Read The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation by Dennis L. Breo William J. Martin Online


"Oh, my God, they are all dead!"On July 14th, 1966, Richard Franklin Speck swept through a quiet Chicago townhouse like a summer tornado and stabbed, strangled, and killed eight young nurses in a violent sexual rampage. By morning, only one nurse, Corazon Amurao, had miraculously survived, and her scream of terror was heard around the world.As the eight bodies were carried"Oh, my God, they are all dead!"On July 14th, 1966, Richard Franklin Speck swept through a quiet Chicago townhouse like a summer tornado and stabbed, strangled, and killed eight young nurses in a violent sexual rampage. By morning, only one nurse, Corazon Amurao, had miraculously survived, and her scream of terror was heard around the world.As the eight bodies were carried out of the small building, the coroner, who had seen the carnage up close, told a gathering crowd: "It is the crime of the century!"Now, on the 50th anniversary of the murders, the prosecutor who put Speck in prison for life (William J. Martin) and the author and journalist who won an award for his coverage of the crime (Dennis L. Breo) have teamed up to re-create the blood-soaked night that opened a new chapter in the history of American crime: mass murder. Their riveting and richly documented account reveals fascinating behind-the-scenes descriptions of Speck, the young nurses, the relentless manhunt and massive investigation, and the bold legal moves and painstaking preparation for the trial that returned a death sentence for Speck.Corazon Amurao, the nurse the killer left behind, confronted Speck at trial and told jurors, "This is the man!" Richard Speck was spared execution by Supreme Court rulings and here is the inside story of how he confessed to the murders in a sordid prison video made three years before his death of a heart attack in 1991. And here, in exclusive interviews and photos, is the life today of  the nurse who survived the crime that murdered American innocence.....

Title : The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 29995964
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 576 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation Reviews

  • Katherine Addison
    2018-09-09 06:50

    This book has one major flaw, and I'm going to talk about it right up front. It is co-written by a journalist and the lead prosecutor at Richard Speck's trial. The prosecutor is obviously a main character in the book, and they talk about him always in the third person and in a weirdly adulatory way, e.g.: "Although many casual observers found Martin to be cool and remote, he was underneath a very caring, emotional, warm man" (379). It's jarring and uncomfortable, and it makes me cringe. The book also exhibits a rather simplistic pro-cop, anti-media stance, and as I said in my review of The Gates of Janus: An Analysis of Serial Murder by England's Most Hated Criminal, Expanded Edition, you knew it was a snake. Richard Speck was a sociopath. Don't be surprised when he behaves like one.(I admit this is hard to do. Sexually sadistic sociopaths like Brady and Speck by their nature are abhorrent to non-sociopaths, and part of us is always going to be surprised and shocked by their crimes. We use emotionally charged words like "vile" and "horrific" and "evil" and all those things are accurate in our moral system, and I don't want for a moment to imply that that judgment is wrong. But I think it's also important to remember, although not to condone, that to sociopaths our moral system is meaningless. There is nothing inside them that tells them not to do evil. So seriously. It's a snake. Don't be surprised when it bites you.)Aside from that, this is an excellent book, a blow by blow account of the incredibly complicated process of prosecuting Richard Speck. I learned a great deal about how lawyers approach criminal trials, the octopus-like contingency planning that has to act as flying buttresses to every move they make in court. (That metaphor got away from me a little bit. Sorry.) Breo and Martin do an excellent job of contextualizing what Speck did on July 14 with the rest of what was going on in America in 1966 (race riots and the Vietnam War and Charles Whitman) and also paint a vivid picture of Chicago itself. Not surprisingly for a man with Martin's particular talents, the narrative is well-organized and coherent--or as coherent as a narrative of an inherently chaotic enterprise (remember the octopus) can be.Not being a sociopath, I do consider Richard Speck vile. He contributed nothing to the world except the rape-murder of eight young women in one night. And he couldn't even do that competently, because he forgot about the ninth woman and left her alive to testify against him. This book balances the horror of his crime against the genuinely heroic efforts of the police and Cook County prosecutors and the Public Defender's office to catch Speck, keep him safe from vigilante justice, respect all of his civil rights, give him a fair trial (oh the desperate, agonizing scrupulousness as the prosecutors try to block every possible grounds for an appeal), and prevent him from ever harming anyone else. Even though he escaped the death penalty (because the system, grinding slow, couldn't get him executed before the Supreme Court decision in 1971), he died of a heart attack in 1991 before a parole board got stupid enough to let him out. It's not, as Martin said after Speck's conviction, a victory that gives us any cause to rejoice or celebrate, but the officers of the law and the court did their duty, and Speck was not left free to continue raping and murdering the innocent. Justice is cold comfort.

