SYBILLE BEDFORD (1911-2006) was a German-born writer of Jewish heritage who, as an ex-patriot and later refugee from Germany, lived and wrote in England, France, the United States, and Italy. Her novels include A LEGACY, JIGSAW, and A COMPASS ERROR. She also contributed articles to leading magazines and wrote acclaimed books of nonfiction, often involving courts and famous trials.
The Faces of Justiceby Sybille Bedford
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Novelist Sybille Bedford watched courts closely—and with remarkable insight—in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. There she found stories of human frailty and impulsive action, both among the defendants in court and the judges and juries that decided their fates. Their tales are fascinating and resonate today. Not only are the social and political differences apparent in these countries and their machinery of crime and justice, but also their historic perceptions of fairness and order are laid bare.
In the process, Bedford recounts the interesting saga of a father on trial in Germany for killing the man who repeatedly exposed himself to the defendant's young daughter, the immigrant in Switzerland who swiped a watch to impress a chambermaid, the Algerians in France who shot up a series of Parisian cafes, and the Englishwoman convicted for forgetting to pay for butter while she was distracted by sudden news that her father was dying. Scores of such stories are shared, and always with the novelist's flair for description and the human element forefront.
Although this book is long recognized as an outstanding account of comparative legal systems and criminal procedure, it does not read at all like a dry legal study. Bedford focuses on the real people involved, leading to the general and wide acclaim this classic book has enjoyed over the years. It was written for a general audience (and the U.S. market), not just for lawyers.
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