Compulsion: A Novel

Compulsion: A Novel

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Judd Steiner and Artie Straus have it all: wealth, intelligence, and the world at their feet as part of the elite, upper-crust Jewish community of 1920s Chicago. Artie is handsome, athletic, and popular, but he possesses a hidden, powerful sadistic streak and a desire to dominate. Judd is a weedy introvert, a genius who longs for a companion whom he can idolize and worship. Obsessed with Nietzsche’s idea of the superhuman, both boys decide to prove that they are above the laws of man by arbitrarily picking and murdering a Jewish boy in their neighborhood.

This new edition of Meyer Levin's classic literary thriller Compulsion reintroduces the fictionalized case of Leopold and Loeb – once considered the "crime of the century" – to a new generation. This incisive psychological portrait of two young murderers seized the imagination of an era and is generally recognized as paving the way for the first non-fiction novel. Compulsion forces us to ask what drives some further into darkness, and some to seek redemption.

Heartbreaking as it is gripping, Compulsion is written with a tense and penetrating force that led the Los Angeles Times to call Levin, “the most significant Jewish writer of his times.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941493038
Publisher: Fig Tree Books LLC
Publication date: 04/14/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 128,339
File size: 675 KB

About the Author

Meyer Levin (1905 - 1981) was called by the Los Angeles Times "the most significant American Jewish writer of his times." Norman Mailer referred to him as "one of the best American writers working in the realistic tradition." Throughout his 60 years of professional work, Levin was a constant innovator, reinventing himself and stretching his literary style with remarkable versatility.

When Levin died in 1981 he left behind a remarkable and diverse body of work that not only reflected the incredible life he led but chronicled the development of the entire Jewish consciousness during the 20th century.

Marcia Clark began practicing law as a criminal defense attorney. She became a prosecutor in the L.A. District Attorney's Office in 1981, and spent ten years in the Special Trials Unit where she handled a number of high profile cases prior to the O.J. Simpson case, including the prosecution of stalker/murderer Robert Bardo, whose conviction for the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer resulted in legislation that offered victims better protection from stalkers as well as increased punishment for the offenders.

She has published three novels which feature Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight - Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees, and Killer Ambition and is currently at work on her fourth novel.

Gabriel Levin has published five collections of poetry, most recently Coming Forth By Day (Carcanet, 2014) and a collection of essays The Dune's Twisted Edge: Journeys in the Levant (The University of Chicago Press, 2013). He has as well published several collections of translation, including a selection of Yehuda Halevi's poetry, Poems from the Diwan (Anvil, 2002). He lives in Jerusalem.

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Compulsion 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It really captured my passion for criminal psychology and elevated it! I dissected every word of this book, and each word was a new revelation. It changed the way I think about the word Justice. I first read this book over three years ago and I haven't stopped begging others to read it.
mstrust on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two eighteen year-old boys, Judd Steiner and Artie Strauss, are both brilliant, having graduated from the University of Chicago already. They are the sons of millionaires and live a life of luxury as neighbors in a wealthy section of Chicago. Artie is one of the most popular boys on campus and has a reputation with the girls. Many see his relationship with Judd as one of pity for the small, weird boy who no one else likes.When the young son of another neighbor, also a millionaire, is found stuffed in a drainage pipe, Artie can't stop himself from taking part in the investigation. He leads newspaper reporters to the clues, even blurts out how he would have done it. He knows everything because he and Judd committed the murder. The arrest and trial of the two boys reveals their bizarre relationship and the fact that they murdered for no other reason than to have the experience and get away with it.This is an account of the Leopold and Loeb murder case of the 1920's, when two wealthy boys murdered another local boy. They were defended by Clarence Darrow, represented here as the character of Jonathan Wilk. There is much delving into the sick minds of the murderers, a lot of psychology, philosophy and some surprisingly graphic language and images, considering this book was written in 1956. I like that Levin wrote from the perspective of Sid Silver, a classmate of the killers and cub reporter to one of the major newspapers. The book has a tone of both sympathy for the waste of three lives while giving the honest facts of the callousness of the behavior of the murderers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago