In Little Lindy Is Kidnapped: How the Media Covered the Crime of the Century (Columbia University Press, 2020), Thomas Doherty offers a lively and comprehensive cultural history of the media coverage of the abduction and its aftermath. Beginning with Lindbergh’s ascent to fame and proceeding through the trial and execution of the accused kidnapper, Doherty traces how newspapers, radio, and newsreels reported on what was dubbed the “crime of the century.” He casts the affair as a transformative moment for American journalism, analyzing how the case presented new challenges and opportunities for each branch of the media in the days before the rise of television. Coverage of the Lindbergh story, Doherty reveals, set the template for the way the media would treat breaking news ever after. An engrossing account of an endlessly fascinating case, Little Lindy Is Kidnapped sheds new light on an enduring quality of journalism ever since: the media’s eye on a crucial part of the story—itself.
Thomas Doherty is professor of American studies at Brandeis University. His previous Columbia University Press books include Hollywood and Hitler, 1933–1939 (2013) and Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist (2018).