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Compulsion (Tr)

by Meyer Levin

ISBN 0786703199 / 9780786703197 / 0-7867-0319-9
Publisher Carroll & Graf Publishers
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

"Before, we had thought the boys could only have committed the murder under some sudden dreadful impulse. But now we learned how the deed had been marked by a long design developed in full detail. What was new to us was this entry into the dark, vast area of death as an abstraction." The mid-'20s Leopold-Loeb case, called "the crime of the century," introduced Americans to a new type of murder: two privileged college students picked a child at random and killed him without a conventional motive, simply as an intellectual experiment. Meyer Levin's 1956 novel is historical fiction in the tradition of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy--both a compelling story and a meticulous analysis of the different psychologies of the two youths. Compulsion was called "a masterly achievement in literary craftsmanship" by Earle Stanley Gardner in the New York Times Book Review, and it inspired an award-winning film starring Orson Welles as Clarence Darrow. [via]