  • Mariana
    2018-08-25 13:30

    Although long-winded and sometimes repetitive, this book is a thorough account of the murders of 8 nurses in Chicago back in 1966, plus the subsequent trial and the aftermath.This could have been about 100 pages shorter (or more, if you remove all the times the authors talked about Speck's life and times because fuck that guy, seriously), but I was all for the detailed proceedings of the trial and how brave and badass Corazon Amurao was when faced with Speck in court.If you're bored by the minutiae of an investigation and courtroom proceedings, then this book is probably not for you. Like I said, it is very detailed (to the point where there's a mini biography of every single person ever mentioned in the book, however small their involvement with the case is) and it drags in a lot of places. Maybe not the best true crime book I've read written by a prosecutor, but still pretty good!

  • FabulousRaye
    2018-09-13 12:28

    You should not have a woman with a sexy, breathy, bedroom type of voice narrate a book on murder and rape.

  • Kimberly Wells
    2018-08-22 12:57

    When I think of the infamous Speck murders, it never occurred to me that the trial would be anything more than a formality. After all, one of the most famous aspects of the case is the nurse that was able to hide and later identify her friends murderer. However, in this very interesting account of the trial, the lead prosecutor and co-author give an insiders glimpse not only into the murders and the manhunt, but into all of the things that could have gone wrong while getting to the verdict. In addition to the courtroom intrigue they give a vivid look into the the world and characters of Chicago during the 1960s. A fascinating (and very sad) read.

  • Dean Chanley
    2018-08-21 11:31

    Frighteningly spellbindingUnable to find the words to describe my feelings after reading this book. I graduated from high school in 1966 before this happened and joined the Army in September after it took place. Having a daughter who is now a nurse herself has magnified the horror of it all for me but has also increased and solidified my respect and admiration for all those who stepped up to the challenge of doing the right thing the right way at the right time from beginning to end regardless of cost or personal sacrifice. Excellently written.

  • Anne Cupero
    2018-09-09 07:49

    This book was well-written, mostly because the evidence was firsthand, from Bill Martin, the prosecutor. There were however, no interviews with Speck family members, with Corazon now, or with the few players still alive. But since Bill Martin is a co-writer, one definitely feels as though one was there, as the trial was unfolding. I would have liked to know where everyone is today, although we did get that about Corazon.

  • Marilyn Brown
    2018-09-12 14:52

    The facts behind the trial were of great interest Liked the detail narrative of the difficulties in convicting a mass murderer making sure there would be no cause for an appeal and that guilty would include a death sentence

  • Greg Jolley
    2018-09-18 12:36

    Brilliantly researched and told. A fine cautionary tale of evil.

  • ♥ Marlene♥
    2018-09-17 14:30

    I give it a 9 out of a 10.

