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Clarence Darrow for the Defense

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Book by Stone, Irving
Paperback, 339 pages
Published December 1st 1971 by "Signet" (first published 1941)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  364 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book has been out of print and my parents bought me a used copy. My father said this was one book that influenced his choice of career and it did the same for me. Stone has a way of writing as if he was in his subjects' heads.
I read this book when I was in my early teens and was deeply impressed by Clarence Darrow's work as a lawyer and advocate for social justice. It's a terrific story that I highly recommend to anyone.
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
I enjoyed this book very much. I had a lot to learn in the legal arena from Darrow's life and ideologies. Darrow, a united states attorney and pitted one of the best criminal Lawyers in Chicago and by extension America.

He build his name by defending the working class who turned against him after settling tge McNaras case with the state. However, Darrows insight and the ability to get the best for his clients is at the center of this decision.

He was also charged with attempted bribery of jurors
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing

When I think of Darrow, the phrase that springs to me is ‘hero for the downtrodden, hero for the downtrodden…’ Sometimes he harkens an image like Christ or an image of Lincoln or Socrates or Emerson or whomever's life is denoted upon a crusade for humble truth. And by god, that’s what makes him a hero, the simplicity of his fight. As a friend of his explained him:

Freedom is a favorite word with Darrow. When he wished to express a favorable opinion of someone he would start by saying, ‘He is for
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
At times the writing was lacking, and yet overall, the story was wonderful. Darrow was a great man, the American Ghandi. Defender of the working man, African Americans, open thought and discussion, and life long opponent of the death penalty, he was the greatest orator of his time, and one of the best minds. Through his efforts defending the Constitution and the rights of people the conditions for the working man improved preventing the US from becoming a nation where a small group had all the ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf-biography
This took me forever to read. When I force myself to read something because it's "good for me," I usually don't remember it very well. I fear that this fits into that category. Now, that I know more about that era and the strife that lead to litigation, maybe I'd enjoy the book more.

p 7: "The end of wisdom is the fear of God; the beginning of wisdom is doubt."
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recall checking this out of the city library in my youth when I aspired to be an attorney like Darrow, who could hold the rapt attention of a courtroom for hours without relying on notes (using only run-on sentences like this one, I'm sure).

A fitting book #500 for my list!
Lauren Licitra
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
What an amazing, empathetic, brilliant man. If ever I needed my human rights protected, I would want Clarence Darrow...For the Defense!
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Entertaining, but long. Might be more rewarding to read some of Darrow's own writings to get the flavor of his personality. As a socialist and an agnostic he doesn't fit into the easy models of American character such as Jefferson as politician or Edison as scientist. Half of the people hate him, the other half love him. After reading this bio, he might still be an enigma to you. The problem being he is already too far back in time and an exercise of imagination is required to understand his ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: criminal-justice
This book is so vintage, it fell apart while I was reading it! Loved the language - there are some great quotes in here both by the author and the subject, Clarence Darrow. A fascinating, wishful dinner party would include sitting down at a table with Ayn Rand, Clarence Darrow, and maybe an elderly Fidel Castro, just for kicks. All three had such strong opinions on the individual self and a person's role in society, and how a society as a whole should operate.
Mark Mellon
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although almost eighty years old, this biography of one of America's greatest defense attorneys and liberal leaders is still a fascinating account of a down home, plain man who played a pivotal role in some of America's most famous (and notorious) trials. Well worth a read, especially to those unfamiliar with this country's ugly labor history.
Nicholas Bobbitt
It makes all the sense in the world to me that I enjoy a biography of one of the men who played a major role in perhaps my favorite event in American history, the Scopes Monkey Trial. However, Irving Stone's writing must also come into play here, and I can find no fault with it.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book about a great man.
Dondi Ligon
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Darrow's D'arrow :) Great true legal story.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read it a long time ago. I think I enjoyed it. I'd probably appreciate it more now that I have more background.
I am reading this 1958 edition with the odd depiction of Darrow, but it has a red cover with a black spine. I got it for a quarter from a thrift store in Spokane because I talk a little about Darrow every year when we read Witness as a class.

Stone follows an older school of biography and does not try and remain objective, but I am enjoying the sympathetic portrayal as Darrow takes on evil rail barons at the onset of his career.

