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Philadelphia Freedom: Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer Paperback – August 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


Philadelphia Freedom is the spellbinding tale of an idealistic young lawyer coming of age in the political cauldron of the 1960s and 1970s. From his immersion in the civil rights movement to his determined court battles to quell criminal violence by Philadelphia police, Kairys recounts how he helped make history in the city of brotherly love. -- William K. Marimow, Editor and Executive Vice President, Philadelphia Inquirer, and recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes

David Kairys is one of the grand long-distance runners in the struggle for justice in America. His brilliant legal mind and superb lawyerly skills are legendary. This marvelous book is his gift to us! -- Cornel West, Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University, and award-winning author of Race Matters

David Kairys's compelling book properly explains the vital role that civil rights attorneys play in our system of justice. -- Judge John E. Jones III, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and presiding judge in the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case

In the current climate of political deception and the trampling of our civil rights, Kairys's compelling book is a clenched fist, a prayer for social justice and a call to conscience. -- Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist and former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist

With engaging, insider stories of innovative legal strategies of a truly creative lawyer, this book evokes the ebullient spirit of progressive social change launched in the 1960s and should be read by aspiring and practicing lawyers as well as anyone interested in American social history. Philadelphia Freedom reads like a suspense novel and reveals how novel legal and political thinking can and does make a real difference to individuals and to the quality of justice. -- Martha L. Minow, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

David Kairys is Professor of Law at Beasley School of Law, Temple University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press; First Edition edition (August 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472033107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472033102
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Kairys is a professor of constitutional law at Temple Law School, a leading civil rights lawyer, and an author of books and commentary on a range of issues. His latest book - Philadelphia Freedom, Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer - has received wide acclaim.

Cornel West, Princeton professor and author or Race Matters, says on the back cover of the book: "David Kairys is one of the grand long-distance runners in the struggle for justice in America. His brilliant legal mind and superb lawyerly skills are legendary. This marvelous book is his gift to us!"

Professor Kairys' other books include the leading progressive critique of the law, The Politics of Law (editor and co-author), and With Liberty and Justice for Some.

As a civil rights lawyer, he won the leading race discrimination case against the FBI, won challenges to unrepresentative juries around the country, stopped police sweeps of minority neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and represented Dr. Benjamin Spock in a free speech case before the Supreme Court. In 1971 he co-founded a small civil rights law firm, now Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg. In 1996 he conceived the lawsuits brought by over 40 cities against handgun manufacturers, and his public-nuisance theory has become the major basis for a range of challenges to corporate practices that endanger public health or safety.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Duprestars on December 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing collection of true stories about a young lawyer seeking justice. Lots of lawyer books are war stories which feature the lawyer's own version of their brilliant ideas and actions. This one is different. The stories themselves are entertaining, but more than that they show a person trying to find their way in the maze of the legal system. The result is a series of episodes showing how creativity in problem-solving in the legal system can unfold. Good read for people interested in stories, or people interested in law and justice, or people interested in how people face obstacles and overcome them.
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