By Kendall Coffey, Prometheus Books, $26.00, 403 pages

10Battles are not always won on the battlefield. Spinning the Law goes through a number of cases all the way back to Socrates and explores how they were fought in the court of public opinion. Not all of the cases were won there, and quite a few actually lost the fight there, but it is a fascinating look at the legal system. It even looks at how defendants were able to lose their case and go to jail but still come out a winner. Coffey seems to take a special pleasure in busting in how people believe the law works, an insight that sells the book.

Although the book could have been written pedantically and still have been a good book, Coffey’s sense of humor and courage to frame some of the cases in the way that they need to be framed makes this a fun read. The cases are meticulously researched and well-represented, with both sides given a fair shake. If you are curious how court cases work and how to use the tricks of the best lawyers, this is an excellent book.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim