Customer Reviews


103 Reviews
5 star:
 (63)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He that Troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind."
On a number of levels, this is a great story. Some people see it only as a take on the Scopes trial. The characters are fictitious, but the story is largely based on facts. The readers that only see this as a book about the monkey trial miss the point.

Those who view this book as promoting evolutionism, see Chrisitians portrayed as narrow-minded and...
Published on October 4, 2004 by JMack

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Review to Inherit the Wind
My Review of Inherit the Wind
Inherit the Wind is the inspiring story of a small town, forced to confront their ignorance's and prejudices when a high school teacher, Bertram Cates is put on trial for teaching evolution. Although the way I've just described the plot sounds simple, this play is anything but simple. It has many different character relationships and...
Published on March 31, 2011 by Evaline Roberts


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He that Troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.", October 4, 2004
By 
On a number of levels, this is a great story. Some people see it only as a take on the Scopes trial. The characters are fictitious, but the story is largely based on facts. The readers that only see this as a book about the monkey trial miss the point.

Those who view this book as promoting evolutionism, see Chrisitians portrayed as narrow-minded and intolerant. This is no more of a stereotype than a Middle Easterner playing the role of a terrorist in a James Bond film. In the Scopes Trial, the Chirstians were intolerant of evolution being taught. Tolerant Christians, which still comprise the majority, would not exactly play the role well.

The point of the story is clearly laid out in the final pages of the book. The agnostic defense attorney Henry Drummond (who represents Clarence Darrow in the actual Scopes Trial) is talking to the arrogant reporter E. K. Hornbeck. Hornbeck assumes Drummond agrees with his view that the peopleof Hillsboro are backwards and ignorant in their Christian beliefs. Drummond lashes out at Hornbeck, telling him the people of Hillsboro have every right to have their beliefs. In the same way, people have a right to believe in evolution.

