Gideon's Trumpet

Gideon's Trumpet

by Anthony Lewis

Paperback(Vintage Books ed)

$15.26 $16.95 Save 10% Current price is $15.26, Original price is $16.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, November 14


A history of the landmark case of Clarence Earl Gideon's fight for the right to legal counsel. Notes, table of cases, index. The classic backlist bestseller. More than 800,000 sold since its first pub date of 1964.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679723127
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1989
Edition description: Vintage Books ed
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 102,210
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.76(d)
Lexile: 1200L (what's this?)

About the Author

Anthony Lewis was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who transformed American legal journalism. He is the author of Gideon’s Trumpet which concerned Gideon v. Wainwright, the 1963 decision that guaranteed lawyers to poor defendants charged with serious crimes. His book Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment is an account of New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that revolutionized American libel law. Lewis was a New York Times reporter at the Supreme Court from 1957 to 1964 and wrote an Op-Ed column for thirty years called “At Home Abroad” or “Abroad at Home” depending on where he was writing from . He also taught at the Harvard Law School where he was a Lecturer on Law from 1974 to 1989. He has also been the James Madison Visiting Professor at Columbia University. Anthony Lewis died in 2013 at the age of 85.

What People are Saying About This

Paul A. Freund

Paul A. Freund, Harvard Law School
A warm, intimate and moving account of a lowly man's case that became a Constitutional landmark.

Robert F. Kennedy

If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell…to write a letter to the Supreme Court…the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter, the Court did look into his case…and the full course of American legal history has been changed.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Gideon's Trumpet 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always been intrigued by the workings of the US Supreme Court and the idea of the Constitution as a living document. This classic book brings to life the right we now all take for granted the right to legal counsel whatever the circumstances, but in fact it was a grey area covered by the 6th and 14th amendment that was only resolved in a 1963 Supreme Court decision 'Gideon vs. Wainwright'. This fascinating legal story is the tale of Gideon, the man who (at first on his own) wrote to the Supreme Court and became a landmark decision. Lewis highlights the workings of the Court and how in fact one man can make a difference in the US legal system. Fascinating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book offered a wide range of information, not only about Gideon's case but also about the workings of the Supreme Court....I really enjoyed
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you have ever wondered how the statement "you have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will appointed to you" first came about you should read Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis. Gideon's Trumpet follows the case of Clarence Earl Gideon, a petty thief who had been in and out of jail all his life. After landing in a Florida jail for breaking and entering Gideon managed to file a handwritten petition certiorari with the Supreme Court claiming his right to legal counsel was violated during his trial. the Supreme Court agreed. This launched Gideon v. Wainright, a landmark case that started the evolution of the Miranda Warning. While Lewis's book is brief it is highly readable and informative. It is easy to see Clarence Gideon, and even the legal system, as real humans making history.
TheAmpersand on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A simply told yet thought-provoking account of how an indigent prisoner's appeal to the Supreme Court helped establish the right to counsel in felony cases for all defendants. As another reviewer has mentioned, the book provides a wonderfully accessible look at how the American justice system, and particularly the Supreme Court, works. Lewis also takes the time to explain the larger legal issues and theories at stake in this case in language that the average reader can comprehend. Thanks to reading this book, I can say that I almost understand the difference between the "incorporation" and "absorption" views of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ever the journalist, Lewis doesn't ignore the human element in this case either, taking the time to provide detailed portraits of all the major personalities involved in this case and quoting many of them at length. The book is also notable for espousing a sort of high-toned sixties-era idealism that's been missing from American politics lately. Many of the lawyers who worked on Gideon's case were well-off and well-educated but felt a duty to use their talents to improve society as a whole, and Gideon himself seems to have had an unshakable faith that the justice system would eventually recognize what he saw as his fundamental rights. Lewis's tone throughout suggests a genuine belief that American society is progressively becoming fairer and more humane and that thoughtful men in institutions like the Supreme Court can make a real difference. His writing has a moral force ¿ unobscured by contemporary "culture war" distinctions ¿ that strikes this reader as positively inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Lewis knows how to write a story in a way that draws you into it...but that's what newspaper reporters do, isn't it? This story shows the power of one voice to change our system...excellent reading, from the perspective of history and the legal system.