BN.com Gift Guide

William M. Kunstler: The Most Hated Lawyer in America

Overview

Alternately vilified as a publicity-seeking egoist and lauded as a rambunctious, fearless advocate, William Kunstler consistently embodied both of these qualities.

Kunstler's unrelenting, radical critique of American racism and the legal system took shape as a result of his efforts to enlist the federal judicial system to support the civil rights movement. In the late 60s and the 70s, Kunstler, refocusing his attention on the Black Power and anti-war movement, garnered ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $46.21   
  • Used (5) from $1.99   
William M. Kunstler: The Most Hated Lawyer in America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.49
BN.com price
(Save 41%)$21.25 List Price

Overview

Alternately vilified as a publicity-seeking egoist and lauded as a rambunctious, fearless advocate, William Kunstler consistently embodied both of these qualities.

Kunstler's unrelenting, radical critique of American racism and the legal system took shape as a result of his efforts to enlist the federal judicial system to support the civil rights movement. In the late 60s and the 70s, Kunstler, refocusing his attention on the Black Power and anti-war movement, garnered considerable public attention as defender of the Chicago Seven, and went on to represent such controversial figures as Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement leader charged with killing an FBI agent, and Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald. Later, Kunstler briefly represented Colin Ferguson, the Long Island Railroad mass murderer, outraging fans and detractors alike with his invocation of the infamous "black rage" defense.

Defending those most loathed by mainstream, conventional America, William Kunstler delighted in taking on fiercely political cases, usually representing society's outcasts and pariahs free of charge and often achieving remarkable courtroom results in seemingly hopeless cases. Though Kunstler never gave up his revolutionary underpinnings, he gradually turned from defending clients whose political beliefs he personally supported to taking on apolitical clients, falling back on the broad rationale that his was a general struggle against an oppressive government.

What ideological and tactical motives explain Kunstler's obsessive craving for media attention, his rhetorical flourishes in the courtroom and his instinctive and relentless drive for action? How did Kunstler migrate from a comfortable middle-class background to a life as a staunchly rebellious figure in social and legal history? David Langum's portrait gives depth to the already notorious breadth of William Kunstler's life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Langum opens a fascinating window on four decades of legal firestorms and the lawyer who stood close to the flames."

-Library Journal,

"A vivid biography."

-Publishers Weekly,

"Langum paints a large, sympathetic portrait of a keen and angry man."

-New York Times,

"A thoughtfully enthusiastic critique, Langum outlines the life, loves, and legal struggles of the radical lawyer who defended such diverse clients as the Chicago Seven, the Attica prison insurgents, Jack Ruby, and John Gotti."

-Kirkus Reviews,

"Probative and insightful . . . Langum goes beyond the conventional reading of Kunstler to uncover a man who often embellished his experiences to get at deeper truths about American society."

-Booklist

Library Journal
Cumberland Law School professor Langum's spectacular and thoughtful biography of radical lawyer William Kunstler is distinguished by an even-handed presentation and deep research, which includes interviews with the late attorney's family, his ex-wife, judges, and attorneys. Langum traces Kunstler's affinity for society's outcasts and malcontents to his civil rights work in 1960s Mississippi. While praising Kunstler for his dedication to the cause of individual rights, the author debunks his claims that he never received fees for civil rights cases and points to his habit of stretching the truth in recounting his exploits. Organized chronologically, the book takes the reader inside Kunstler's famous cases, such as the Chicago Seven trial in 1968, the Attica prison riot in 1971, the Wounded Knee trial in 1975, and the World Trade Center bombing case. In sum, Langum opens a fascinating window on four decades of legal firestorms and the lawyer who stood close to the flames.--Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Ford Burkhart
In William M. Kunstler:The Most Hated Lawyer in America, Langum, who teaches law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., describes the tactics Kunstler offered to the Chicago Seven, the American Indian Movement, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jack Ruby, and paints a large, sympathetic portrait of a keen and angry man who believed there was no higher honor than to stand in righteous contempt of court.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
In a vivid, thoughtfully enthusiastic critique, Langum (Law/Samford Univ.; Crossing the Line: Legislating Morality and the Mann Act, 1994) outlines the life, loves, and legal struggles of the radical lawyer who defended such diverse clients as the Chicago Seven, the Attica prison insurgents, Jack Ruby, and John Gotti. Langum, a libertarian though not a radical, admires Kunstler for "his willingness to do battle against the government" at a time when the author perceives an increasing threat to individual liberty from the growing power of the federal government. However, Kunstler emerges here as a protean figure whose personality and legal philosophy defy easy classification. As Langum shows, commencing with his representation of members of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, Kunstler identified with the New Left and indeed often represented political radicals. Also, Kunstler would frequently politicize the causes of his indigent and minority clients, articulating ideological legal defenses intended more to expose the hollowness of the judicial system and to point up societal issues like racism than to obtain acquittal for his clients. Still, as Langum shows, Kunstler carried on a conventional law practice for many years and represented many nonideological clients, including mob figures, and despite his radical contempt for judges, colleagues, and the conventions of the bar and bench, usually conducted himself in the courtroom with exemplary professionalism and decorum. Langum sketches Kunstler's complex, appealing personality and details his love of writing, his two marriages, and his womanizing habits. Langum also analyzes several of Kunstler's important trials anddescribes his sometimes off-the-cuff trial preparation and technique, his prodigious work ethic, and the effect of his affable personality and outsized ego on clients, judges, and adversaries. While conceding that Kunstler was no saint, Langum concludes that, to combat the growing despotism of the federal government, "thousands of Kunstlers are needed." An absorbing, reflective narrative of the life and crusades of America's quintessential "people's lawyer." (16 photos)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814751503
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of several books and recipient of the J.S. Holliday award, the James Willard Hurst Prize and the Caroline Bancroft Prize, David J. Langum is currently a Professor of Law at Samford University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introductory Images 1
2 Family and Early Years 18
3 Getting Started in the Law 36
4 The Shock of the South 56
5 Black Power Advocate 77
6 Circus in Chicago 100
7 Directions outside the Courtroom 129
8 Radical Lawyers in Modern America 153
9 Representing the Attica Prisoners 187
10 Private Life and Practice in the 1970s 216
11 Indian Defenses 239
12 The 1980s and a More Diverse Practice 259
13 The Scapegoat and the Killer Cops 286
14 A Return to the Limelight 309
15 Kunstler in His Final Years 333
Notes 359
Index 443
About the Author 452
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)