The 1st Amendment provides freedom of religion, or freedom not to subscribe to any particular religious beliefs. This book is a powerful statement not about evolution, but the right to think. Whether you fall on either side of the argument for evolution or have compromised between the sides, the story is a lesson worth noting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Modern Theatre's Best, March 20, 2004
By A Customer
Though it is based on the Scopes Trial, which took place in Tennessee in 1925, INHERIT THE WIND is essentially a work of fiction; even the names of the principal characters have been changed (John Scopes is now Bertram Cates; Clarence Darrow is Henry Drummond; William Jennings Bryan becomes Matthew Harrison Brady). In addition, the setting of the play is non-specific: a certain southern town, "not long ago." IDEAS are what the play is about, and like most great works of art, INHERIT THE WIND does not offer simple answers. Just as Drummond argues for "the right to think," so does the play allow the reader/audience member to consider many possibilities. For instance, in the play's final moments Drummond places both a copy of Darwin's book and a Bible in his briefcase, then leaves the courtroom. This suggests the possibility that science and religion might be compatible. Because he is willing to consider both theories, Drummond is very unlike both Brady, who believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible, and the cynical reporter E.K. Hornbeck (originally H.L. Mencken -- the "Greek chorus character," or commentator, who speaks in free verse), who completely rejects Brady's ideas. It is in fact Brady who emerges as a true tragic figure; it is also Brady who undergoes change and is therefore the most complex character in the play. INHERIT THE WIND has everything: a tragic hero, colorful characters and dialogue, gripping courtroom scenes, and a skillfully foreshadowed, climactic death. Also recommended: the 1960 film version, starring Spencer Tracy as Drummond and Frederic March as Brady.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History into drama, September 28, 2001
"Inherit the Wind," the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, premiered on Broadway during the 1955-56 theater season. But the play's genesis (no pun intended) lies in the events of 1925. In that year, a high school teacher named John Scopes was put on trial in Tennessee for violating a law that forbade the teaching of Darwinian evolution. With William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense, this became one of the most important trials in United States history. The trial remains a key battle in the ongoing war of biblical literalism versus science and reason.
The play freely adapts the details of history. The authors even change the names of the principal characters involved: Bryan becomes "Matthew Harrison Brady," Darrow becomes "Henry Drummond," etc. But the core events of that historic trial remain firmly embedded in the play.
"Inherit" is an excellent play that is very readable in book form. Lawrence and Lee write superb dialogue, and create vivid characters in Brady, Drummond, and the rest. The play is an effective satire of religious fundamentalism.
With the continuing efforts of religious fundamentalists to force their views on the general public (both in the United States and elsewhere), "Inherit the Wind" remains as relevant as ever. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Review to Inherit the Wind, March 31, 2011
This review is from: Inherit the Wind (Paperback)
My Review of Inherit the Wind
Inherit the Wind is the inspiring story of a small town, forced to confront their ignorance's and prejudices when a high school teacher, Bertram Cates is put on trial for teaching evolution. Although the way I've just described the plot sounds simple, this play is anything but simple. It has many different character relationships and dense themes that it confronts in a matter of only 3 acts. While that may work for a piece of literature like the Odyssey, I found the play harder to wrap my mind around. The story switched tones and themes so quickly that I found myself getting whiplash. Now I liked the story, and I am interested in all of the themes presented in it, for example, majority vs. minority, the separation of church and state, and the relationship between the Americans in cities and country folk. However I don't find it conducive to good writing to read about too many of these dense subjects in a matter of 118 pages. However, I did like the characters and their developments throughout the story. Jerome Laurence and Robert E. Lee told the story of a small town getting not only its fifteen minutes of fame, but scratching the surface of one of the older arguments that have been going on in our country; is there truly a separation of church and state?
If you want to hear a lot of ideas in a short period of time, this play is for you, its easy to read, however if you are someone who really likes to ponder and study one theme or issue at a time, this play will not allow you at kind of "luxury."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading, October 4, 2001
I'd have to say that this is one of the best books i've read this year. No, it is not a historical account, and I am somewhat surprised that people looked at it that way at all.
I think it portrays the "bible beaters" as ignorant for a reason: fundamentalism tends to breed ignorance. Oh, and maybe I'm the only one who noticed, but there are still people who refuse to think about evolution at all and instead take the word of the Bible literally without thinking. In fact, there are many such people, especially in my home state of Utah, so this book was particularly meaningful to me because of my experience in junior high/high school. (it is also good to remember that fundamentalism is not limited to religion.)
This is not to say that it is a proponent of atheism, either. If you notice, all of the characters believe in God with the exception of Hornbeck, and he isn't any sort of hero. Rather, the heros are those who can think for themselves and balance science with religion without harming the work of either. Evolution and Creation are simply a structure in which to discuss the issue of free thinking. That is what this book/play is about -- the ability to think for oneself.
Happy reading!
Scott
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Inherit the Wind, December 18, 2002
By 
Anna Marie (South Carolina) - See all my reviews
"He that troubleth his own home shall inherit the wind:
And the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart."
Proverbs 11:29