  • Lucila Rodriguez
    2018-08-26 09:29

    Compré este audio libro no muy convencida de que me gustaría. Sin embargo, resultó en un increíble viaje de horror a lo más balo que se puede uno imaginar, y la lucha por parte del sistema de justicia, para restaurar el equilibrio en una sociedad sacudida fuertemente por sorpresa. Los autores describen en inicio los días previos al que sería conocido como “el crimen del siglo”, la vida de Richard Speck, quien el 13 de Julio de 1966 se convertiría en uno de los más infames criminales en la historia de Estados Unidos. Los autores hacen un recuento detallado de la noche del crimen, casi al minuto, y de cómo el asesino sujeta en sumisión a cada una de sus víctimas, y que luego de sus horrendos actos salió huyendo. Se describe además el trabajo minucioso de la policía de Chicago para capturar al único sospechoso, identificado por quien milagrosamente sobrevivió al ataque Corazon Amurao. El trabajo de la fiscalía pasará a la historia, por ser impecable, pues no solo se dedicó a probar sin dejar lugar a dudas, la culpabilidad de Speck, sino anticipar cualquier estrategia que el, hay que reconocer, brillante defensor público asignado a Speck, pudiera imaginar, e intentar bloquearla. Se describe con detalle el trabajo de la fiscalía, inclusive una detallada biografía del inculpado, y luego el inicio del juicio, con elección de jurado y los testigos más importantes. Este libro resultará muy interesante para los que gustan leer sobre historia de crímenes e historias legales. Al final, en esta actualización del libro por el 50avo aniversario de estos sangrientos sucesos, se incluyen notas sobre un video realizado en la prisión donde Speck pasó el resto de su vida. Y si uno pensaba que este sujeto había ya caído en lo más bajo que pudiera uno imaginar, este video (su transcripción) dará más de una sorpresa. Speck se las había ingeniado para denigrarse aún más. Sin embargo el video no solo sirvió para revolver el estómago sino para reformar el sistema carcelario en Ohio. Richard Speck murió en 1991 de un masivo ataque al corazón. Lo único lamentable es que después de que en la autopsia el forense encuentra serias alteraciones en zonas del cerebro (hipocampo y amígdala, áreas relacionadas con memoria y afecto) y decide enviar el espécimen a un experto neurólogo en Boston, para mayor estudio, la muestra se pierde antes de ser enviada. Gran pérdida para la ciencia. Tal vez se hubiera descrito una asociación de cambios en el,cerebro, con la personalidad psicopática que Speck demostró desde muy joven.Muy bien escrito, muy detallado, es un excelente recuento de lo que sería conocido como la ‘Masacre de Chicago’ o El Crimen del Siglo’ : el brutal ataque de nueve enfermeras y estudiantes de enfermería y posterior asesinato de ocho de ellas.

  • Jan Funnell
    2018-09-04 07:35

    I found this an enthralling read as it leads the reader on a detailed investigation of the way in which a murder trial is prepared and run by both defence and prosecution. I must admit that even though I was a young adult in 1966 I had never heard of this awful mass murder before coming across this book. Also as a qualified Solicitor now retired who practised in Australia I found the procedures for preparing and running a criminal trial in the US utterly fascinating. I also found that the prosecution's insistence that the defence be left with no recourse to appeal the Jury's decision was an indication of the horror that this crime invoked within the public arena.The detail of how Richard Speck committed these atrocious crimes is horrifying and the many slip ups of the police in the initial stages of tracking down Speck frustrating to say the least. I was puzzled to realise on coming to the end of the book that the lead prosecutor in this case was actually one of the authors as I have difficulty in understanding how the writer would be comfortable to refer to himself in the third person and also feel comfortable with some of the adulatory words about him contributed by the other writer. I felt that any complimentary opinions about the lead prosecutor would have been best left as a foreward in the book.Nevertheless this is a book I would thoroughly recommend to any reader who is interested in trying to understand how a sociopathic person views our world and its morals and laws.

