Thursday, February 26, 2015
Harold Schechter calls Hauptmann's Ladder the "definitive examination of the Lindbergh case," and he's right. Richard Cahill spent 20 years researching the Lindbergh kidnapping, and that shows in his book.
Hauptmann's Ladder is a comprehensive review of the kidnapping and resulting trial. Cahill takes us through both, providing an hour-by-hour summary of the crime and witness-by-witness examination of the trial. He not only gives the reader a thorough overview, he offers pieces of evidence you won't find in other books, such as Hauptmann's rental agreement for a second apartment starting the day of the kidnapping (a place he planned to hide the Lindbergh baby?).
While reading this book, I compared it to other books I have on the Lindbergh kidnapping and could immediately spot where the others deviated from the evidence. For instance, Cahill takes us through the trial testimony on fingerprints found in the baby's bedroom, but despite the testimony, some sources still say the bedroom had been wiped free of prints.
I appreciate both Cahill's thoroughness and objectivity. He rarely gives his opinion, but when he does, his background as a trial lawyer gives it added punch. As a (former) fellow attorney, I can say his analyses are spot-on.