Clarence Darrow by John A. Farrell

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Synopsis

Drawing on untapped archives and full of fresh revelations, here is the definitive biography of America’s legendary defense attorney and progressive hero.

Clarence Darrow is the lawyer every law school student dreams of being: on the side of right, loved by many women, played by Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind. His days-long closing arguments delivered without notes won miraculous reprieves for men doomed to hang.
 
Darrow left a promising career as a railroad lawyer during the tumultuous Gilded Age in order to champion poor workers, blacks, and social and political outcasts against big business, Jim Crow, and corrupt officials. He became famous defending union leader Eugene Debs in the land­mark Pullman Strike case and went from one headline case to the next—until he was nearly crushed by an indictment for bribing a jury. He redeemed himself in Dayton, Tennessee, defending schoolteacher John Scopes in the “Monkey Trial,” cementing his place in history.
 
Now, John A. Farrell draws on previously unpublished correspondence and memoirs to offer a candid account of Darrow’s divorce, affairs, and disastrous finances; new details of his feud with his law partner, the famous poet Edgar Lee Masters; a shocking disclosure about one of his most controversial cases; and explosive revelations of shady tactics he used in his own trial for bribery.
 
Clarence Darrow is a sweeping, surprising portrait of a leg­endary legal mind.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About John A. Farrell

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JOHN A. FARRELL wrote the acclaimed Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century. He was the Washington editor of the Boston Globe and D.C. bureau chief of the Denver Post. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published June 14, 2011 by Vintage. 594 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Clarence Darrow

Kirkus Reviews

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and the friends and family of Thalia Massie, on trial in Hawaii for a so-called “honor killing.” 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 complicat...

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

The New York Times

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And for all his radicalism, Darrow loved a big payday: according to Farrell, he took on Leopold and Loeb, two sons of privilege, primarily because their parents offered him a $65,000 retainer.

Jul 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

BC Books

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The book's descriptions of Darrow's trials and tactics reflect that Darrow's style and effectiveness were bolstered by practicing in an era preceding uniform codes of evidence and in which closing arguments could stretch out over days.

Jun 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

The Wall Street Journal

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If men are so cruel as to break other men's necks, so greedy as to be restrained only by money, then a sensitive man must bribe to save.' " Notice, however, that Parton does not say Darrow ever confessed to her.

Jan 29 2014 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

The Wall Street Journal

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Whether defending Darwinists or cold-blooded killers, one lawyer was always the center of attention.

Jun 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

Book Reporter

John Farrell's biography is a well-written account of a great lawyer and an effective summation of Darrow's story.

Jun 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

The Washington Times

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Farrell in “Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned.” And there Darrow would have remained, an uncomplicated figure, emblazoned in collective memory, a mix of Henry Fonda and Spencer Tracy, if not for this groundbreaking biography, the first to make use of new archival material that gives depth ...

Jul 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

Los Angeles Times

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The complex defense lawyer is examined in enlightening detail.

Jun 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

Dallas News

Both Farrell and Kersten present admiring portraits of the great courtroom orator — “America’s greatest attorney,” Kersten calls him — and highlight his role in Progressive causes a century ago.

Jul 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

City Book Review

Progressive, patriot, jury tamperer, savior, and adulterer: Clarence Darrow was all of these and more at one time or another, but many of his time called him the Attorney for the Damned.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

Macleans

Clarence Darrow was, putting it narrowly, the greatest criminal lawyer of all time.

Jul 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

Seattle PI

Likewise, the preeminent Darrow biography to date, Irving Stone's Clarence Darrow for the Defense, was written with the cooperation of Darrow's widow and, first published in 1941, Stone did not have access to many documents Farrell uses.

Jun 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

Portland Book Review

Clarence Darrow: Attorney for The Damned draws upon Darrow’s private letters, excerpts from the lawyer’s book titled The Story of My Life, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles and court cases.

Jul 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

AuthorsDen

The famous poet, Edgar Lee Masters, who was Darrow's law partner, viewed Darrow as somewhat of a phony, claiming Darrow chiseled him out of some fees.

Dec 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

The Wall Street Journal

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Whether defending Darwinists or cold-blooded killers, one lawyer was always the center of attention.

Jun 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Clarence Darrow

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