  • Johnny
    2018-09-07 10:37

    I originally got this for personal reasons, my mother-in-law was in nursing school at the same time (in the state next door) and actually knew the survivor. This was a updated version for the 50th anniversary. I found in interesting and was glad that he didn't focus too much on the actual murders but on trial itself. The trial taking place at the same time as many changes in police and judicial procedures were happening and the lengths that the DA went to ensure that there would be little to no chance for a reversal. Sadly it came to nothing since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled they restricted their jury pool and before resentencing, the US Supreme Court vacated the death penalty as it then stood. so Richard Speck was given a 1500 year sentence. I really would like to give more of a 3.5 or 3.75 rating since I found an interesting and fascinating read but I don't know if I want to read about a man with no remorse and brutal murders he committed.

  • Connie
    2018-09-01 11:31

    This book was a great read for people who may be interested in the behind the scenes movements of a high profile trial. Of course, I knew about the Richard Speck case, but I really didn't know details...and this book poured out the details! and yes, some were grisley, but the author was only giving them to fill in the spaces of questioning. The characters were well described, and I felt the whole book was well researched and well written. I always want to know what happened after all these years to the main character, and the author kept up with them and let the reader know. Very satisfying book.

  • Karen
    2018-08-28 10:32

    Very detailed portrait of a major criminal trialThis book includes a remarkable amount of detail, most of which is not that interesting. What made it worth reading, for me, was the description of the prosecution's thought process in deciding which of these details to present at trial, and why. If you're not into realistic, detailed portrayals of trials, you might not enjoy this book. There are probably shorter articles that present the key details of the crime itself in a more concise and dramatic way.

  • Charlene A. Lester
    2018-08-20 11:54

    True storyThis is the true story of a heinous crime in Chicago, the murder of innocent nurses. The nurses were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were killed for no reason.Very well written and worth the time to read it.

  • Maryann Moffit
    2018-09-18 11:50

    Long ,but sadHorrific acts, we tend to think that serial killings are new, but that isn't true. Still, the middle section of the book was too wordy.

  • Libby
    2018-08-25 13:51

    Fascinating read.

  • Peg
    2018-09-06 08:50

    Very scary. I remember when it happened.

  • kelly herba
    2018-08-28 12:37

    Great book I really enjoyed this book it was written very well and allows the reader to understand the speck case from start to finish.

  • Pam F
    2018-08-25 06:33

    Great read if you want detailsThis book is very in-depth and not for the squeamish. Excellent attention to details in showing what was needed to convict the killers..

  • Jowanza Joseph
    2018-09-18 14:37

    An incredibly sad beginning with a thrilling and satisfying end.

  • Jill Meyer
    2018-08-24 08:47

    On June 15, 1966, I was living in a northern suburb of Chicago. The evening paper and the news channels were alive that night - and for days after - about a gruesome, horrible crime on Chicago's southwest side - the murders of 8 student nurses in their townhouse/dorm, the night before. Even in the age before 24/7 news and the internet, the murders by demented loner Richard Speck were news all summer, and later on for his trial. How had one man - armed with a knife - subdued and sexually tortured eight young women before murdering them, one by one? Dennis Breo, in his new book, "The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders that Shocked a Nation", gives a measured and non-sensational view of the crime, its victims, and the aftermath.There certainly have been more than one "Crime of the Century" in the US in the 1900's. Two - Speck and the Leopold and Loeb Murders - happened in Chicago. What is it about my hometown that has given rise to such a high murder rate, both before and after Speck? Speck, as the author points out, was a volcano ready to go off in the hot, humid summer of 1966, where race riots were already happening in other areas of Chicago. But this crime was not of a racial nature; Richard Speck and his victims were white and Filipino. Speck was just a drifter - with a special, soft-spoken charm that was reassuring to his victims - who took advantage of the nearness of the victims to ease his frustration with the world around him that just didn't seem to give him a break. And what of the nine student nurses - one hid herself under a bed during the killing spree - who were picked out almost on a whim? Breo gives good biographies of these women and their families. The one nurse who saved herself is highlighted in the book. He also does a good job covering the trial and the legal tangle afterward.I think Dennis Breo's book is very written in solid terms. Non-sensationalist, even. But maybe that's because as a 15 year old, I lived through that horrid summer and had heard the worst. A very good book.

