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Laughing Whitefish

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  82 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Willy Poe is a newcomer to Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- a shy, lonely young lawyer yearning to meet the girl who will call him William. On a lovely day in July in 1873, he meets her. Her name is Laughing Whitefish.

She presents him with as exciting, challenging and hopeless a case as ever set a precedent. At issue is an elemental question of raw justice: Can Laughing White

Mass Market Paperback, 312 pages
Published January 28th 1994 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1965)
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Tim Lepczyk
Original Review

Last week, on vacation in Michigan, I heard an interview on Points North about the reprinting of Robert Traver's (John D. Voelker's) novel Laughing Whitefish. It sounded interesting on two levels. First, I love the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Second, the story of how a Native American woman sued a mining company over her father's unpaid claim sounded fascinating. Having read the novel, I can tell you it is fascinating.

Laughing Whitefish works in two ways. First, Robert Traver doe
Aug 07, 2014 Judith rated it liked it
Laughing Whitefish was printed in 1965, and takes place in the latter part of the 1800s, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As with Traver's better-known novel, Anatomy of a Murder, it features a young lawyer, almost fresh out of law school, and an old codger who has drinking problems. The old guy, in this case, is Cassius Wendell, and he brings young Willy (William Poe, age 26) his first real case. And what a case it is.

Charlotte Kawbawgam, aka Laughing Whitefish, wants to sue the Jackson Mini
Fran Darling
Dec 08, 2013 Fran Darling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-studies
I love Robert Traver's, (John Voelker in real life) style. He has a wit that reveals the real truth in the characters and their tails. Famous for the Academy Award winning movie based on his Anatomy of a Murder, Traver/Voelker developed his legal "fiction" drama to a fine point. Laughing Whitefish is historical fiction based on the real trials that went all the way to Michigan Supreme Court back in the late 1800's in Marquette, MI.
The young lawyer comes to Marquette, MI far north of his Ann Arb
Duane Patterson
Jan 05, 2013 Duane Patterson rated it it was amazing
Laughing Whitefish is an excellent legal and romance thriller about a legal case that went before the Michigan Supreme Court in the 1800's.
The story takes place in the upper peninsula of Michigan. A young,beautiful Native American women inherits a legal contract about
an iron ore deposit. The powerful mining company does not want to honor. The only lawyer willing to help her is a recent graduate of
the University of Michigan law school. The two join together to fight the mining company in court.
Vicki Wood
Nov 12, 2014 Vicki Wood rated it really liked it
A great read for anyone interested in Marquette history. Set in the U.P. in the 1870s, this novel captures the authenticity of the people and the majesty of the geography of the region.
Tom Baker
May 01, 2016 Tom Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Traver/John Voelker is a very good writer, whether writing about fly fishing for brook trout or writing novels that have the law as their central point. You have to have much respect for a very wise man that loves both trout fishing and decent bourbon.
Carol B.
Apr 03, 2013 Carol B. rated it liked it
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had not read the foreword first. It should have had a "spoiler" alert. That said, the story was interesting, especially since I grew up in Michigan and camped in most of the state campsites in the Upper Peninsula. I knew the area. The story dragged here and there. I believe it could have been more tightly edited. But all in all, it was worth the read. I recommended it to my book club.
Nov 21, 2011 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Written in 1965 about a legal case of a Chippewa in Michigan whose father was owed big $ by a mining company. Nice to know that the plight of American Indians was understood even then, not that it has done much good. I was recommended this by a elderly lawyer friend who calls this his favorite book. The legal ins and outs escaped me, but it is a good read, by the author of the more famous "Anatomy of a Murder."
Maryka Biaggio
Oct 26, 2013 Maryka Biaggio rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book, by the author of ANATOMY OF A MURDER, based on the true story of a trial that took place in Michigan over Indian rights in the late 1800s. The author does a fine job of distilling the actual convoluted legal machinations into a highly compelling and readable account. The descriptions of Marquette at the time are lovely!
Oct 14, 2013 Larry added it
This novel is a must read... great tale based on a real American trial. Set in the mid 1800's, it is an important read to learn of our early American culture. I could not put it down. It is not an easy read... it is written by a real-life attorney... but his writing is brilliant! Loved it!
Jul 15, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
about as pretty darn good as a book can get. the writing style was excellent, storyline interesting, characters well developed. the setting was the beautiful U.P. it was like John Grisham meets James Fenimore Cooper. based on true. court case.
Mar 25, 2012 Tom rated it it was ok
Pretty good courtroom drama set in the neglected frontier, the upper midwest. Pretty good, especially if you care about the UP.
Mar 29, 2010 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barb by: Joe and Bruce
A little drawn out. Otherwise entertaining enough novel, based on an actual court case. Parts are quite funny.
Chris Goodrich
Sep 30, 2011 Chris Goodrich rated it it was amazing
It was an interesting book that I read. I barely could put it down because I wanted to know what happened next.
Jun 24, 2012 Kris rated it liked it
Even though I'm not into history that much, I thought it was a good read.
Dec 29, 2012 Meigen rated it it was amazing
Setting is in the U.P. in the late 1800's. Enough said.
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Shelves: mom-s
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Robert Traver is the pseudonym of John Donaldson Voelker who served as the Prosecuting Attorney of Marquette County, Michigan and later as the 74th Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He wrote many books reflecting his two passions, the law and flyfishing, Troubleshooters, Danny and the Boys and Small Town D.A.
More about Robert Traver...

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