Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Best Defense” as Want to Read:
The Best Defense
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Best Defense

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  97 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The author presents his most famous, and infamous, cases and clients, and in the process, takes a critical, informed look at a legal system that he regards as deeply corrupt.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 12th 1983 by Vintage
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Best Defense, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Best Defense

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 205)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
The Best Defense is young, brash, I-don't-give-a-$#!@ Dershowitz at his best. It's an in-your-face celebration (unapologetic is way too weak a word) of our adversarial system of justice, especially the defense lawyer's place in it. Each of its 11 chapters detail a different case or set of cases Dershowitz defended, usually successfully. The cases themselves are fascinating, covering everything from pornography (where Deep Throat meets the First Amendment) to murder (not OJ's case; that's a later ...more
Early book by the famous lawyer and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, most notable because it was published in 1982 just as Dershowitz was rocketing to fame. Reviews some of his most interesting cases, showing fascinating points of law and how Dershowitz oftentimes took a different view from the rest of the legal world. Three main sections: Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Disturbing the Peace, and Obstructing Injustice. If you like courtroom confrontations and a lawyer with an attitude, this is y ...more
Marik Casmon
Well, I'd actually give this book between a three and a four, but why quibble?

In the book, published in the early 80s, Dershowitz describes many of the civil rights cases that he was involved in. Many of the cases revolve around legal technicalities and governmental chicanery (as might be expected from a defense attorney).

The pictures that he presents of the higher-ups in our judicial system--prosecutors and judges, especially, but police also--are enough to make an agnostic out of anyone. That
I read this book because my favorite professor in college recommended it.
I really admired this author at the time, but of course my disappointment regarding the OJ case years later eclipsed any feelings I had held about Mr. Dershowitz in the past.

I can still say though that the style of writing and the selection of cases in this book are very strong. Each one of these cases is worth reading and learning about.
I actually thought this book was interesting because there was a lot of stuff dealing with jews in the soviet union. i read this before i applied to law school (and of course, didn't get in), but thought it was pretty interesting. i wouldn't put it as the worst book ever written but i liked it.
Apr 30, 2007 Aaron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in criminal justice, civil liberties, judaism
Shelves: haveread
Very good read on some interesting social and legal issues from a famed civil liberties lawyer. Not only does this capitalize on the already-interesting world of criminal law, but it does so in a compelling, readable way. Lots of Jewish issues implicated.
A well written book for anyone to read and learn about interesting criminal and civil cases that involved the author. Although a Harvard law professor , Dershowitz presents a compelling story of the criminal justice system during the 70s and later.
Jeff Doucette
The first and best of maybe four books by Dershowitz that I've read. He briefly discusses his upbringing and then goes on to discuss in detail quite a few of his cases, many of which involve his defense of civil liberties.
A core text I use in many of my presentations- really well done
Alvaro Ortiz
Alvaro Ortiz marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2015
Janai W.
Janai W. marked it as to-read
Mar 17, 2015
Laura added it
Mar 13, 2015
Sara marked it as to-read
Mar 08, 2015
Yasir Adnan
Yasir Adnan marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2015
V marked it as to-read
Feb 18, 2015
Taylor Marie
Taylor Marie marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2015
Duncan marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2015
Jasmine marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2015
Hertz He
Hertz He marked it as to-read
Jan 05, 2015
Neerja marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2014
Rt added it
Dec 19, 2014
Richard Sun
Richard Sun marked it as to-read
Dec 15, 2014
Ms added it
Dec 14, 2014
Daniel Richardson
Daniel Richardson marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Defense Never Rests
  • Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges
  • Contempt of Court: The Turn-Of-The-Century Lynching That Launched 100 Years of Federalism
  • Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty
  • Eve Was Framed: Women And British Justice
  • The Brendan Voyage: A Leather Boat Tracks the Discovery of America by the Irish Sailor Saints
  • The Art of Cross Examination
  • The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts
  • Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment
  • Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire
  • A Question Of Intent: A Great American Battle With A Deadly Industry
  • The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight Over Presidential Power
  • The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III
  • The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution & Chose Our President
  • Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance
  • Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure
  • Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court
  • My Life in Court
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 Chutzpah

Share This Book