The Leo Frank Case

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The events surrounding the 1913 murder of the young Atlanta factory worker Mary Phagan and the subsequent lynching of Leo Frank, the transplanted northern Jew who was her employer and accused killer, were so wide ranging and tumultuous that they prompted both the founding of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League and the revival of the Ku Klux Klan. The Leo Frank Case was the first comprehensive account of not only Phagan’s murder and Frank’s trial and lynching but also the sensational newspaper coverage, popular hysteria, and legal demagoguery that surrounded these events.

Forty years after the book first appeared, and more than ninety years after the deaths of Phagan and Frank, it remains a gripping account of injustice. In his preface to the revised edition, Leonard Dinnerstein discusses the ongoing cultural impact of the Frank affair.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Eighty-five years ago the murder of Mary Phagan and the subsequent trial and lynching of the accused killer, Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager from the North, was the event that prompted B'nai B'rith to found the Anti-Defamation League. Dinnerstein not only tells the story of Phagan's and Frank's deaths, but he also places Frank's trial and lynching in the context of a rapidly changing southern society."—Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

"The author's thorough research, his careful organization of the findings, his cautious and dispassionate appraisal presented in lean and readable prose, all combine to inspire confidence that historians now have as nearly as they shall ever have the complete account of this tragedy.”—Journal of American History

"Dinnerstein's study offers a running commentary on these events in their relation to the general southern and local Georgian endemic xenophobia in 1913-1915; anti-Semitism and the response of organized Jewish self-defense; trial by sensational newspaper coverage; and 'case-building' by the police, inept legal defense, and judicial cowardice."—American Historical Review

"Much has been written about the famed Leo Frank case. . . . Of them all, Leonard Dinnerstein's The Leo Frank Case . . . has always been considered the standard work."—H-South

"Dinnerstein's analysis should interest students of southern history, anti-Semitism, civil liberties and social change. His conclusion, that unless societies 'eradicate the conditions which turn men into beasts. . . other Leo Franks will continue to appear,' seems particularly appropriate in our own time of racial strife and international conflict."—American Quarterly

"The author's research has been painstaking and thorough; material was located in many Northern as well as Georgian collections. The selection of Georgia newspapers was judicious and representative."—Journal of Southern History

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A professor of American history at the Univ. of Arizona, Dinnerstein investigates the brutal lynching of Leo Max Frank, who was accused of the 1913 murder of a 13-year-old girl in Atlanta. PW called this a ``crisp report.'' (December)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820331799
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 525,661
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Leonard Dinnerstein is an emeritus professor of American history at the University of Arizona, where he directed the Judaic Studies Program. His books include America and the Survivors of the Holocaust and Antisemitism in America.

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Table of Contents

Preface to Brown Thrasher Edition
Preface to First Edition
I The Murder of Mary Phagan 1
II Prejudice and Perjury 36
III An American Dreyfus 62
IV The First Appeal 77
V Tom Watson and William J. Burns 84
VI Wisdom Without Justice 107
VII Commutation 114
VIII Vigilante Justice 136
IX Aftermath 148
App. A Excerpt from the Appeal of Frank's Lawyers for a New Trial 163
App. B The Ballad of Mary Phagan 166
App. C Freeman's Tale 169
App. D A Georgian's View 172
Notes 179
Selected Bibliography 221
Index 243
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