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Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 14, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385522584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385522588
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned

"[This is] vintage Darrow, inspiring, enraging, and, in Farrell's engrossing biography, marvelously alive."
The New York Times

"John A. Farrell, with access to previously unavailable materials, brings the 'grandest legal career in American history' to life again in a masterfully researched and elegantly written volume."
The Boston Globe

"Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned is inpeccably researched, beautifully written, and timely...Farrell gives us Darrow in all his brilliance, hypocrisy, and eccentricity....As Farrell's riveting biography makes abundantly clear, there was no more powerful and incendiary thunderbolt than Clarence Darrow."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A clear-sighted, empathetic biography....[Farrell] knows that he has a protagonist of Shakespearean richness and complexity, and this well-written, vividly atmospheric portrait captures Clarence Darrow with his faults and contradictions intact."
Los Angeles Times

“A comprehensive biography of the storied defense attorney. Making elaborate use of transcripts, observers’ accounts, correspondence and newspaper reports, Farrell chronicles Darrow’s most celebrated trials in detail....These cases—including two in which Darrow, almost surely guilty, was himself tried for jury tampering—dominate the narrative, but Farrell neatly places them within the larger context of this complicated man’s crowded life and practice....Farrell unflinchingly addresses [Darrow’s] shortcomings, even as he underscores the genuine brilliance of a still-unmatched advocate for underdogs everywhere.”
Kirkus Starred Review
 
“Farrell offers excerpts from Darrow’s magnificent courtroom arguments as well as delicious details of his personal life (he was a hearty participant in the era’s free love movement). [He] gleans from previously undisclosed material to offer a completely engaging portrait of a flawed man of noble ideals.”
Booklist Starred Review

“John A. Farrell, in Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, goes farther into the archives and deeper into Darrow’s crags.”
New Yorker

“Masterful...a riveting piece of work and certain to be one of the most fascinating biographies of this or any other year.”
—The Daily Beast

"Groundbreaking...Attorney for the Damned is a well-balanced portrait of the private and public Darrow, giving the sweep of his life and times."
The Washington Times

"Farrell draws from previously unpublished correspondence to give fresh insight into Darrow's remarkable career...A thoughtful overview of Darrow, his life, and his many accomplishments."
The Seattle Times

“It is almost impossible to conceive how so much living could have come in just one life, and Jack Farrell’s masterful new biography makes Clarence Darrow come alive. This is a wonderful, at times heart-pounding story, told with precision, sympathy, and insight.”
—Ken Burns

"This book is a joy and a revelation. It is at once a rollicking tour through the mind of a legal genius and a spellbinding account of some of the most famous cases in American history. The chapter on Leopold and Loeb alone is worth waiting in line to get a seat in Jack Farrell's courtroom."
—David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered and They Marched into Sunlight

“John Farrell’s Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned is a riveting historical drama filled with strange twists and turns. Every page is a triumph of scholarship. A marvelous biography!”
—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

"People want heroes. But history demands truth. This gritty biography demystifies a deeply flawed legal hero, who 'almost assuredly' bribed jurors and witnesses in order to level the playing field against 'the rich and powerful.' Darrow was a giant of his corrupt times. His biography is a must-read for all Americans who care about both the means and ends of justice!"
—Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion

“Clarence Darrow confounded titles: he was a freethinker, hedonist, anarchist, populist, infidel, cynic, and master storyteller who became our greatest lawyer and a folk hero. Farrell’s masterful, sweeping new biography not only does justice to all his roles but joyously satisfies even a Darrow addict like me.”
—Roy Black, Esq., criminal defense attorney

About the Author

John Aloysius Farrell (jafarrell.com) was born and raised in Huntington, New York and suburban Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Virginia and embarked on a prize-winning career as a newspaperman, most notably for The Denver Post and The Boston Globe. He has covered every presidential campaign since 1976, two wars and the troubles in Northern Ireland. He moved to Washington for the Globe and served as White House correspondent and Washington editor, among other assignments. He has also driven an ice cream truck, shined shoes, waited tables, cared for the animals in a medical laboratory, worked as a construction worker, labored on an Israeli kibbutz and served as a gallery guard at the Masters golf tournament. He works now as a senior writer for The Center for Public Integrity in Washington. In 2001 he published "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century," a biography of the late Speaker of the House which won the Hardeman prize for the best book on Congress. An excerpt was included in "Pols: Great Writers on American Politicians," a 2004 anthology edited by Jack Beatty. Farrell's biography of the great American defense lawyer, "Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned," will be published by Doubleday in June, 2011 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

More About the Author

John Aloysius Farrell (www.jafarrell.com) was born and raised in Huntington, New York and suburban Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Virginia and embarked on a prize-winning career as a newspaperman, most notably for The Denver Post and The Boston Globe. He has covered every presidential campaign since 1976, two wars and the troubles in Northern Ireland. He moved to Washington for the Globe and served as White House correspondent and Washington editor, among other assignments. He has also driven an ice cream truck, shined shoes, waited tables, cared for the animals in a medical laboratory, worked as a construction worker, labored on an Israeli kibbutz and served as a gallery guard at the Masters golf tournament. In 2001 he published "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century," a biography of the late Speaker of the House which won the Hardeman prize for the best book on Congress. An excerpt was included in "Pols: Great Writers on American Politicians," a 2004 anthology edited by Jack Beatty. Farrell's biography of the great American defense lawyer, "Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned," won the 2012 Los Angeles Times book award for the best biography of the year. He is currently working on a biography of Richard Nixon.

