Closing Arguments: Clarence Darrow on Religion, Law, and Society

Closing Arguments: Clarence Darrow on Religion, Law, and Society

by Clarence Darrow
     
 

Closing Arguments: Clarence Darrow on Religion, Law, and Society collects, for the first time, Darrow's thoughts on his three main preoccupations. The effect reveals a carefully conceived philosophy, expressed with delightful pungency and clarity. The provocative content of these writings still challenges us. His thoughts on social issues, especially on the

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Overview

Closing Arguments: Clarence Darrow on Religion, Law, and Society collects, for the first time, Darrow's thoughts on his three main preoccupations. The effect reveals a carefully conceived philosophy, expressed with delightful pungency and clarity. The provocative content of these writings still challenges us. His thoughts on social issues, especially on the dangers of religious fundamentalism, are uncannily prescient. A dry and even misanthropic humor lightens his essays, and his reflections on himself and his philosophy reveal a quiet dignity at the core of a man better known for provoking Americans during an era of unprecedented tumult.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Darrow’s Closing Arguments are, even today, clear, forceful and prescient. What a treasure. Entertaining and educational. A timely reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same.”
— Morris Dees

“A thought-provoking glimpse of one of the most original minds in American history.”
The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Library Journal
With these previously uncollected essays and speechs by Darrow, editor Joshi (H. L. Mencken on American Literature) shows us that "America's greatest defense attorney" was a thinker in many realms. Although Darrow put his stamp on history with his defense of Leopold and Loeb and then of Darwinian evolution in the Scopes trial, Joshi maintains that he longed for literary success akin to that of his former law partner Edgar Lee Masters (Spoon River Anthology). The introduction summarizes Darrow's life, views, and literary style, pointing out the early flowery style based on public speaking and the plainer style that followed. Darrow's pieces are divided into four thematic groupings-"On Philosophy and Religion," "On Law and Crime," "On Politics and Society," and "On Clarence Darrow"-with dates ranging from an 1893 piece in favor of women's suffrage to a 1936 piece that asks "Does Man Live Again?" The selection stresses the important contributions Darrow made to the social and legal thought of his era. Often countering the status quo, his opinions still resonate for us today. On the death penalty, for example, his opposition was based on the belief that society is responsible if a person is driven to commit heinous acts and should not seek vengeance on the perpetrator, that such violence only begets more violence. Freedom, Joshi notes, is the predominant theme of Darrow's social views. For academic libraries or public libraries with collections in this area. (Bibliographical references and index not seen.)-Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821416327
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
08/01/2005
Pages:
292
Sales rank:
927,540
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

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