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America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation
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America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The renowned attorney and bestselling author reveals how notable trials throughout our history have helped to shape our nation. Offering insights into the human condition, these trials serve as a historical document, chronicling the struggles and passions of their time.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 14th 2004 by Warner Books (first published 2004)
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Dershowitz, celebrity lawyer, Harvard law professor, and defender of OJ Simpson, discusses 15 trials he views as the most important in the past century. He provides insights into many of the trials he presided over, and in many ways got me thinking differently about cases I thought really only had one reasonable side (particularly Roe vs. Wade and the Scopes Monkey Trial). I especially appreciate his lawyerly way of approaching serious issues such as abortion, racism, and right wing Christianity ...more
Melissa McHugh
Here's what I liked:
- The introduction is incredibly well written and does exactly what an introduction is supposed to do. It made me excited to read the book. It talked about ancient, historical and global influences on the American legal system.
- Dershowitz has a great handle on American history and how it affected the legal cases at each step of history.
- I appreciate that it's not always about the big cases. For every Dred Scott, Lizzie Borden and OJ Simpson, there's John Webster, Stanford
the book is a collection of cases Dershowitz proposes transformed our nation, beginning from colonial times until the present day Guantanamo detainees. Dershowitz mostly does a good job of setting the climate and characters of all parties involved. and there are several case discussions such as the Bakke decision where he succinctly and intelligently explains not only the decision and its effect but also the "method behind the madness". there are accounts of what happened in the court room, but ...more
I'm really enjoying this book. I'm about 90% finished but the book is so enjoyable, I am not worried about my review changing.

Dershowitz discusses the cases that have influenced our law and politics. This book is especially interesting in light of the recent Supreme Court hearings on DOMA and same sex marriage. You don't have to be a lawyer to appreciate this book, but it does make it easier.

Dershowitz discusses cases including OJ, Mike Tyson, Klaus von Bulow, and Bush v. Gore. Keep in mind tha
Jim Good
Interesting perspective on the courts and justice in America. Uses trials to show the development of law in society and the evolution of thought in some cases (segregation, abortion, states rights, etc.). The most interesting case is that of Mike Tyson. And the Bush vs. Gore election decision of the Supreme Court. In Tyson he derides abuses of the justice system and gives several examples of why and how the court ruled the way it did. In Bush vs. Gore he shows how politics interfered with justic ...more
This book is freakin' hilarious. Love or hate Dershowitz, it doesn't matter for this book. The Prof decides to take on every major case in US legal history, but not with a simple summary or review of the basic legal history. No, no, that would be below our dear Dershowitz. He proceeds to give a revisionist account of just about every single case. It's awesome. I have no idea how well respected any of these ideas are, but it's a great read with all sorts of interesting tidbits of info.

If you can
Steven Williams
Another great book by Dershowitz. He seems to be very good author, as I have not read a book of his that wasn't good.
Feb 03, 2011 Mike marked it as to-read
Shelves: on-hold
I own this book, so it is 'on-hold' a lot while I take care of library books and the like. This is a good book to leave and come back to as it is divided up into decent-sized chapters that are sequential but not overly dependent.

So far, I am really enjoying this book - it is very readable and quite interesting for a history/law buff like myself and I look forward to picking it up again soon.
Generally a pretty good introduction to some of the major trials in the history of the US. The author draws some conclusions I don't necessarily agree with, and he was personally involved in some of the more recent cases, so you have to take what he says about those with a grain of salt, but overall a good read.
Disappointed by the shallow description of Roe v. Wade. (My primary purpose in picking up this book was to learn more about that case.) But I learned more about the O.J. Simpson trial as well as Rodney King's case, Claus von Bulow's case, the Mike Tyson rape case, the Scopes trial, and the Rosenberg's case. 3 stars.
Very fascinating read! Author is quite opinionated, but that might be why the book is better than just reading the historical facts. He has so much first-hand experience, you can't help but think he is right on with most of his opinions.
Very interesting review of some of the famous (infamous) trials of the 1980s and 1990s. I do agree with him that the Supreme Court must stay above politics in order to function properly, but we all know that doesn't happen.
i read this book while still in law school. I had read most of the cases and had already anylized them from a legal scholar's point of view. I think it ruined the book for me.
Jeff Doucette
Interesting, but, probably because these aren't his own cases--except for a few--his insights seem more superficial than in his other books.
Jul 23, 2008 Simon rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yes
It is a bunch of cases and I am reading them selectively. He is very readable. Okay, I decided to read all of them.
Great overview of major trials and their impact on the judicial system through American history. Good introduction.
Carissa Brown
This was a good look at the history of court cases in America.
Good overview. I tired of the format.
Apr 10, 2008 Cws added it
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Alan Morton Dershowitz is an American lawyer, jurist, and political commentator. He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is known for his career as an attorney in several high-profile law cases and commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

He has spent most of his career at Harvard, where, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor in its history, until No
More about Alan M. Dershowitz...
The Case for Israel Letters to a Young Lawyer Just Revenge Reversal of Fortune: Inside the Von Bulow Case Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law

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