Crimes of the Century

Sensational crimes, notorious criminal cases – these books and films depict some of the most famous “crimes of the century.” Check out one of these works in conjunction with the talk at the Library with Howard Blum, author of American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century.

Books by Howard Blum | Crimes of the Century – Nonfiction
Crimes of the Century – Fiction & Film

Books by Howard Blum

 Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century book jacket

American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century
By Howard Blum
A narrative history that vividly brings to life the original crime of the century, American Lightning shows the lasting impact that the 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times offices had on three remarkable individuals and, through them, the country itself.

The Eve of Destruction: The Untold Story of the Yom Kippur War
By Howard Blum
Based on declassified Israeli government documents and revealing interviews with soldiers, generals, and intelligence operatives on both sides of the conflict, The Eve of Destruction weaves a suspenseful, eye-opening story of war, politics, and deception. It also tells the moving human tale of the men and women who fought to maintain love and honor as their lives and destinies were swept up in the Yom Kippur War.

The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and World War II
By Howard Blum
From bestselling author Blum comes a gripping, true-life drama about three men, one heroic battle, and a campaign of vengeance and redemption that would alter the course of history.

The Gold of Exodus: The Discovery of the True Mount Sinai
By Howard Blum
Part high-tech treasure hunt, part modern-day spy thriller, and part biblical detective story, this action-packed tale is the remarkable true story of how Larry Williams, a self-made millionaire, and Bob Cornuke, a retired policeman and former SWAT team member, daringly infiltrated a top-secret Saudi Arabian military base to discover the exact location of Mount Sinai.

Find more books by Howard Blum in the library.

"Crimes of the Century" – Nonfiction

 From Leopold and Loeb to O.J. Simpson book jacket

Crimes of the Century: From Leopold and Loeb to O.J. Simpson
Gilbert Geis and Leigh B. Bienen
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 Ghosts of Hopewell: Setting the Record Straight in the Lindbergh Case
By Jim Fisher
In this illustrated examination of the Lindbergh kidnapping case, Jim Fisher seeks to set the record straight regarding Bruno Hauptmann's guilt in the crime of the century.

American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the "It" Girl, and the Crime of the Century
By Paula Uruburu
The story of Evelyn Nesbit is one of glamour, money, sex, and murder, and Uruburu weaves all of these elements into an elegant narrative that reads like the best fiction--only it's all true.

For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder that Shocked Chicago
By Simon Baatz
In the tradition of The Devil in the White City comes a riveting re-creation of one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century--the scandalous Leopold-Loeb murder case that shocked Chicago.

Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple
By Deborah Layton
Told by a former high-level member of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown survivor, Seductive Poison is the story of how one woman was seduced by one of the most notorious cults in recent memory and how she found her way back to sanity. From Waco to Heaven's Gate, the past decade has seen its share of cult tragedies. But none has been quite so dramatic or compelling as the Jonestown massacre of 1978, in which the Reverend Jim Jones and 913 of his disciples perished.

"Crimes of the Century" – Fiction & Film

 The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa book jacket

Valfierno: The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa
By Martín Caparrós
Valfierno is a brilliant fictionalization of the greatest art heist of the 20th century: the 1911 theft of the "Mona Lisa." The work features an engaging drama and unforgettable characters, as well as a compelling psychological portrait of a true mastermind.

The Lindbergh Child: The Atrocious Kidnapping and Murder of the Infant Son of America's Hero, Col. Charles A. Lindbergh
Written and illustrated by Rick Geary
Described as the crime of the (20th) century, the Lindbergh kidnapping is defined by highly publicized events, blackmail notes--false and otherwise--and a string of colorful characters wanting to help. Gifted cartoonist Rick Geary masterfully revisits this fascinating case with his trademark dark humor.

By E.L. Doctorow
Welcome to turn-of-the-century America. This classic Doctorow novel that interweaves a spellbinding story with a full-colored mosaic of a time, a place and a people losing their innocence and giving birth to an age when anything and everything goes.

Rope film

Rope (1948)
In this film based on the Leopold and Loeb case, two thrill-killers serve cocktails off a trunk holding a corpse. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Compulsion (1959)
A lawyer defends two young killers who tried to pull off the perfect crime, as in the 1920s Leopold-Loeb case. Directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Orson Welles.

Summer of Sam (1999)
Set during the torrid summer of 1977, best friends Vinny and Ritchie become obsessed with the idea that the Son of Sam is someone nearby and they take it upon themselves to catch him. As terror reigns the small Italian neighborhood, friends turn against each other and trust transforms into dread. Directed by Spike Lee.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.