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v. Goliath: The Trials of David Boies [Kindle Edition]

Karen Donovan
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $13.02
You Save: $2.93 (18%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

David Boies, the star trial lawyer in a country obsessed with legal drama, proves endlessly fascinating in this compulsively readable account of his extraordinary career.A man of almost superhuman accomplishment, Boies argued a string of headline-making cases before being catapulted to international prominence when he represented Al Gore before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. Brash, reckless, and prideful, he is also charming, charismatic, unerringly articulate in the courtroom, and supremely comfortable in the public eye. Legal journalist Karen Donovan, herself a lawyer, had unprecedented access to Boies for nearly two years. In v. Goliath she gives us a scintillating chronicle of the legal dramas in which Boies has played a crucial role and a riveting, up-close portrait of a singularly gifted lawyer.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As Donovan shows in this insightful biography (a notable counterpoint to Boies's own recently published autobiography, Courting Justice), power attorney David Boies has been at the fulcrum of the culture of legal celebrities for 20 years. Best known as the lawyer who represented the Democratic Party and Al Gore during the 2000 postelection battle, Boies has been involved in other high-profile cases: he represented the U.S. Justice Department in its suit against Microsoft, and CBS when it was sued by Gen. William Westmoreland. Donovan, a former attorney and editor at the National Law Journal, underscores Boies's brilliant mind, his ability to work long hours and his gift for persuasion. But Donovan, who tracked Boies with his approval, also knocks the lawyer off his pedestal, exposing the "myth" that he spearheaded IBM's defense in the 1975 U.S. v. IBM. Tracking Boies's losses as well as victories (and noting some disingenuousness when, in losing the Napster case, he blamed the judge), Donovan highlights such struggles as a bias case brought by several women staffers against his law firm, which was settled. Donovan seems to believe he's too cozy with members of the media who report on him and that he basks rather too much in the media's glow. While sometimes focusing on irrelevant personal details, she offers a sure, skeptical account of Boies's rise to the top of the legal realm. (Feb. 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“A complex portrait. . . . Donovan was given extraordinary access to Mr. Boies, and it paid off.” —The New York Sun

“Incisive. . . . [An] invaluable depiction of a man as complicated and contradictory as he is gifted.” —New York Law Journal

“Insightful. . . . A sure, skeptical account of Boies’s rise to the top of the legal realm.” —Publishers Weekly

“Here a colorful life takes on some color [with Donovan’s] significant access to Boies and his inner circle.” —Los Angeles Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 367 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375726551
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 8, 2005)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,337 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engaging January 8, 2008
By --S
Format:Kindle Edition
Karen Donovan's book is something of a biography, a Grisham novel, a history book, and a litigation primer all wrapped into one. (As a litigator, I'm actually thinking that some of the strategies related in the book would be helpful for me in court.) Thoroughly engaging and entertaining, Ms. Donovan has a great deal of respect for her subject's talents but is careful not to gloss over his significant flaws.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inside Scoop March 24, 2005
In this insightful and yeomanly researched book, Karen Donovan paints a vivid picture of a man who has achieved iconic status among America's trial lawyers. Thanks to the access granted the author by David Boies, we get not only a ringside seat for some of the last decade's most high-profile trials, including, of course, the one that put the current occupant of the White House in office, but we're there for pre-trial strategy sessions and post-trial dinners as well. Throughout, Donovan maintains a keen-eyed objectivity and isn't afraid to deflate balloons of bravado when need be. All in all, it's a compelling read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for future and current litigators March 11, 2011
David Boies probably has the most varied and storied career of any litigator alive, capped now by his recent work on the California Prop. 8 case. Unlike many top litigators profiled in previous books, who are workaholics with boundless energy but few quirks or outside interests, Boies is also a bit of an eccentric in his career path, world view, hobbies, and even shoe preferences.

This combination helps make Karen Donovan's book such a compelling read, and Boies such a compelling subject. Interspersed with incisive analysis of major cases Boies has handled, particularly the Microsoft antitrust case, are snippets and anecdotes about this colorful figure and about the practice of high-stakes lawsuits today. Donovan's book is thus a must for anyone who aspires to litigate at the top levels, or who just wants to learn more about how one of the greatest litigators of all time manages to pull it off in this conformist world and profession of ours.

--Ross Guberman, author of Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing Read May 2, 2011
It is hard to believe that a profile of one of America's top lawyers could be so engrossing, but Karen Donovan has written a superb book on David Boies. This biography of Boies reads like a novel and really gives one a window into his life and approach to the law. I found it to be, as one reviewer put it, "unputdownable." I highly recommend this book for lawyers and non-lawyers alike!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Companion to Boies's Own Memoir May 11, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This excellent book is best read alongside Boies's own memoir, Courting Justice. I’ve been interested in Boies for a while, after seeing Charlie Rose interview him about the Prop 8 litigation last year and, more recently, after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent (as usual) profile of him in his last book on underdogs. Boies’s career is remarkable—he was already a go-to Wall Street litigator before the DoJ hired him to prosecute the Microsoft antitrust litigation, leading Al Gore’s legal campaign in Florida and eventually to the Supreme Court, and now heading the Prop 8 fight. What makes these two books stand out is not just their subject, it’s that they manage to cover that subject from two perspectives that are independently fantastic. Donovon is a legal reporter who was assigned to cover the Microsoft trial, got to know Boies and pitched the book idea to him. He agreed, and she followed him for the “miracle year” following that, through Bush v. Gore. In the middle of that year, Boies was approached by a book publisher to write a memoir. In Courting Justice, we get a first hand view of Boies and how he thinks. Standing alone, the memoir manages to avoid the self-masturbatory tone that ruins too many other autobiographies. Then, in v. Goliath, Donovon paints an honest picture of Boies with a little distance. Donovon is clearly taken in by his charm, but is also not shy to point out criticisms of his work. If you’re in law, and especially litigation, the books are littered with industry history and practice points. But even if you’re not, the books are accessible, well edited, and interesting. It’s rare to have two first-hand accounts written so well about such a deserving career. I highly recommend them in tandem.
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