This extraordinary book, a fictionalized narrative of 1924's "Crime of the Century," first met the public eye in 1956, three decades after the murder, the trial, and the imprisonment of two young killers. The author covered the trial as a cub reporter, and presciently recognized both the horror and the oddities of the crime. Subsequently he was an early entrant into Nazi concentration camps as a war correspondent. The highest level of the Nazi hierarchy adhered to the Übermensch theory promulgated by the 19th Century philosopher Nietzsche, on a macrocosmic scale; twenty years in the past, this had been offered as a thoughtful rationale by one of the two killers of Bobby Franks.
COMPULSION is acclaimed as the first "nonfiction novel," an account, in fictional form, of a factual crime: the premeditated, but scarcely efficient, murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks, by two intellectually precocious University of Chicago students, eighteen and nineteen at the time. This new edition includes material by Marcia Clark and Meyer Levin's son, Gabriel Levin. It should be widely read and comprehended.