Nothing but the Night: Leopold & Loeb and the Truth Behind the Murder That Rocked 1920s America

St. Martin’s. Sept. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781250272669. $29.99. CRIME
Extensively researched, this fascinating book by King and Wilson (co-authors of Lusitania: Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age) goes back nearly 100 years when 19-year-old Richard “Dickie” Loeb and Nathan “Babe” Leopold pled guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Loeb’s 14-year-old cousin. Leopold and Loeb had a dysfunctional relationship involving dominate/submissive fantasies, sexual games, and shared excitement for getting away with crimes. They were academically gifted—both having already finished college—and did not want for anything, except maybe more attention from their parents. They both pinned the actual murder on the other, and their sentencing hearing turned sensational as their lawyer attempted to save them from the death penalty. If Leopold and Loeb were found to be legally insane, it would have forced a jury trial. Their lawyer correctly decided it would be best to have a bench trial and pinned all hopes on a life sentence for them both, which he achieved.
VERDICT While the full truth of what happened may never be known, the authors make a compelling case for who the instigator was and will have readers debating the root cause.
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