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Customer Reviews

This is a special story about a very unusual man.
David R. Braden
If all you know about Darrow is as William Jennings Bryan's adversary in the Scopes "monkey trial," read this book.
H. Gleckman
With a writing style that is concise, cogent and fluid, Farrell succeeds in making Darrow come alive.
Peter Hillman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hillman on June 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After days of deliberation (i.e., engrossing reading), this reader is ready to return a verdict: Judgment for the Author!

And it was by no means an easy case.

Darrow would seem a daunting, perilous task for a biographer. He was born four years before the Civil War, lived into FDR's second term, and in between was a pervasive, dominant force in almost every significant U.S criminal case and legal issue (and plenty other things that captured his boundless interest). Colorful, controversial, narcissistic, fearless, grandiose and thoroughly brilliant, he strode through the 1880-1930 legal landscape like a true Colossus, no-holds-barred, to give a powerful voice to those for whom society had already spoken, denounced and consigned to severe punishment.

He was sensational newspaper fodder, in days when newspapers were rampant but often unreliable. He and his contemporaries (virtually every American figure of note crossed paths somehow with Darrow) left extensive correspondence and writings. Everyone knew of him and had an opinion. The Scopes trial was the first to be broadcast live nationally on radio. Leopold and Loeb captivated the country--and those are just two of Darrow's more famous cases.

How to separate man from myth, fact from hyperbole, and articulate a workable understanding of what drove this remarkable figure?

Enter Farrell-a prominent investigative journalist (suitably here, neither lawyer nor academic), who seemingly leaves no stone unturned in his painstaking search for the essence of Darrow. With a writing style that is concise, cogent and fluid, Farrell succeeds in making Darrow come alive.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's a high honor for a product name to be "genericized." A lot of people call copy machines Xerox machines, tissues are Kleenex, and all gelatins are Jell-O. In the post-World War II generation, many skilled advocates were complimented by being identified as "regular Clarence Darrows." The comparison served as recognition of a man whose career and accomplishments in American courthouses still resonate in the annals and history of the law.

CLARENCE DARROW: ATTORNEY FOR THE DAMNED is a new biography of one of the greatest courtroom advocates in history. Darrow began his legal career as a representative of big business, representing railroads and defending claims of injured workers. In his mid-30s, after a move from Ohio to Chicago, Darrow became a defender of the downtrodden. It was his work supporting the working man in his battle against oppression and government control that caused muckraker Lincoln Steffens to dub Darrow "the attorney for the damned." Darrow accepted the title when he published his autobiography, and the name also was used by Arthur Weinberg for a biography published in 1959.

Taking advantage of newly found primary sources, author John A. Farrell has done more than rehash Darrow's life. After his aforementioned work for railroads, the second phase of his career focused on capital punishment. Darrow became a vigorous opponent of the death penalty. While his first client was sentenced to hang, Darrow would successfully fight in countless cases to avoid the ultimate penalty. His writings and arguments on this issue still resonate in the current debate.

Darrow gained national attention travelling the country defending union leaders charged with murder, conspiracy and other crimes.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By H. Gleckman on July 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The remarkable story of a remarkable man. Equal parts cynic and idealist, Darrow was the best courtroom lawyer of his age. Whether he was defending thrill killers Leopold and Loeb or union leaders such as Big Bill Haywood and Eugene Debs, Darrow seemingly got just about every high-profile criminal case of his time. In Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, veteran journalist and Tip O'Neill biographer Jack Farrell brings Darrow to life, warts and all. If all you know about Darrow is as William Jennings Bryan's adversary in the Scopes "monkey trial," read this book. You'll learn about an extrordinary man in an extraordinary time. And you'll never think about courtroom justice in quite the same way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Gelman on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Among various American icons, Clarence Darrow is one of the most known ones. Darrow was given the unofficial title of "attorney for the damned" by another icon, Lincoln Steffens.
This book is a very interesting one due to the fact that its style of writing is, alas, uncoventional, meaning that it it far from being written in the sometimes dry and official academic style. In fact, it reminds one of (if I may say so) a jazzy way of putting pen to paper.
Darrow's times and historical background were the best and the worst of them. There were the tycoons, the paupers, the rich and the oppressed, the scandals, the anarchists, the expansion of American imperialism (wars included, for sure),the roaring twenties, the corruption scandals, the many scientific breakthroughs, World War One, the riots and lynchings of unfortunate Blacks, you get the idea.
Enter Darrow, the American iconoclast,was the person who fought almost all his life by dedicating his career to defend and save the lives of the poor, the unfortunate,the oppressed, the unfortunate, most of the time by legal means, sometimes by unorthodox ones. Darrow stood for the oppressed and the exploited workers, but sometimes represented the rich and corrupt, like in the notorious Leopold and Loeb case. Darrow was an atheist, a failed writer and a superb orator.
In my view, the best chapter in the book concerns the Scopes case where the essence of Darrow's thinking and philosophy of life spring at you from each page. This is vintage John Farell.
Was he the greatest American lawyer? That is for you to decide. Highly recommended.
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