Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In his 21st book, multitalented author, attorney, and professor Dershowitz (law, Harvard) describes 63 famous trials in American history and offers his pointed opinions about the quality of justice. The book is arranged chronologically and includes the Colonial Salem witchcraft trials, the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the impeachment trial of President Clinton, and Bush v. Gore. What is remarkable about the book is Dershowitz's ability to distill the essence of a case into three or four pages, including excerpts from the trial transcripts. The writing is sparkling and places the trials in their historical context. The book is a blend of fact and commentary, as shown by the author's occasional jibes at current Supreme Court justices, whose decisions he considers corrupt. Dershowitz deftly explains his legal positions and does an excellent job of separating myth from reality in American legal cases. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. Harry Charles, St. Louis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Noted legal scholar Dershowitz recounts 64 famous trials throughout US history. He begins with an account of the witchcrafts trials in Salem, Massachusetts, between 1648 and 1706 and ends with the account of the 2004 trials of post-9/11 terrorist detainees. In between, he reviews famous cases whose participants are familiar to most readers. Dershowitz brings the characters alive, pinpoints the central issues, and reveals the enduring lessons of the cases. Although he focuses on criminal trials, he moves beyond crimes of passion and violence to recount famous cases involving issues of free expression, as well as the Scopes trial, the court martial of Billy Mitchell, the Pentagon Papers case, the Bakke affirmative action case, and the Senate trials of the two presidents who have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). The book elicits sober reflection: often justice was thwarted. One of the lessons Dershowitz imparts is that even at their best judges (and the legal process) play only a limited role in preserving liberties, and that the surest safeguard to liberty, as Judge Learned Hand said, "lies in the hearts of men and women. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it." ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduate and professional collections. M. M. Feeley University of California, Berkeley
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Attorney and bestselling author Alan M. Dershowitz was first in his class at Yale Law School. <p> Dershowitz was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal and the youngest full professor in the history of Harvard Law School. He is currently the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University. He has served on the National Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union. Dershowitz has represented many controversial clients, including O. J. Simpson, Claus von Bulow, Mike Tyson, Leona Helmsley and Patricia Hearst. <p> His books include Reasonable Doubt (about the O. J. Simpson trial) and Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr, and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)