- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (June 14, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385522584
- ISBN-13: 978-0385522588
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 14, 2011
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Praise for Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned
"[This is] vintage Darrow, inspiring, enraging, and, in Farrell's engrossing biography, marvelously alive."
—The New York Times
"John A. Farrell, with access to previously unavailable materials, brings the 'grandest legal career in American history' to life again in a masterfully researched and elegantly written volume."
—The Boston Globe
"Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned is inpeccably researched, beautifully written, and timely...Farrell gives us Darrow in all his brilliance, hypocrisy, and eccentricity....As Farrell's riveting biography makes abundantly clear, there was no more powerful and incendiary thunderbolt than Clarence Darrow."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"A clear-sighted, empathetic biography....[Farrell] knows that he has a protagonist of Shakespearean richness and complexity, and this well-written, vividly atmospheric portrait captures Clarence Darrow with his faults and contradictions intact."
—Los Angeles Times
“A comprehensive biography of the storied defense attorney. Making elaborate use of transcripts, observers’ accounts, correspondence and newspaper reports, Farrell chronicles Darrow’s most celebrated trials in detail....These cases—including two in which Darrow, almost surely guilty, was himself tried for jury tampering—dominate the narrative, but Farrell neatly places them within the larger context of this complicated man’s crowded life and practice....Farrell unflinchingly addresses [Darrow’s] shortcomings, even as he underscores the genuine brilliance of a still-unmatched advocate for underdogs everywhere.”
—Kirkus Starred Review
“Farrell offers excerpts from Darrow’s magnificent courtroom arguments as well as delicious details of his personal life (he was a hearty participant in the era’s free love movement). [He] gleans from previously undisclosed material to offer a completely engaging portrait of a flawed man of noble ideals.”
—Booklist Starred Review
“John A. Farrell, in Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, goes farther into the archives and deeper into Darrow’s crags.”
“Masterful...a riveting piece of work and certain to be one of the most fascinating biographies of this or any other year.”
—The Daily Beast
"Groundbreaking...Attorney for the Damned is a well-balanced portrait of the private and public Darrow, giving the sweep of his life and times."
—The Washington Times
"Farrell draws from previously unpublished correspondence to give fresh insight into Darrow's remarkable career...A thoughtful overview of Darrow, his life, and his many accomplishments."
—The Seattle Times
“It is almost impossible to conceive how so much living could have come in just one life, and Jack Farrell’s masterful new biography makes Clarence Darrow come alive. This is a wonderful, at times heart-pounding story, told with precision, sympathy, and insight.”
"This book is a joy and a revelation. It is at once a rollicking tour through the mind of a legal genius and a spellbinding account of some of the most famous cases in American history. The chapter on Leopold and Loeb alone is worth waiting in line to get a seat in Jack Farrell's courtroom."
—David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered and They Marched into Sunlight
“John Farrell’s Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned is a riveting historical drama filled with strange twists and turns. Every page is a triumph of scholarship. A marvelous biography!”
—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
"People want heroes. But history demands truth. This gritty biography demystifies a deeply flawed legal hero, who 'almost assuredly' bribed jurors and witnesses in order to level the playing field against 'the rich and powerful.' Darrow was a giant of his corrupt times. His biography is a must-read for all Americans who care about both the means and ends of justice!"
—Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion
“Clarence Darrow confounded titles: he was a freethinker, hedonist, anarchist, populist, infidel, cynic, and master storyteller who became our greatest lawyer and a folk hero. Farrell’s masterful, sweeping new biography not only does justice to all his roles but joyously satisfies even a Darrow addict like me.”
—Roy Black, Esq., criminal defense attorney
About the Author
John Aloysius Farrell (jafarrell.com) was born and raised in Huntington, New York and suburban Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Virginia and embarked on a prize-winning career as a newspaperman, most notably for The Denver Post and The Boston Globe. He has covered every presidential campaign since 1976, two wars and the troubles in Northern Ireland. He moved to Washington for the Globe and served as White House correspondent and Washington editor, among other assignments. He has also driven an ice cream truck, shined shoes, waited tables, cared for the animals in a medical laboratory, worked as a construction worker, labored on an Israeli kibbutz and served as a gallery guard at the Masters golf tournament. He works now as a senior writer for The Center for Public Integrity in Washington. In 2001 he published "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century," a biography of the late Speaker of the House which won the Hardeman prize for the best book on Congress. An excerpt was included in "Pols: Great Writers on American Politicians," a 2004 anthology edited by Jack Beatty. Farrell's biography of the great American defense lawyer, "Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned," will be published by Doubleday in June, 2011 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
And it was by no means an easy case.