  • Anka
    2018-08-20 10:43

    this book gives you a very detailed, compelling, and dramatic account of what went into preparation and trial of the Richard Speck's celebrated case. an absolutely fascinating read.

  • Mickie84 Tencza
    2018-09-16 14:37

    Reading about what it takes to put together the prosecution's case is pretty fascinating.

  • Kevin McGrath
    2018-09-02 10:38

    Well written and a very thorough account of the murder, trial preparation & trial. Also includes context of the mood & culture of the country and Chicago area in 1966.Negatives: Extremely dark subject particularly early in the book when the murders are explained in horrifying detail. The content on trial preparation (while very interesting in the grand scheme) seems to go on forever. Additionally, reading about this sad affair wears on you after a while.Positives: Very thorough. Goes into great depths to explain the work that went into the DA's trial preparation and the logistics necessary to find, prepare and secure witnesses. The book also gives good color on the characters and personalities involved (from the police, lawyers, witnesses and criminals).

  • Lauren Sipe
    2018-09-16 13:30

    Fantastic exposé of the life, crimes, sentence, and death of Richard Speck, a man who brutally took the lives of 8 innocent women with no obvious motive. Though tedious with seemingly unnecessary details at times, I got the full sense from this book of the time period and the events. The authors are superb writers, keeping me aquatinted with the large "cast of characters" constantly so as to keep me from getting lost or confused. I have great respect for the prosecutors of this case and the job they do to bring criminals to justice. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy reading about the justice system and its processes. I originally picked it up as it relates to me as an RN, but was thoroughly fascinated by the trial details. 5 stars.

  • Chris Steeden
    2018-08-30 09:51

    An incredibly detailed account about eight young student nurses in Chicago who had been brutally stabbed, strangled, and sexually assaulted by 24 year old Richard Franklin Speck in July 1966.The book goes through the murders, the manhunt, the investigation, the trial and the aftermath. We view Richard Speck’s troubled life in great detail. One of the author’s, William Martin, was actually the lead prosecutor on the case which brings unparalleled access to proceedings.You do almost need a cast of characters at the back of the book as a reference as there are many players. The book is so exhaustively detailed I actually found it a bit too much. I know that is an odd criticism.

  • Miya
    2018-09-03 12:54

    I'm a big fan of true crime, but this one was too boring to finish. Too much unnecessary information inserted into the chapters, as well as so many characters (most of whom weren't pertinent to the case) that I could no longer remember who was who. The author even interrupts the scene of the actual murders to talk about the mnemonic the neighboring nurses were using to help study for exams. It's as though the author had a short manuscript and inserted these interjections to fluff up the page numbers. All it did was make what should have been a riveting case come off as confusing, slow, and boring.

  • Studvet
    2018-09-08 11:56

    4 stars because it presents the facts and crime so well and so clearly and in such detail that nothing is left out. The walking thru of the lead - up to the crime, the crime itself, and the immediate after are brilliantly told and crystal clear. However, as a general read it is a 3 stars stylistically as so much could have been edited and is sentimental clap-trap. The author always gives short descriptions of the look and manner of each character and what they are eating, etc, and ascribes motivations to them which are often unrealistically pure and simplistically trite. All this is padding, unnecessary, and clutters the story: like reading a Reader's Digest version.

  • Wayne A. Meyer
    2018-08-31 07:44

    Very interesting book about a crime and a criminal that shocked Chicago. For those of you that are or were employed in the criminal justice system, it is interesting to see what has and has not changed since this case occurred about 50 years ago. I’m happy to say that Bill Martin is a friend of mine and was always a true gentleman both than and now. An added bonus is that this book has recently been updated from the 1993 edition. It now contains additional information including a brief article by Bill Kunkle, the lead prosecutor of John Wayne Gacy.