Daniel J. Lanahan , author
In an effort to show that history really does repeat itself and highlight great issues of our times, this book captures the essence of certain trials that took place in the history of the United States and reminds us that many issues of old are still with us yet unresolved and subject to great continuing public interest. The author argues that public perceptions of guilt or innocence are often wrong and could have actually affected the results of famous trials. Celebrity murders, governmental manipulation, death penalty, and civil rights issues provide some of the backdrop for discussions. The guilt of famous accused ax murderess, Lizzi Borden, a white churchgoing maiden from New England is compared with the terrorists Sacco and Vanzetti. The murder of a child by other youths, Leopold and Loeb, creates a forum to discuss the death penalty as argued by famous trial lawyer Clarence Darrow. The death penalty as applied to minors was only recently decided by the US Supreme Court. The Civil Rights Movement, developed from the Scottsboro Boys trial and World War II, is analyzed. Military commissions and tribunals and the treatment of prisoners of war and enemy combatants are issues that arise out of the Nuremburg trial. Social and religious debates are dealt with in the Scopes Monkey trial. The right of choice developed in Roe vs. Wade, and the special college admission case of Bakke vs. the Regents of the University of California are all discussed. Finally, the impeachments and trials of Clinton and Johnson are compared. This review of the last one hundred years in the courts, wherein major issues, many still with us, is enlightening and thought provoking.