In Inherit the Wind, Bertram Cates, a small-time schoolteacher, teaches Darwinism and dares to challenge his upbringing in the small town of Hillsboro. The mob mentality of overzealous religious people causes them to object. The protagonist of the story is Henry Drummond, the defending attorney for Bertram Cates. The antagonists are Matthew Harrison Brady, the prosecuting attorney, Reverend Jeremiah Brown, who condemns to Hell all people who dare to challenge his strict interpretations of the Bible, and Hornbeck, the forever cynic of everyone's thoughts and feelings but his own.
Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee are not supporters of Darwinism. They just want to convey, through their story, that things and thoughts should not be condemned merely because they are different. In their writing, the authors used flashbacks through Henry Drummond and metaphors through many of the characters in order to communicate their feelings. This book conveys a message to its audience that is well-worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fictional version of the famous Scopes "Monkey" trial, March 10, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   
In this introduction to "Inherit the Wind" Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee attempt to put the play into historical perspective: "'Inherit the Wind' is hot history. The events which took place in Dayton, Tennessee...are clearly the genesis of the play [but] it has...an exodus entirely its own." The playwrights took only a handful of phrases from the trial transcript and declared that "The collision of Bryan and Darrow at Dayton was dramatic, but it was not a drama." In the play William Jennings Bryan becomes Matthew Harrison Brady, Clarence Darrow was transformed into Henry Drummond, H.L. Mencken changed to E.K. Hornbeck, and John Scopes was now Bertram Cates. However, from the play's first performance in 1955 it has been impossible to dissociate the characters from their historical counterparts.
The Scopes "Monkey" Trial did not pop up in American history books until the late 1950s after the debut of "Inherit the Wind," and many early descriptions followed the play rather than actual events despite the fact that changes are numerous. Unlike Scopes, who was persuaded to be a test case, Bert Cates takes it upon himself to violate the law, becoming a pariah in the town of Hillsboro. The citizens of the town in the play have much more of a lynch mob mentality (which is played up even more in Stanley Kramer's 1960 film version), but the centerpiece for both the historical drama and the theater version is the cross-examination of one lawyer by another before the media and the world.
Whereas Darrow had a weekend to practice his examination of Bryan, Drummond is suddenly inspired to put Brady on the stand. The cross-examination in "Inherit the Wind" most notably differs from the Scopes trial transcript in that Drummond is required to confine his questions only to the subject of the Bible, where as Darrow could ask not only about the miracles in the Bible but explore Bryan's knowledge of various sciences and non-Christian religions as well. Drummond insists that "it takes a very smart fella to say 'I don't know the answer,'" which, ironically, is what Bryan repeatedly responded to Darrow on the witness stand in Dayton.
The character of E.K. Hornbeck, the cynical observer, has such an extreme view of the proceedings that he forces the audience, whether viewing or reading the play, to take a more moderate position. Ultimately, the judgment here is of "Brady" and "Drummond." Brady is portrayed as a foolish fundamentalist, whose chief sin is ignorance more than bigotry. In contrast, Drummond is a religious atheist, who finds the right to think to be holy. When Drummond leaves at the play's conclusion he puts the Bible and a copy of Darwin into his satchel together, suggesting an equality of sorts that neither character, in the drama or in history, ever espoused. There was such a figure of reconciliation during the trial, defense lawyer Dudley Field Malone, but he remains the most forgotten figure of the trial as the idea of the compatibility between Genesis and evolution has come to be rejected more and more by both sides.
Lawrence and Lee's fictionalized account of the Scopes trial was not only the first major work to touch on the Monkey trial after World War II, it was the most significant in terms of public knowledge about the trial. Certainly more people have seen the film or television movie versions of "Inherit the Wind" than have read all the books on the Scopes trial combined. Whatever disclaimers are provided to the contrary, the play's version of what happened in "Hillsboro" is accepted as either being true or close enough to the truth to make the differences inconsequential. When Susan Epperson challenged Arkansas' Rotenberry Act journalists actually invoked "Inherit the Wind" rather than the Scopes Trial as their point of reference.
Furthermore, the "Inherit the Wind" dramatization has never been challenged. Scopes admitted the film "altered the facts of the real trial," but focused on the "small liberties" of suggesting he had been jailed and met his future wife during the trial. Overall, Scopes declared that the film version "captured the emotions in the battle of words between Bryan and Darrow." In the final analysis that idea of "emotions" may be the best way of capturing the essence of the Scopes myth; it is a version of the Scopes trial that is shaped and colored by emotions rather than by factors or logic. After all, when the play premiered the Butler Act was still on the books in Tennessee.
It was not until the vote by the Tennessee legislature to repeal the Butler Act, after the supreme court decision in Epperson vs. Arkansas, that "Inherit the Wind" became more history that rhetoric, although certainly the rhetorical dimension has, to some extent, been subsumed by the theatricality of the piece. After all, from Paul Muni and Ed Begley to Spencer Tracy and Frederic March to Jason Robards and Kirk Douglas to Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott the play has been a dramatic showcase for its two male leads. Perhaps it is for that reason that it will remain a staple of high school and community theaters rather than for the resonance it brings to current events regarding the teaching of evolution in American schools. Furthermore, you can argue that the touchstone for the play is now more the separation of church and state than the original issue of evolution. What is not in dispute is that "Inherit the Wind" has become a rare instance of fiction that has assumed the mantle of fact.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic, October 15, 2004
I didn't read Inherit the Wind in school. Maybe because I went to Catholic schools? But I can see why many people did and still do. This is a true classic, concerning a gigantic human and national issue, one which well defines America still.

