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Sensational Trials of the 20th Century

Sensational Trials of the 20th Century

by Betsy Harvey Kraft

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Eight of America's most important legal battles, including "Brown v. Board of Education", the Watergate trials, and the O.J. Simpson trial, are revisited in brief, fast-paced accounts and dramatic black-and-white photos.


Eight of America's most important legal battles, including "Brown v. Board of Education", the Watergate trials, and the O.J. Simpson trial, are revisited in brief, fast-paced accounts and dramatic black-and-white photos.

Editorial Reviews

The ALAN Review - Alan Perry
The complicated quest for justice comes to life in this well-written account of eight of the most famous American trials of the twentieth century. Included in this history of courtroom drama are accounts of the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping, Trial, the Julius and Ethel Rosenburg Spy Trial, Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, the Watergate trials, the John Hinckley, Jr. Trial, and the O. J. Simpson Trial. These engaging stories bring to light some of the most difficult questions with which Americans have struggled for decades: civil rights, religion, immigration, censorship, crime. Several of these trials may be vaguely familiar to students from history or even literature classes, and many will recall the most recent of these cases, the Simpson trial. Richly illustrated with photographs of key participants in the trials, this book makes a good research source. Kraft's narrative style will be appealing to young readers from middle to secondary grades. Students interested in history, biography, courtroom drama, civics, and law will enjoy reading about these "trials of the century."
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
From the case of Sacco and Vanzetti to Watergate, to the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, this book covers eight of the most talked about American trials of this century. Kraft deftly provides the background for each case, relates the dramatic events of the trial itself, and then offers a concise summary of the aftermath. The trials are depicted in chronological order, including the Scopes "monkey" trial; the Lindbergh baby kidnapping; the Rosenberg espionage case; Brown v. Board of Education; and John Hinckley, Jr. In the best judicial tradition, the facts are well researched and related objectively, leaving readers to decide for themselves if the outcome for each case was the proper one. Black and white photographs enhance this fascinating glimpse of American jurisprudence.
VOYA - Patti Sylvester Spencer
Volumes document memories of the millennium, focusing especially on historical circumstances that connect with current events. We hear in the news that convicted assassin John Hinckley Jr. will now be granted day-trips with his parents; a new biography of Lindbergh is published; officials who ponder the fate of contemporary spies recall the Rosenbergs. Award-winning nonfiction writer Kraft makes it possible for students to better understand today's news stories by relating ten trials, each deserving claim to the title "a trial of the century." Students meet Sacco and Vanzetti: immigrants, laborers, anarchists. The Scopes "Monkey Trial" sides and issues are delineated. Readers meet pigtailed nine-year-old Linda Brown of Topeka, who believed, along with her parents, that she should not have to ride five miles on a bus to go to school when the neighborhood school was only seven blocks away. When news anchors connect current Congressional proceedings with the Watergate Trials, students can read chapter six to make sense of the reference. Within student memory is the O. J. Simpson case; reading this segment allows students to see how history may view the complexities of celebrity, race, media coverage, and so on. The cases read like mini-novels, with setting and character details creating clear, dynamic images. Black-and-white photographs of people and documents add authenticity. The bibliography of three to five sources for individual trials indicates Kraft used varied resources for a balanced perspective on the complex and controversial issues intersecting cases. Unfortunately for student researchers, the book itself is not footnoted/endnoted; there is a comprehensive index. This reader-friendly volume should be popular with nonfiction readers, students fascinated by the justice system, and those who appreciate a more thorough grasp of historical connections. Index. Photos. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-The concept of justice combined with the drama of the courtroom pervades this volume, making it a real attention-grabber. Some of the most notorious legal battles of the last 100 years are presented with mesmerizing you-are-there immediacy: the Sacco-Vanzetti trial, the Scopes "Monkey" trial, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg spy trial, Brown v. the Board of Education, the Watergate trials, the John Hinckley, Jr. trial, and, of course, the O. J. Simpson trial. The chapters are fast paced, well illustrated, and packed with interesting details. Each one concludes by showing the impact of the proceedings and the court decision on such enduring issues as civil rights, national security, education, religion, and the office of the presidency, making the trials as timely today as they were when they were headlines. This book is sure to be a hit, even with reluctant readers.-Marilyn Heath, Greenwood High School, SC

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.19(w) x 9.23(h) x 0.68(d)
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 14 Years

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