Darrow would seem a daunting, perilous task for a biographer. He was born four years before the Civil War, lived into FDR's second term, and in between was a pervasive, dominant force in almost every significant U.S criminal case and legal issue (and plenty other things that captured his boundless interest). Colorful, controversial, narcissistic, fearless, grandiose and thoroughly brilliant, he strode through the 1880-1930 legal landscape like a true Colossus, no-holds-barred, to give a powerful voice to those for whom society had already spoken, denounced and consigned to severe punishment.
He was sensational newspaper fodder, in days when newspapers were rampant but often unreliable. He and his contemporaries (virtually every American figure of note crossed paths somehow with Darrow) left extensive correspondence and writings. Everyone knew of him and had an opinion. The Scopes trial was the first to be broadcast live nationally on radio. Leopold and Loeb captivated the country--and those are just two of Darrow's more famous cases.
How to separate man from myth, fact from hyperbole, and articulate a workable understanding of what drove this remarkable figure?
Enter Farrell-a prominent investigative journalist (suitably here, neither lawyer nor academic), who seemingly leaves no stone unturned in his painstaking search for the essence of Darrow. With a writing style that is concise, cogent and fluid, Farrell succeeds in making Darrow come alive. What emerges in this fresh and colorful account is a portrait of a man both blessed with gifts and riddled with flaws, for whom almost any means--even juror bribery--justified the ends of manacling perceived injustice.
Farrell wisely lets Darrow speak his own great court arguments; the author also draws judiciously from reliable primary sources such as letters, diaries and observations by contemporaries. Farrell is respectful of earlier writers who have tackled Darrow's life in full, but points out where (and why) they missed a mark. This author also deftly weaves in outstanding secondary sources, such as treatments of specific cases. The net effect is a modest but knowing and confident author's tone--quite a feat considering the prodigious effort involved.
The requisite source notes are here, although I would have preferred more separate entries, rather than frustrating "round up" notes. Fortunately, the Bibliography is a reader's dream. Alas, my Kindle version had only limited photograph images (the Darrow Wikipedia page alone was more enlightening in this respect). Also, I found the publisher's bally-hoo of new revelations and "Free Love" lifestyles to be, well, of relatively minor stir in the grander scheme of things.
But these are minor criticisms. I hope other readers will experience the rare joy I had, of setting aside preconceptions/skepticisms about this icon, and letting Farrell completely take over the story-telling reins. It is a memorable and invigorating ride and one I highly recommend.
Mr. Farrell does an excellent job of describing Mr. Darrow as well as the times he lived. Our current legal system still has many faults, but the level of corruption and skulduggery practiced during the late 1800s and early 1900s makes today's jurisprudence seem nearly utopian. Clarence Darrow was involved in many of the time period's high-profile cases. He represented the unfairly maligned Eugene Debs, many despicable criminals, Los Angeles union murderers, various odious corporate barons, the famous Leopold and Loeb, as well as tackled racism and, of course, the Scopes Monkey trial. The author gives a rationale for all the choices Darrow made in taking on a case. During his many years in Chicago, avarice and exploitation by corporations described in the book made my stomach turn. Sweatshops packed with immigrants, child labor abuse, the hellish meat packing industries, and executives hiring the police, politicians and thugs to assault or murder union members should make anyone with a conscience be grateful for unions.
I found Mr. Darrow a most vexing person. I admired many of his heroic stances in representing the underdog as well as being an agnostic and feminist, but his monumental ego, numerous mistresses, and occasional unethical actions left a sour taste in my mouth. Like any good biography, Mr. Farrell shows the many facets of his subject matter and places the reader into the context of the times. I liked the book, but finished the work feeling less optimistic about society as a whole. In today's atmosphere, politicians still use religion as a tool for oppression, corporations steal and abuse workers, and, most depressing to me, the majority of people refute the theory of evolution because it threatens their God. I guess Darrow's cynical nature about humanity is right.
Most recent customer reviews
The 'Forward' by Justice William O. Douglas says this book contains addresses delivered to juries in criminal cases, and speeches on...Read more