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The Art of Cross-Examination

40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0684843049
ISBN-10: 0684843048
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684843048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684843049
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 78 people found the following review helpful By thewahlmighty on July 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every once in a while a book is published that has a wide appeal to the general public even though it is written for a specific, professional audience. _The Art of Cross-Examination_ by Francis Wellman is just such a book.
But, this book is not new and today it does not have a very wide readership outside the field of law. Perhaps this is because of a marketing failure on behalf of its publishers or perhaps it is due to a lack of reviewers pointing out the value it offers to a general audience. Whatever the case may be the fact remains that this book _is_ worth reading--by the professional attorney _and_ the average man or woman on the street. The purpose of my review here is to show, in essence, why.
_The Art of Cross-Examination_ teaches its readers how--meaning: by what methods--the truth can best be reached given conflicting stories or observations (whether they result from dishonesty, or from a failure to properly identify the truth).
One of the things readers will learn from this book is how to--and when or when not to--ask the questions that will lead one to the truth, whatever that turns out to be in each case. You will learn the methods and the proper manner of cross-examination and then you'll learn how both of these apply in differing contexts (such as when cross-examining an expert or a perjured witness).
As in all great non-fiction books Wellman presents what is being taught clearly, building in each chapter on what was learned in the previous one. More importantly, the author presents his case for how a proper cross-examination should be conducted by reference to numerous, often-humorous, and always-dramatic instances of successful cross-examinations.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on July 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Back in 1973, when I rose to my hind legs to cross examine my first adverse witness in my first jury trial, I had but one thought on my mind: "What do I do now?" The answer came to me from a little paperback book I had picked up on a whim while I was in law school. Remembering a few of the teachings in that book, I struggled through that cross and several more en route to a favorable jury verdict.
The first two years of my law practice, I read "The Art of Cross Examination" once every three months, and I profited from each re-reading. Wellman gives a wealth of basic practical advice, gives it in an engaging fashion, and illustrates it with entertaining stories. When you read it, you may find some gender references which we "enlightened" moderns would describe as "politically incorrect," but try to remember that the book was written a century ago. Despite the fact that it's beginning to show its age a little, this book is THE classic commentary on cross examination. Nowhere else can you find such good instruction at such a low price. END
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By G. Ware Cornell Jr. VINE VOICE on September 17, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Twenty years ago as a young lawyer I tried a case with one of my firms partners, who was in his eighties. He let me try the case, and we received a rather just decision from the court. I was quite proud of myself, only to learn from my boss that the senior partner felt that my style of cross examination was ineffective at best.
I determined to learn all I could about effective cross examination. The first book I read was also the last- Wellman's The Art of Cross Examination. Although the book was writen around the turn of the century, it contains a treasure trove of illustraions about different kinds of cross examination. How to Cross Examine the Hostile Witness, the Lying Witness , the scientific Witness, the Truthful Witness (the hardest job of all)
The book is a true today as it was 95 years ago.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a trial lawyer and former assistant district attorney, I read this book expecting to learn the nuts and bolts of cross-examination. What a disappointment. The book is obsolete and contains virtually nothing of any use to today's trial lawyer. It's a fun read, and it's interesting to see some of the examinations excerpted, but using this book to learn to cross-examine is probably close to malpractice. There are excellent books and tapes on the topic if you want practical "how to" info. This isn't among them. Still, it's worth reading as a piece of legal history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tal on November 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
to simplify things, It's the Sun Tsu's "Art of war" for a lawyer.
It was written some 100 years ago, but hey: weren't those the days of the great, classic cross-examinations? besides, the chapter about the cross of experts is especially relevant in our days.
the book helped me understand myself, the wittness and the judge during the trial, and complicated as well as simplified things.
The examples really help you through the tactics described.
The best I've read, and the cheapest I've bought.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marty McCarthy VINE VOICE on April 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Francis Wellman first published this book in 1903 and despite the passage of over 100 years, the book is nearly as relevant then as it is today.

There is much to value in this work but, perhaps, the most important contribution is Wellman's recognition that there are different types of lawyers who employ different styles of cross-examination. Wellman, therefore, provides the reader with several examples of lawyers employing different styles of cross-examintion.

In terms of learning the craft of cross-examination, the most valuable chapters deal with the examination of experts and in the examination of the "fallacies of testimony" and the "Silent Cross-Examination."

In reading Wellman's work, the reader must be cognizant of the fact that the book was written in 1903 and, as a result, realize that some of the "practical" advice may be outdated. Even so, there still may be value in that advice.

In the end, the same thing was true in 1903 as it is today - the practice of law is really the art of borrowing and Wellman has provided much for the practitioner to borrow.
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