Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it's time for another recommendation, and this pseudo-intellectual intends to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his latest choice is a good one.
But how can anyone [–] even a pseudo-intellectual [–] go wrong with a story of violence, politics, race-baiting and famed defense lawyer Clarence Darrow at his brilliant best? The simple answer is that you can't, and that's why "Arc of Justice: A Sage of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age" by Kevin Boyle is a sure-fire winner.
The setting is 1925 in segregated Detroit, where Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black physician, bought a home for himself and his wife in a white neighborhood. Although police provided security, the neighbors, who were not pleased to have the Sweets break the color line, came out in force to express their opposition. A riotous mood was in the air, and rocks were thrown at the Sweets' residence.'
But the doctor had come prepared. Accompanied by friends, he had hidden a small arsenal in his home, and they opened fire, killing one man and injuring another. Ironically, neither victim was a participant in the assault on the Sweets' house. The man who was killed was smoking a pipe on the porch of his house, which was located across the street from the Sweets' residence.
Eleven people in the Sweet house were charged with murder, and the trial made big news all across the country. The NAACP, seeing an opportunity to publicize the plight of the black race as well as raise huge amounts of money for its legal defense fund, hired Darrow to handle the defendants' claim of self-defense against an attacking mob. And what a defense he provided. The Great Defender, despite his age, was at the top of his game, and the defense prevailed.
But this book is about more than the trial. It's about the history of virulent racism in this country, the great migration of blacks to the north, the rise of a great city and the creation of the great auto industry. It's also about one man's determination to make something of himself in an age when most blacks were denied that opportunity. It's a grim but fascinating story.
Here are revious recommendations from Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club.
[–] "Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission" by Hampton Sides.
[–] "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris.
[–] "A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord.
[–] "April 1865: The Month That Saved America" by Jay Winik.
[–] "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" by Laura Hillenbrand.
[–] "Lindbergh" by A. Scott Berg.
[–] "The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963" by Laurence Leamer.
[–] "The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case" by Sam Roberts.
[–] "Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" by Jane Leavy.
[–] "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions" by Ben Mezrich.
[–] "Harry & Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Post-War World" by Steve Neal.
[–] "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis.
[–] "Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone" by Martin Dugard.
[–] "In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors" by Doug Stanton.
[–] "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34." by Bryan Burrough.
[–] "Flags of our Fathers," by James Bradley.
[–] "Cary Grant: A Biography" by Marc Elliot.
[–] "Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager" by Buzz Bissinger.
[–] "Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York" by Kenneth Ackerman.
[–] "They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967" by David Maraniss.
[–] "Flashman" (a novel) by George MacDonald Fraser.
[–] "Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and A World on the Brink" by David Margolick.
[–] "Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics and the Battle for the Soul of a City" by Jonathan Mahler.
[–] "Five Families: the Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires" by Selwyn Raab.
[–] "The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and the Golden Age of Basketball." by John Taylor.
[–] "American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies" by Michael Kauffman.
[–] "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" by Lawrence Wright.
[–] "A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports" by Brad Snyder.
[–] "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" by Michael Lewis.
[–] "The Education of a Coach" by David Halberstam.