Richard Loe

  • Title: For the Thrill of It
  • Author: Simon Baatz
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 405
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • It was a crime that shocked the nation the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectuals too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them When they were apprehended, state s attorney Robert Crowe was certain that no defense could saveIt was a crime that shocked the nation the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectuals too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them When they were apprehended, state s attorney Robert Crowe was certain that no defense could save the ruthless killers from the gallows But the families of the confessed murderers hired Clarence Darrow, entrusting the lives of their sons to the most famous lawyer in America in what would be one of the most sensational criminal trials in the history of American justice.Set against the backdrop of the 1920s a time of prosperity, self indulgence, and hedonistic excess in a lawless city on the brink of anarchy For the Thrill of It draws the reader into a world of speakeasies and flappers, of gangsters and gin parties, with a spellbinding narrative of Jazz Age murder and mystery.

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      Published :2019-08-27T19:45:51+00:00

    About "Simon Baatz"

    1. Simon Baatz

      Simon Baatz received his PhD in history at the University of Pennsylvania He now teaches legal history at John Jay College in New York.Q A with Simon Baatz about Girl on the Velvet Swing.What attracted you to this subject It s a sensational story that resonates with recent events in our own time A sixteen year old girl arrives in New York and meets a wealthy, influential man three times her age Stanford White lures Evelyn Nesbit to his apartment on a pretext, drugs her and sexually assaults her Four years later she marries a millionaire playboy, Harry Thaw, who shoots and kills White in a crowded theatre What could be sensational than that What was most enjoyable about your research There were 14 daily newspapers in New York at the time and they all fastened on the scandal to boost circulation The reporters interviewed everyone who had something to say about the affair and the newspaper articles were invariably written in a lively, engaging style I have included many quotations in the book and I should say here that these quotations, including the dialogue, were always taken verbatim from contemporary newspaper accounts I have taken great care to be faithful to the sources listed in the endnotes Nothing has been invented or imagined.What is new and noteworthy about The Girl on the Velvet Swing Previous authors have written about the murder, but their accounts have all relied disproportionately on Evelyn Nesbit s 1934 autobiography, Prodigal Days But Nesbit s book, written three decades after the murder, is not entirely reliable she confuses some details and she occasionally contradicts herself The newspapers of the day were generally trustworthy their accounts corroborate each other and Girl on the Velvet Swing, because it is based on those contemporary accounts, is, I believe, the most accurate telling of the murder and its aftermath.What relevance does this story have today There have been many scandalous revelations in the last decade about the behavior of well connected, influential men the allegations against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein are only the most recent and this book is a reminder that predatory behavior is not something new but has existed, unfortunately, throughout American history The difference between our time and the last century is that everyone now has access to the Internet and it has become correspondingly difficult to conceal sexual crimes against women If Evelyn Nesbit, for example, had not married Harry Thaw and if Thaw had not shot Stanford White, no one would ever have known about the sexual assault This is not to say, of course, that our society is perfect in this regard far from it but only that many people now have a way to publicize crimes against women and children.


    1. Like most of you, I’ve spent a fair amount of time plotting the perfect murder. Maybe you’ve just gotten an earful from some nemesis, and you spend the next hour of your life plotting their demise, a demise that would be untraceable to you. Perhaps you pondered the utility of stabbing someone with an icicle (which would then melt away), or smothering someone with a pillow, and then putting a cheeseburger in both their hands (so that it’d look like cardiac arrest). Maybe you’ve thought ab [...]

    2. This is one of the most boring true crime books I have read. When I read a book of this sort, I want to know about the crime, the criminals, the victims, and even the way a particular crime resulted in changing the law or society. What I DO NOT want is a biography of the lawyers involved in the trial. What I am not looking for in a book of this sort is a list of cases and personal beliefs of the lawyers. Moreover, what I certainly don’t want is judging these lawyers for doing their job. This b [...]

    3. *Okay this is when I press up my MwyTotal mNyuERD glasses up with my middle finger and let loose a giant rant* I am quite disappointed with this book. I have been fascinated with the Leopold and Loeb case for many years now, and have read a considerable amount on the subject matter to be pretty well-versed in it. That being said, I found some major flaws of the factual kind running throughout this book, which makes me highly doubt the validity of it. This book is marketed in a very sensationalis [...]

    4. I suppose that anyone who has read about the career of Clarence Darrow is familiar with his famous defense of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold. In short, a little Jewish boy (Richard’s cousin!) from a wealthy Chicago family, Bobby Franks, was kidnapped after school and murdered by two intelligent and wealthy college students, both also Jewish. Suspicion initially fell on teachers at the school Bobby attended, the Harvard School, and despite lots of exculpatory evidence several of them were held [...]

