A Champion for Justice

By John A. Farrell
Doubleday, 564 pages, $32.50

Courtroom battles, legal trickery, representation of both the innocent and guilty…such is the legacy of Clarence Darrow, one of America’s most famous (and infamous) trial attorneys. His participation in the Monkey Trial in which he defended high school teacher John Scopes for teaching the theory of evolution and waged a war of words against prosecutor William Jennings Bryan is perhaps the trial that cemented Darrow’s place in history. Author John A. Farrell has created a highly readable, thoroughly enjoyable biography of the legal legend. Clarence Darrow: Attorney for The Damned draws upon Darrow’s private letters, excerpts from the lawyer’s book titled The Story of My Life, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles and court cases. An extensive Notes section provides fascinating facts and information for readers seeking additional materials.

Darrow grew up in a poor family in Chicago and became a man during an era defined by lynch laws, tenement housing, race and class wars and a corrupt legal system. Learn about the cases that shaped Darrow’s career. Get a glimpse into his private life. Because of his beliefs, or lack thereof (he was a determinist and an atheist) and his legal successes and courtroom antics, Darrow became one of the most beloved and hated men of his time. This biography is a must-read for anyone interested in justice, legal history and Clarence Darrow, an American legend.

Kathryn Franklin