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For Educators

Crimes Of The Century
From Leopold and Loeb to O.J. Simpson
Gilbert Geis, Leigh B. Bienen

Northeastern University Press
1998 • 288 pp. 10 illus. 6 x 9"
Criminal Justice / Law

$27.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-427-1

"The authors offer a fair analysis of celebrated cases that address the need to see that true justice is done."—Kirkus Reviews

The story of five dramatic trials that dazzled the media and captivated the American public.

In compelling narrative, the authors probe the sensational cases of Nathan F. Leopold, Jr., and Richard A. Loeb, the Scottsboro "boys," Bruno Richard Hauptmann, Alger Hiss, and O.J. Simpson, highlighting significant lessons about criminal behavior and the administration of criminal justice.

Each case study details the crime, the police investigation, and the court proceedings, profiles the major players, and examines the outcome and aftermath of the trial. The authors untangle the perplexities surrounding the cases and illuminate the many mysteries that remain unsolved today. These celebrated trials reveal issues of overzealous prosecution, sloppy police work, judicial bias, race, class, and ethnic struggles, and the role of wealth in securing a competent defense. They also show how the temper of the times and frenzied media coverage heightened the intensity of drama in the cases.


"What makes the book so enjoyable and worthwhile-beyond the riveting, sometimes gory details of the misdeeds it chronicles-is its sophisticated exploration of the myriad social and intellectual currents that combine to create a crime of the century."—Jonathan S. Shapiro, American Lawyer

"A gripping book."—Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times

"For legal scholars as well as social historians, this work is a valuable tool, and laymen should find it an enjoyable read."—Booklist

Gilbert Geis is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former President of the American Society of Criminology and recipient of its Edwin H. Sutherland Award for outstanding research. He is the co-author of A Trial of Witches: A Seventeenth-Century Witchcraft Prosecution. Leigh B. Bienen is a Senior Lecturer at the Northwestern University School of Law. A former public defender, she has published numerous articles on homicide, the death penalty, juries, and sex offenses. She is the co-author of Jurors and Rape.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:12:55 -0500