    5. Simon Baatz's "For the the Thrill of It" must be considered the most authoritative account of the sensational crime of 1924, Nathan Leoplold and Richard Loeb's murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks.Almost by default, since, as the puzzled author points out in his afterword, his book is only the second to be written about the case in 30 years.As such, a reading of "For the Thrill of It" results in not a little bit of ambivalence. Baatz's research and detail,are impressive---but may perhaps be consid [...]

    6. This book was pretty disappointing because it provides no real historical context. The jacket and all of the positive reviews refer to the book's backdrop of hedonistic 1920s Chicago, but this is hardly explored. Instead the author (Baatz) chooses to focus on the tiniest details of the case and never gives the reader the bigger picture. While the book disappoints as a history, it also lacks the intrigue endemic to the more sensationalist true crime genre. It's as if Baatz intentionally sucked al [...]

    7. (Most over-used words in the genre of true crime: "shocked" and "shocking.")For the Thrill of It suffers from a number of problems, the first and probably worst of which is that Leopold and Loeb just aren't that interesting. Or, perhaps, the ways in which they are interesting are things that this book failed to illuminate.Baatz is an academic historian deliberately trying to write a "popular" book, which is not an auspicious combination. He says in his author's note that he wanted to write about [...]

    8. This one deserves at least 6 stars for effort and completeness, about 2 or 3 for the telling. Could anyone make the Leopold-Loeb case boring? Baatz, a history prof, manages it for much of the book. There's no doubt that this is and will probably remain the definitive study of the case, and it brings out in horrific detail the socially abandoned minds of the killers. In today's terms, they would certainly be called psychopaths, but even within that category they seem unique. Garrulous, confident, [...]

    9. This was a super interesting read on many levels. Two boys in their teens committed the "perfect crime" or so they thought. They spent the better part of a year planning to murder someone, anyone long as they could get away with it, just "For the Thrill of It."On a personal level, I found this book to be fascinating, because the crime happens just blocks away from where my Grandparents and Great Grandparents were living at the time in the 1920's. All of the streets and places discussed in the bo [...]

    10. I lived three blocks from the Franks' family mausoleum and never knew it. wish I could leash up Buddy and walk over there now. I suppose in the 20's killing for the sake of killing was a horrifically novel idea then. Perhaps in our time we are numb to the concept.

    11. Definitely a detailed look into one of the most infamous cases in Chicago history. This book combined my favorite thingsChicago history, the 20s and a murder mystery. SCORE.

    12. Thoroughly researched and a very cool look at Chicago in the 1920's. I was surprised that the book was so focused on the competing scientific evidence used to explain the crime at that time.

    13. Prior to reading this, I knew Leopold and Loeb as one of the most sensational crimes of the 1920s. However I did not know much beyond the fact that they killed a young boy and were caught because one of them accidentally dropped a pair of unusual prescription eye-glasses next to the body. Therefore, it was a little surprising that a couple of supposed geniuses could be so stupid. Of course the crime itself may not have been indicative of terribly good judgment; but considering that it had been p [...]

    14. One Sentence Summary - The true story of two sociopathic lovers, their murder plot, and how their ensuing trial showcases the legal perception of mental illness during the 1920’s.Full Review:In the world of notorious, romantic criminal duos, most of us are likely to recall figures like “Bonnie and Clyde,” but we would be remiss to forget about those infamous clandestine lovers and Jazz Age murders: Nathaniel Leopold and Richard Loeb. Simon Baatz’s novel, For the Thrill of It, provides us [...]

    15. Proclaimed "The Crime of the Century" - until sadly superseded by more heinous murders as the 20th century progressed - the "Thrill Killing of Bobby Franks" shocked Chicago and the country in May, 1924. The 14 year old son of wealthy parents was kidnapped and murdered near his home and school on Chicago's South Side. When his murderers were caught, they turned out to be 19 year old boys, from the same social milieu as the victim. When asked why they committed the murder, Richard Loeb and Nathan [...]

    16. A masterful, well-researched engrossing book primarily about the murder and sentencing of Leopold and Loeb. While the murder and court case are thoroughly covered (some details like the psychological profiles and tests run a bit too much maybe), I was interested more in the implications of what the public's reaction was to the case. This was alluded to in many spots but never directly addressed in a chapter format (which because of the title I was sort of expecting).In the age of Court TV and mu [...]

    17. Interesting and highly-detailed look at the vicious murder of 14 year-old Bobby Franks by two petulant, rich, amoral teenage boys in 1924 Chicago. Baatz does a solid job of explaining Loeb's and Leopold's backgrounds, their plotting of the murder, and the actual murder. That part of the book was riveting. Then, it slows down considerably when he devotes a chapter each to defense attorney Clarence Darrow, and Cook County State's Attorney Robert Crowe. I understand why he went into such detail abo [...]

