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September 16, 1957 - Image 4

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P ge 4-The Michigan Daily Magazine

eer Levin s ompulsion
A FiIl Ind Sprawding Book With a Plea for Understanding
COMPULSION. By Meyer Lev- a perfect kidnaping and murder. bdstated ha an exenmllacy record rationalization. he goes beyond the class the day after the murder:
in. 495 pp.Ne :Si-one day put their plan into exe i prison and til h i a decent surface in examining their moti- we are allowed to see the act itself
m49 pp. New Ytik:lfefreleased, rations, and his speculations rane in a series of flashbacks through-
mon and Schuster. $5 Bobb rank s alst-minuite,m ;'n as far as a completei syn- out the first section. Even with all
on H ) EOF THE it::: e at ii botic Fceudhn interpretatien of the schetniti the pi ocete itself
sits i o it eto ist11easn Its i Mrs e the c ise is bittin itn e Isincredbly itie p1 and citimi sy -
ls te it thefti n 'ltossuide it of both tlhu1 h he i tibesiotis abot ac :like the Scott pittots wo stole
x T THIS 1HTING tieIeaehe 1 s fbos As ca s oespisetit cettit t tone ocf S s:ie tiy lte..e a
on .aht Lepsts setei.ee osd t to be a for the Cita i its Nei s at the The snovel ra e Pwee ta i fit beit tit
comtmttutain i t ot. tid te t t t s ele ie Afte titte of the it. lie isas init- fst-ictO accosit by Sid Siltet Acid to..h final picked up Pr
deeio ptsibisis sits tlie eteasect Ptb stit snils cotupa i- m tl si ed itt the situation the campus cotsrespindent fot tLe the police h ie ot the ve
for a nts 1 r e Asl it s den y Clace Dat ot Now. rc ttiaMt If ye-Is late. ie Chitcao Globe t ill ila Gaits of retlae before the coiusise
sents dsbtlut etise lis ex et e Po s settetad to life hasV 'trtet "CiniOt a semi- Nessi ani th'd-peton examintia pooft by the ciufafeur is dis-
letat prist iesi d hi t a letOhS fictional accounct of it tions of both Ante Sttraus , Loebi cotc cid and Artie c f e ss e s.
tact pmic:;tama as a ea iers ofti p irse Letin ke Dosteisk y anid Sten- and Judi Steiner ,Leopold) .It is T coaut the fist section, alt
pig its mii a extetetts inl Hia Lb is m ed b I itlis attentted is insesti- divided into ftwo sectiotts, site iig tune chase, sstetse huitli
er mtede iceectthat Ite a fe iotier os reseted his eats atid sdecosit fiti t1; ps dealm tsith the sti crie atd ip sud despite the iihausint i-
isitg half if te-eteiea otch homis u idsties boi;it ts chalo s of s tatlts iie P the pitisitu the other ith the triil, tire of the crime. we find telts
Leopold ease still be Iised to pi it u i leaed oti sitet prelogatise of fictional 1t- hoping that they, or at least Judd,
free. Naiiat Letanlc ist beets is - seabledioiimiCd. tP p l lions otet they -fit." it. ,HAT MADE theim do it? Arte will not becaught.
pcsted tilt e hits ste teeuis He Hae Lootl d pautwipatton thissh le has stk m . handsome atid popular. For in the feir shod days be-
tiexperi- itiftl to the etical outtite Judd quiet and studiois. Both boys tireen the murder and the ippre-
tic sett tc ai ee Ad it E Steseisoit thet st ts it the Tual cas were from wealthy families, both heasioln. Judd secis on his way
iua s i Itli ut i his 99- As he pOis t itt sould be im- had biat futures ahead of to redemption through Ruth, Sid's
tcdec of eiby Ft k seat5 tetince to Ias yeits. m na hOsbhe to ksos everything that them. girl, probably a fictional character.
r tios. of css the Li u t. tot Isarote sset ot in both oys' minds, but ist made them schete for Rith senses instinctively that thiet
ft sld te is te Pe His pes ss dttied it 19s is tli s the sat it sorks for hIt. moath oter a kitdnapiag lan tat i set ia wron ith Judd and,
kr iit this asals of Tei e eissta tr a rehieasag in Like the exauith psychiatrists nvold aal i a i he n tt , attost
Cusit cr:ite. The two boy. t ud list December He is itt thatease. Lev retises to Sc- complicated ransom nstiuctions tcaches himt. But the knowledge of
T t s setutst I u - iai Ii tla for comutation celt the tstegation that Leopold but not pick their vietim until a hits cie keeps him from her. He
its of C2ca o. afer inhi sf ot souts tit le tas been u tf- and Loeb sere out to prove Nietz- moment befsue the actual irdt has sever, ip to now admitted that
hei ov the ctm:i o oh fie tished, las beet ielsa- sche tihat as anythita nare thian The toset bems ih Judd in love colth be anything more than
a biological urge. And now it is too
Tate.

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BUT THE SYMPATHY we feel
for Judd is swept away as we
see him nt d Artie tryitig In match
wits wvitha the assistant state's
attoriney, as ihe circumsiatial
evidence closes in and the confes-
sion comes.
Although it isn't overtly dis-
closed tntil the tria, it is Arte
who is the strong man in the
strange compact: Judd worships
him. Gradually, the public concept
of Judd as the mastermind is re-
placed with revelations of Artie's
other crimes, his pathological lying,
the fact that it was he, not Judd,
who wielded the chisel that killed
Paulie Kessler.
Yet, as Levin points out, the two
were inextricably bound together
in the crime: the blending of their
distorted personalities produced
the atrocity and they must be con-
sidered together.
But they are still distinct per-
sonalities-Artie verging on schizo-
phrenia, Judd on paranoia. And
Judd is the one, somehow, that we
'understand; he is the more obvi-
ously human of the two. Through-
out the book, Artie remains, psy-
chologically, a shadowy figure, in-
comprehensible, far removed from
the sphere of human values.
The three-month trial produces
a strean of witnesses ,and perhaps
even the great Jonathan Wilk
(Darrow) could not have obtained
the life sentence he sought with-
out occasional bumbling on the
part of State's Attorney Horn. But
the life sentence comes, ultimately,
not because of their partial de-
rangement, but because of their
youth.
Yet the amount of testimony
offered by psychiatrists who probed
back into the boys' real motivations
in itself offered a sort of landmark
in medical jurisprudence. And it
raises the question that perhaps
will never be answred-how re-
sponsible are we for our acts?
In that respect, Wilk's plea for
Straus and Steiner is an almost
universal defense and a scathing
attack on capital punishment as
the solution to murder.
VEN IF LEVIN had constructed
the crime out of whole cloth,
the book would have validity and
excitement. Coming, as it does,
from actuality, it is all the more
effective because it is so terribly
relevant to the last few decades.
The Nietzschean philosophy es-
poused by Hitler trickles through it,
reminding us of what came after.
The senseless, brutal crimes that
have occured since then are echoes.
And Sid Silver constantly reminds
himself and, in the process, us,
that we are all sometimes very
close to the subhuman bestiality
exhibi ed by Straus and Steiner.
But it ia not just a documentary
of the two boys-all the characters
See LEVIN'S, Page 9

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