Trials of the Century
Oct 16, 2019 12:00 PM
Mark Phillips
Trials of the Century
In every decade of the twentieth century, there was one sensational murder trial that riveted public attention and at the time was called "the trial of the century." This book tells the story of each murder case and the dramatic trial-and media coverage-that followed. Starting with the murder of famed architect Stanford White in 1906 and ending with the O.J. Simpson trial of 1994, the authors recount ten compelling tales spanning the century. Each is a story of celebrity and sex, prejudice and heartbreak, and all reveal how often the arc of American justice is pushed out of its trajectory by an insatiable media driven to sell copy. The most noteworthy cases are here--including the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Sam Sheppard murder trial ("The Fugitive"), the "Helter Skelter" murders of Charles Manson, and the O.J. Simpson murder trial. But some cases that today are lesser known also provide fascinating glimpses into the tenor of the time: the media sensation created by yellow journalist William Randolph Hearst around the murder trial of 1920s movie star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle; the murder of the Scarsdale Diet guru by an elite prep-school headmistress in the 1980s; and more. The authors conclude with an epilogue on the infamous Casey Anthony("tot mom")trial, showing that the twenty-first century is as prone to sensationalism as the last century. This is a fascinating history of true crime, justice gone awry, and the media often at its worst.
“For trial junkies—and who isn’t?—these riveting accounts of ten ‘trials of the century,’ one from each decade, are a must-read.
The stories tell us as much about the history of each decade as they do about the trials themselves.”
—Alan Dershowitz, law professor and best-selling author
“Riveting accounts of the ten most fascinating trials of the 20th century will keep pages turning compulsively.”
Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Onion Field