Based on the Scopes Monkey Trial, this is a spectacular drama, full of people from the town of Hillsboro (a fictional setting) and outsiders, converging to witness the trial of a man who dared to teach or suggest Darwinian evolutionary theory, and the two lawyers who argue for the law of God (and here the law of the state) and the laws of Science, respectively.

This is an important, positive play because it is about choice. I wish I could have been part of a class discussion of the play, and to see how other people, especially kids take this story.

I read the Dramatists Play Service edition, which features extensive stage directions that take up equal space to the dialogue itself. The scope of the production is evident, with about 30 speaking parts and dozens of other bystandards. For this reason I wonder if another edition is less extensive...

But the stage directions can be skimmed, and if you are reading for the heart if it, they should be. The heart being the trial scenes themselves, particularly when defence attorney Henry Drummond cross examines his counterpart Matt Brady, an avowed Biblical expert.

Highly recommended. The kind of play and story I'd like to re-read once a year...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Courtroom Dramas of the 20th Century, May 15, 2011
This review is from: Inherit the Wind (Paperback)
The so-called "Scopes Monkey Trial" occurred in 1925 Dayton, Tennessee and was essentially a hoax.

The state wanted a test-case to see if a recently enacted law against teaching Dawin's theory would hold up in court. The test was arranged by the American Civil Liberties Union; Scopes, who was actually a coach that taught the occasional science class, agreed to say he had broken the law for the sake of the test; the town cashed in on the media circus; and the legal wrangling was left to Clarence Darrow for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution. Darrow did indeed call Bryan to the witness stand as an expert on the Bible, but their exchange was more friendly than acrimonious, and the next day the judge deemed Bryan's testimony irrelevant and threw it out. Scopes was convicted and the case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which threw out the conviction on a technicality and expressed a desire that everyone would shut the hell up and go home. (One of the state Supreme Court Judges described the case as "bizarre.") The case was not retried and ten years later everybody but pop historians had forgotten all about it.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, however, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Unamerican Activities Committee began a series of witch-hunts for communists in the country, and as their reign of terror intensified the issue of what could and could not be taught in the public schools once more came to the fore. Playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee--who would also write another great play of the era, AUNTIE MAME--seized on the Scopes Monkey Trial and used it as a model for the battle over freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and what could and should be taught in the classroom. The result was the play INHERIT THE WIND, and in 1955 when the play debuted there wasn't a person who didn't instantly know it was a metaphor for Senator McCarthy and like-minded individuals. Today Senator McCarthy and his minions were a thing of the past--and the play is usually interpreted as a battle between narrow-minded Christians and more liberal, perhaps even agnostic or atheist scientists. Even so, it is easy to detect the issues of freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression simmering just beneath the skin of the play.

The play begins with the arrival of William Harrison Brady (based on William Jennings Bryan) in small-town Hillsboro to assist in the prosecution of school teacher Bert Cates, who has dared teach Darwin's theories in his science class. Brady is peturbed when a reporter named Hornbeck (based on H.L. Menken) announces that Drummond will be attorney for the defense--but he remains convinced he can win the case. Although the first act includes several scenes, including a notable fundamentalist Christian revival meeting, the bulk of the play is consumed by courtroom scenes. Indeed, the entire second act is essentially an extended courtroom scene, and it is justly famous, particularly the moments in which Drummond traps Brady into an implied admission that evolution and creationism are not actually incompatible notions. More than fifty years after they were written, these scenes still have the power to hold audiences spellbound, and while audiences now tend to see the play through a different cultural filture, it remains as disquieting, disturbing, and controversial as it was when first written.

INHERIT THE WIND is a powerful play, beautifully constructed, possessing titanic figures playing out titanic issues. It is truly one of the great dramas of the 20th Century and deserves to be read--and if possible, seen--by everyone interested in American theatre.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic play that has taken on new relevance, July 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Everyone should be aware that this is a play script, not a novel. The plot involves the battle between creationists and evolutionists and takes place in the 1920s-1930s era. Without becoming political, it's fascinating to me that the debate between these ideas that was so bitter nearly a hundred years ago has reared its head again in the 2000s. In fact, I bought this for my step-daughter who was frustrated in biology by some of her classmates interrupting the teacher with creationist rhetoric. In any event, the play itself is fast-moving and has dynamic, interesting characters. The dialog is a bit old-fashioned and hard to read at times, and the characters - especially Mathew Brady - are somewhat over-the-top. My step-daughter didn't read it because of the dialog, but I found it as compelling as the first time I read it several years ago.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Inherit the Wind
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence (Paperback - March 20, 2007)
$9.95 $9.05
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.