    18. The story of Leopold and Loeb has often been told in fictional form, including the films "Rope" and "Compulsion". However, the real story hasn't had a complete telling until Simon Baatz' "For the Thrill of It". Although the author tries to tell it in a literary style, the book comes off as more of a Law and Order-style procedural, but that isn't a negative criticism. The attention to detail as well as using direct quotes to act as dialogue make this a compelling read, more of a narrative non-fic [...]

    19. This book details the kidnapping,murder and attempted ransom of 14 year old Bobby Franks in May,1924. The perpetrators were Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Both were rich, spoiled, and above average in intelligence. The crime was done for the thrill and see if they could get away with it. The victim was chosen at random. The author tells the story of their lives, the planning of the crime and its aftermath. The author developes the society as it existed at the time and puts the crime in context [...]

    20. An incredibly well researched, meticulous account of the murder, but especially the psych exams and hearing (not trial) of these two teenage murderers. The problem is, it’s a bit too meticulous. Too much detail, whole sections of the hearing transcriptions are here. The psych exam results are especially dry. I can appreciate the historical significance of this book, apparently the only legitimate history there is. But it doesn’t make all that compelling of reading. I’d have liked more cont [...]

    21. Recommended to me by a friend (thank you, jv poore!) who saw it listed in a HuffPost article titled, "9 True Crime Books That Will Absolutely Disturb You."Interesting, though I will admit I got a little bored during the long and (in my opinion) drawn out section dealing with the courtroom testimony. Much was made of Leopold's and Loeb's mental capacity at the time, when psychoanalytic research was still fairly new in and of itself. From the murderers' lack of emotion or empathy, they're clearly [...]

    22. Did not find the author very good and found a couple errors (about Loeb's time at the University of Michigan). I am surprised, also, that Baatz barely ever strayed from the effects on the two murderers themselves -- very little info on the impact on the city, the law, or on the Franks family. It's jarring also how Baatz just suddenly makes a pronouncement, like "Darrow's psychological defense was a failure" without much evidence. Baatz really painted a negative picture of Clarence Darrow that I [...]

    23. This was an excellent read, both interesting and detailed, about the real trial of the 20th century. I remember my parents discussing it when Leopold finally gained parole, and the horror of the incident is echoed in the movies, Compulson and Rope. The emphasis in this telling is the legal and psychiatric backgrounds of the trial and the aftermath, and Baatz manages to make what could be very dry testimony relevant and interesting. I recommend this book very highly.

    24. fascinating courtroom drama. A book that covers what happens to Leopold and Loeb after their convictions for kidnapping and murder. Started my current interest in Clarence Darrow

    25. Only moderately thrilling. Not the author's fault, really, since Leopold and Loeb were pretty not-thrilling guys.

    26. Most people know about the story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two college boys from affluent Chicago families who murdered young Bobby Franks just 'for the thrill of it', to see if they could plan the perfect murder and get away with it. The fascinating element, I think, is the 'why', and this book gives a detailed background, in which we discover that Leopold was a bright, hardworking but socially inept boy who became infatuated with the feckless, hard drinking, handsome and popular Loeb [...]

    27. In 1924, the murder of fourteen year-old Bobby Franks caught the attention of the nation. Bobby was lured into a car by his seventeen year-old second cousin, Richard Loeb. Loeb and his friend, Nathan Leopold killed Bobby and dumped his body in a culvert on the Indiana border. It did not take the police long to discover the identities of the killers who readily confessed. What shocked Chicago and the rest of the country was the reason that Bobby needed to be killed.Nathan Leopold, Richard Loeb, a [...]

    28. I've always been fascinated by the Leopold and Loeb murder case. This book goes into some great detail of the relationship between the two young killers and the events leading up to the murder. It's astounding how naive those whom we would assume would have known better (like lawyers, judges, and psychiatrists) to be completely baffled by the idea that two young privileged men could kill without remorse and without a motive (I think today, Leopold and Loeb would be recognized as narcissistic psy [...]

    29. OK, I'm a crime nerd. I loved this book. I'll skip right over the fact that I associated these names with the crime of treason. When I questioned my husband he also came up with treason - whew! I'm not going crazy. Actually these two young men - 18 and 19 years old - were convicted of a horrendous murder in Chicago in the early 1920's "for the thrill of it" (their words). Simon Baatz has collected virtually everything that was written at the time about the crime and put it all together for us. W [...]

    30. I wanted to give this book more stars, but I've discovered at least some facts were not properly presented, especially when it comes to the period after the trial, more specifically (view spoiler)[ Richard's murder, as it seems he was not a sexual predator at all and the self-defense part was never proven(hide spoiler)]But the bulk of the book was quite fascinating, of course if you have a whoole lot of patience. There are very detailed accounts of court proceedings, defense strategies, newspape [...]

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