I think this will be a slowburn read between other stuff for the
Sally Moore
Irving Stone is detailed and thorough. Some of the story dragged because of that, but, it isn't a problem for me as I know when it is time to skim! Stone reveals Darrow's gift for argument and persuasion. As a trial lawyer myself, I had to reflect on how much more effective his approach was than my own. He didn't get bogged down in the legal details!!

I also never knew that this famous attorney was himself indicted for jury tampering and subornation of perjury! Stone seems to come down on the
Joe Rodeck
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
The seven day/70 hour work week.

A liberal icon, Clarence Darrow should have a more pronounced position in American history if only for his involvement in the labor movement.

The Leopold-Loeb trial is a watershed case in terms of the insanity plea and the capital punishment issue.

The Scopes Monkey Trial is important, particularly when it comes to academic freedom for teachers.

The research is prodigious; but at almost 600 pages, way too much detail. In the many union vs management trials, the
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
An amazing subject taken up by a talented writer. Suffers only in comparison to 'The Agony and the Ecstasy' about Michelangelo, another of his novels which just went beyond this one, not in attention to detail or scope of influence, but simply in its immersive quality. If I had one complaint about this novel it is the sometimes disjointed timeline, for which it is hard to fault the author when his subject didn't exactly give himself to only one cause at a time, but it did occasionally break the ...more
Bill W.
Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly engaging and readable book about a lawyer whose story touched almost every social, political and philsophic struggle that was played out in the courts over a 40-year span from the late 19th century into the 20th. Typically, Stone's rhapsodizing gets a little florid and repetitive a little too often; still, it's a very interesting story, generally well-told, and surely worth reading if only for the insights it offers into American history. It also is a good reminder of how much of ...more
Tom O'Connor
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In many ways this rating is more for Darrow than the book itself. I loved this book, but mostly because I have been an admirer of Darrow, and most of what I believed he stood for, for a long time. Stone's prose gets to be a little too much at times, and if you're looking for a balanced biography, you'll have to keep looking. It is VERY obvious in every page of this book that Stone has the utmost respect for Clarence Darrow and his life. That having been said, the book did fill out a lot that I ...more
Ramel Muria
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A superb account of the life and struggle of Clarence Darrow. Clarence Darrow is one of the greatest American trial lawyers who defended the poor and the oppressed. His life is a testimony to the greatness of an advocate of freedom and justice. Only Irving Stone could give justice to the story of this great advocate. Irving Stone used his pen to give color to the life and times of Clarence Darrow. Excellent read!
Ryan Mishap
Sep 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Interesting for the historical view, and, of course, if you are interested in that old rascally lawyer guy. Good to get a biography where the writer isn't afraid to be partisan, along political lines. We all know who I.F. Stone was. I don't think his sympathetic views distort the biography much, but it is loads better than a hostile writer.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: haveread
I absolutely adored this book. The style of writing differed from styles I usually read, but was "hooked" by page 15. I loved the character(s). Lots is written about this American attorney and legion, so it is fun too look up material while reading, and watch films based on Darrow's character. What an excellent book! I am so glad someone gave me a copy!
Kevin Aldrich
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Here is the historical fiction novel that established historical fiction as good history. This is the story of the great Clarence Darrow. An amazing man and story. It is a mesmerizing story that gives context to the many of the issues that plague and gridlock our government, courts and society today. Capital punishment, religion, fundamentalism, liberty, freedom and more.
Apr 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Clarence Darrow had a knack for being at the center of some of the most critical legal battles in labor and civil rights. The book was written in 1940, so the prose occasionally seems dated. Still, well worth reading.
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting bio of the man known best for his defense in the Scopes monkey trial. He was much more than that and his efforts for the common man over the years is very inspiring. Not the easiest read in the world, and you can tell Stone adored him, but well worth the effort in my opinion.
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
In some ways it reads like a book written for middle school students, but I walked away from feeling like I knew all the I always wanted to know about Clarence Darrow.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Clarence Darrow was my hero when I was a kid. It's a great tale of a very remarkable lawyer - I wish I knew more about him now so I could probably evaluate how honest it is to the facts.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love this one

the story is compelling and well-told
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In 1923, Stone received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1960s, Stone received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Southern California, where he had previously earned a Masters Degree from the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

When at home, Stone relied upon the research facilities and expertise made available to him by Esther
“There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.” 4178 likes
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