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Top Customer Reviews
Ironically, although the Florida courts denied Gideon legal represention, the Justices appointed Abe Fortas, soon to be one of their brothers, to argue his cause. His victory, forever establishing the right of the poor to counsel in felony cases in America, was one of the landmark cases of the Warren Court.
As importantly, this book illustrates law at the human level. This is where practioners routinely encounter it. Cases studied in law school are sterile, stripping the humanity and drama from the litigants, and replacing them with rules of decision and conduct necessary for societal regulation. The distillation of fact contained within an appellate decision, even a landmark, pales in comparison to the human beings who create the cause.
Anthony Lewis's book should point law students and young lawyers to the deeper lessons of practice. Law is about people; and we, as lawyers, are their servants.
"Gideon's Trumpet" tells the story of one man's improbable battle and the Court's ultimate decision in his favor. Author Anthony Lewis has done a remarkable job of putting a human face (several, actually) on one of the landmark cases in criminal procedure and in making the story accessible to any adult regardless of a lack of formal legal training. In "Gideon's Trumpet," Lewis presents all of the characters as humans, not simply as people whose names later stand for legal rules (a la Miranda). "Gideon's Trumpet" also represents a ray of hope for those who think the legal system is solely the prerogative of the wealthy and politically connected, for here is the story of a virtual nobody who without the help of an attorney undertook a monumental process. In fact, "Gideon's Trumpet" might be a bit too optimistic. Written in 1964, the book could not have foreseen the subsequent studies that have shown that *Gideon v. Wainright* (the name of the case) has not substantially altered conviction rates. Still, the book tells a remarkable story quite well. Perhaps the highest praise is that this true story reads as a novel.
Like all court cases, there are long, human stories that lead up to the actual trial, but unfortunately those are seldom told and the only record we are left with is court opinions. In this book, however, a New York Times reporter did a staggering amount of research to present Gideon's personal history, as well as the development of his case, the preparation of his lawyers, the actual legal machinations that led to him winning his case before the Court. It is triumphant and interesting story for most readers, but it is also very educational and inspirational for aspiring lawyers who really don't understand the way the law works in the real world and needs a reminder that the law is really about helping people. I would highly recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this book for a class, but it is really a great read and I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to others for an enjoyable, yet informative read.Published 2 months ago by Samantha
Absolutely the best on the sixth amendment right to legal consul. Lewis is a genius writing on questions of Constitutional Law. Read morePublished 3 months ago by B. Bass
Terrific look behind the scenes of the American system of justice and the system is the same today.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
My niece needed this tome for some school work she was doing; however I sat down with her to go through it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ebeth
An essential and powerful story for the understanding of the rule of law in the United States. Few stories have as emotionally charged, as well as legally compelling, truths. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nicholas Malin-Adams