"In this well-researched and affecting offering, Margulies and Rosaler tie some of the most important trials in American history to the country’s frequent need to find a "devil: not just a threat to the community, but an incarnation of evil . . . With an oversize format, a crisp typeface, and an illustration-filled design, this is an appealing-looking read. However, it is not light reading; the depth in which the authors examine these trials is both complete and sobering, especially when set against whatever public sentiment was raging at the time. Putting these trials into a historical context is something they do particularly well."--Booklist, starred review
The Devil on Trial: Witches, Anarchists, Atheists, Communists, and Terrorists in America's Courtroomsby Philip Margulies, Maxine Rosaler
Featuring five famous trials, this book examines the way our right to a fair trial can be threatened, when people are tempted to abandon their principles in the name of safety. Trials included are the Salem Witch Trials, the Haymarket Affair Trial, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the trial of Alger Hiss, and the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui—the latter
Featuring five famous trials, this book examines the way our right to a fair trial can be threatened, when people are tempted to abandon their principles in the name of safety. Trials included are the Salem Witch Trials, the Haymarket Affair Trial, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the trial of Alger Hiss, and the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui—the latter not yet covered extensively in any book.
In this excellent example of nonfiction that is at once dramatic and informative, Margulies and Rosaler examine five highly emotional court cases, each of which served as a litmus test for the health of America's justice system at the time it occurred. The seminal cases are presented chronologically, starting with the Salem witch trials and ending with the recent trials of Zacarias Moussaoui. In between are the Haymarket bomb trial, which hanged four anarchists based on flimsy evidence and a climate of panic, the Scopes "Monkey" trial, which raised questions about the teaching of evolution in schools, and the trials of Alger Hiss, which started the post-World War II hunt for Communist spies. Each chapter gives historical context of the court proceeding, describes its progression in some detail, and comments on the political and intellectual aftermath. The language is straightforward, with enough descriptive details to make it colorful and engaging reading. Illustrations, including photographs, arrest warrants, and other primary-source materials, break up the text nicely: almost every spread contains a relevant image and caption. During each case, fear and prejudice came up against justice and the limits of the law. In some instances, justice prevailed; in others it did not. The questions raised are worth pondering, and readers are challenged to consider what it means to be impartial and fair in the most charged and complex situations. A highly relevant and riveting book, this is an fine addition to any collection.-Emma Burkhart, formerly at the Windsor School, Boston, MA
Meet the Author
“This book grew out of a belief that what is most gripping about history is the fact that it is a story of human beings in conflict,” say authors Maxine Rosaler and Phillip Marguiles. The coauthors of several books for young adults on subjects ranging from science to history, law, and warfare, Maxine Rosaler and Phillip Marguiles live in New York City.
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