Selected by Marcia Clark
Most lawyers know Marcia Clark as the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, but she also has an impressive literary career. After publishing a New York Times best-selling account of the “trial of the century,” Clark turned to crime fiction, including her popular Samantha Brinkman series. Although Clark’s pick for the Journal’s list was first published in 1956, she found a loophole for my past-10-year limitation: Compulsion was re-released in April 2015.
“Based on the Leopold-Loeb case, in which two college students born to fabulously wealthy families murdered a 14-year-old boy, Levin debunks the popular theory that the murder was a ‘thrill killing,’ with an insightful analysis that draws heavily on the psychiatric reports and testimony in the case. What elevates this book above all others is the manner in which Levin explores how the social mores and biases of the time impacted the trial, and in doing so reveals the flaws that still affect our system of justice—and perhaps always will.”