Category: Books

Clarence Darrow

This photograph was published in the Los Angeles Times heading a review of John Farrell’s new Darrow biography. It is Darrow arguing a point with Leopold and Loeb sitting behind him to his right. This was the extent of cameras in the courtroom some ninety years ago; if only there was video tape of Darrow’s performance in this case. He was at the height of his powers and performed, in my opinion, the finest forensic speech heard in any courtroom. When I can devote serious energy and time to it I intend to dissect the entire argument, but that will be a job. (I have read it at least 50 times.)

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Thomas Perry

If I taught a course on how to be a successful criminal, the books of Thomas Perry would be assigned reading. Perry is a master strategist and game player who weaves intricate plots with intelligent and even captivating criminals; fortunately, for society, most street criminals are bumblers, easily caught and rarely have charisma. And they don’t study books like this. They watch CSI, and as Alexander Pope noted, a little learning is a dangerous thing.

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Crime

While glancing through a pile of newspapers, I came across a review of “Crime: Stories” by Ferdinand von Schirach. He is a German criminal defense lawyer writing about a few aberrant humans he defended but what caught my eye was the surname von Schirach. Early in my career, I devoured books on the Nuremberg war trials, especially the Trial of the Major War Criminals. Robert Jackson took a leave of absence from the supreme court to lead the American prosecution team. He performed an utterly brilliant opening statement (definitely take time to read it), but fell apart trying to cross examine Hermann Goering.

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John Farrell’s Biography of Clarence Darrow

  March 13th marked 75 years since the death of Clarence Darrow. I just had the pleasure of reading the manuscript of John Farrell’s new biography of Darrow. I enjoyed it immensely and wrote a blurb for it: “Clarence Darrow confounded titles: a freethinker, hedonist, anarchist, populist, infidel, cynic and master storyteller who became our […]

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