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Publisher's Summary

Early on a May morning in 1988, Laurie Dann, a 30-year-old, profoundly unhappy product of the wealthy North Shore suburb of Chicago, loaded her father's car with a cache of handguns, incendiary chemicals, and arsenic-laced food. Driven by fear and hate, she was going to make something terrible happen.

Before the end of the day, Dann had blazed a murderous trail of poison, fire, and bullets through the unsuspecting town of Winnetka, Illinois, and other North Shore suburbs. She murdered an eight-year-old boy and critically wounded five other children inside an elementary school. It finally took a massed force of armed police to end the killing.

The shocking story of innocence destroyed by a rich young babysitter inexplicably gone mad made headlines all across the nation and inspired at least two psychotic killers to follow her example. What lead her to do it? Could she have been stopped? The case raised a host of agonizing questions that have remained unanswered - until now. In this book, three Chicago Tribune reporters who covered the Laurie Dann tragedy have pulled together all the available police evidence, unearthed valuable psychiatric information, and interviewed at length scores of people who knew Dann, many of whom had never before spoken to the media about this case. Despite clear and ominous warning signs, a young woman of beauty and privilege was allowed to deteriorate and go slowly berserk - and no one stopped her. Her parents, her doctors, and the police officers who knew her pathological behavior all failed her at critical times. By its passivity and silence, a community comfortable and quiet on the surface, yet reluctant to admit its underlying flaws, became an unwitting accomplice to the final rampage of Laurie Dann. Murder of Innocence is a searing portrayal of a family - and a society - unable to cope, and of a young woman who wanted all too desperately only to be loved.

©1990 Joel Kaplan, George Papajohn, & Eric Zorn (P)2017 David N. Wilson

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Applicable to Las Vegas Shooter

This thoroughly-researched detailed history explains why people do such things as what just happened in Las Vegas where 58 people at a concert were killed. How can a human being get to such a mental state to perform such an atrocity? Even though the back stories and the targets were different with these two killers, this book explains the "why." In short, it's extreme mental illness, but that doesn't make it understandable until you hear such in-depth descriptions as contained in this book. Plus, it's just a good book to listen to.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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great true crime

I listen to audiobooks while driving, and this made me anxious to get in my car to drive to work in the morning! great narrator, and the book itself is so full of details. I enjoyed the way they did not end it right after the tragedy, but went on to discuss what happened in the aftermath. very sad story, and an absolutely intriguing look into just how a person who is mentally ill can spiral out of control when no one takes responsibility. Laurie Dann's parents may well have been able to help her, or at least to have protected others from her, if they had not been so anxious to sweep her problems under the rug and to leave her entirely to her own devices while funding her existence completely without awareness.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Don't Miss This One

Can't wait to see what other reviewers say. I found zero flaws with the book or the narration.

But I would take great personal pleasure in strangling Laurie's parents. Had they admitted their daughter was dangerously ill, many lives could have been saved.

If you are an avid follower of True Crime, you won't want to miss this one. Oh, and you might want to have a Xanax handy.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Good book!

true story of a young woman on the edge. If only those around her had taken her symptoms more seriously. I enjoyed listening to this book very much.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Well Written and Narrated, Illuminating, Highlights Critical Need for More Effective MH Services

The declining, spiral of Laure Wasserman Dann, into madness is tragic. Statistics show that people with mental illnesses are more likely to experience rather than commit violent crime. This case is a horrifying outlier. Dann's spree shooting of children was earlier than the more well known school shootings. Also, more frequently these incidents of violence are committed by men.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Speechless

Utterly left speechless. A well told tragedy I highly recommend to fellow true crime buffs!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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EXCEPTIONAL

This is one great true crime story which gives vivid detail into a mind that slipping into madness and obsession. Once started it was hard to stop listening to this gripping tale. Narration was superb.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great Book, Tragic Story

If you could sum up Murder of Innocence in three words, what would they be?

A well-written, thorough, and very sad story - expertly narrated.

What other book might you compare Murder of Innocence to and why?

This is my first true crime book.

Which character – as performed by Gary Tiedemann – was your favorite?

Great performance: he gave the narration and dialogue enough life to make it a great listen.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

That we've learned nothing about getting people the help they need and keeping guns out of the hands of violent and disturbed people.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Dianne
  • New Bern, NC, United States
  • 11-22-17

Soul Searching

This story was indeed a sad tale. Lauie Dann was a mentally ill person that was not recognized as such. The people around her lived in denial. It's a sad, sad case that could have ended differently. So many people's live did not have to be in danger from her actions.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Audio fan : Deeply Disturbing !!!

This book was very well written and the Narrator was excellent. This book at times was heartbreaking ! There is many questions brought to my soul, including the very odd and in my opinion cold and detached mother of Laurie Dann. I don't know, so many years later if this was in some ways the beginning of what we see so much now. How things MUST CHANGE . It was a good book. in so far as very eye opening !!! .... LB Nelson ....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful