The Sixteenth Rail: The Evidence, the Scientist, and the Lindbergh Kidnapping

Adam J. Schrager. Fulcrum, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-55591-716-6
Plenty of intriguing yet tragic details come to light in this chronicle of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of Charles A. Lindberg Jr., the 20-month-old son of the first aviator to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and the ensuing manhunt for the kidnappers. Schrager, a winner of more than 20 Emmys for his work as a producer and reporter for Wisconsin Public Television, painstakingly profiles the players involved, the surrounding media frenzy (which H.L. Mencken dubbed “the biggest story since the Resurrection”), the police inquiry, and the forensic science that finally, after a two-year investigation, fingered Bruno Richard Hauptmann as the culprit. In particular, Schrager focuses on Arthur Koehler, a wood technologist with the U.S. Forestry Service and his research in xylology, the study of wood. It was Koehler’s crackerjack work with the only piece of evidence at the crime scene—a ladder—that led investigators to the Bronx and to Hauptmann, or—more precisely—his garage, where a cut plank in the attic matched the wood used to build the ladder. Based on the evidence, Hauptmann was found guilty and executed. Casual readers might find Schrager’s account overly detailed and repetitive, but for those who have an interest in the Lindbergh kidnapping, this is a comprehensive addition to the literature about the case. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-55591-773-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-68275-029-2
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