The Case That Never Dies: The Lindbergh Kidnapping

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Overview

The Case That Never Dies places the Lindbergh kidnapping, investigation, and trial in the context of the Depression, when many feared the country was on the edge of anarchy. Gardner delves deeply into the aspects of the case that remain confusing to this day, including Lindbergh’s dealings with crime baron Owney Madden, Al Capone’s New York counterpart, as well as the inexplicable exploits of John Condon, a retired schoolteacher who became the prosecution’s best witness. The initial investigation was hampered by Colonel Lindbergh, who insisted that the police not attempt to find the perpetrator because he feared the investigation would endanger his son’s life. He relented only when the child was found dead.

After two years of fruitless searching, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German immigrant, was discovered to have some of the ransom money in his possession. Hauptmann was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. Throughout  the book, Gardner pays special attention to the evidence of the case and how it was used and misused in the trial. Whether Hauptmann was guilty or not, Gardner concludes that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of first-degree murder.

Set in historical context, the book offers not only a compelling read, but a powerful vantage point from which to observe the United States in the 1930s as well as contemporary arguments over capital punishment.

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Editorial Reviews

Trenton Times

"The Case That Never Dies does not tell us definitively who kidnapped and killed Charlie. But I would not be surprised if other readers also conclude that had Gardner, with his curiosity, keen understanding of human behavior and first-rate analytical mind, been involved with the original investigation, this story would have had a significantly different ending."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813533858
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 5/13/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author


LLOYD C. GARDNER, a professor of history at Rutgers University, is the author of over a dozen books on U.S. foreign relations. Among the awards he has received are two Fulbright Professorships and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
1. Sudden Fame 5
2. Betty Gow's Journey 11
3. Mickey Rosner's Game 34
4. Man of Mystery 57
5. Interrogations 88
6. Expert Opinions: Money, Handwriting, and a Ladder 112
7. Confrontations 143
8. In District Attorney Foley's Office 173
9. Mr. Wilentz Builds His Case 199
10. Visions of a Ladder 222
11. The Search for Isidor Fisch 243
12. Judge Trenchard's Courtroom 267
13. Trial by Experts 298
14. Cross Examinations 321
15. The Governor and the Man in the Death House 358
16. The Palate of Mortals 397
Notes 417
Bibliography 463
Index 467
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