Children's Literature - Phyllis J. PerryPart of the series, "Famous Court Cases That Became Movies," Kowalski explores the controversial topic of evolution from the Scopes "monkey" trial itself, through the stage and film versions of Inherit the Wind, to the continuing debate around teaching evolution in America's public schools. The basis of the book and the movie is the 1925 Scopes case tried in Dayton, Tennessee, to determine whether John Scopes had committed a crime by teaching evolution to his high school students. The real life courtroom drama pitted Clarence Darrow against William Jennings Bryan, while the film version featured Spencer Tracy and Frederic March. Kowalski lays the background for the actual trial by considering the history of the science of evolution, beliefs about creation, Darwin's The Origin of Species, and the fundamentalist position. She discusses The Butler Act and the actions of various state legislatures and boards of education, as well as the role of the American Civil Liberties Union. Kowalski carefully points out the differences between the actual drama and the movie version. The complexity of the issues involved is fairly presented in this recommended and thoughtful examination of Evolution on Trial. Photographs, movie clips, and political cartoons illustrate the book, which also contains suggestions for further reading, a glossary, and index. Reviewer: Phyllis J. Perry
The "Monkey" Trial and the movie it inspired!
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