The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow

The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow

Courtrooms have been dramatic settings for larger-than-life figures throughout history, but few have attained the almost mythical status of Clarence Darrow.

Darrow had been one of the most revered lawyers in the country, but in 1924 his reputation was still clouded after a narrow escape from a charge of jury tampering in LA.

Throughout two crammed years, this lion of the court held the Western world in awe as he tackled these three starkly different, history-making cases, each in turn dubbed "the Trial of the Century." But these trials, important as they were, were not the only events that helped rejuvenate him & seal his courtroom legacy.

With new research, including her private journals & letters, The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow is an intimate depiction of this American icon, one of the greatest lawyers the country has ever seen.Back in the loopTangled togetherDarrow on trialThe bridge of sighs Beyond good & evilCourtroom whispersThe book of love The pinch hitter & the politician Hellfire preachers & biology teachersMonkey business A duel to the deathDarkness in DetroitBittersweet bluesA peculiar fearSweet again Slipping away

Reviews of the The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow

The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow delves into more intimate territory, namely his relationship with Mary Field Parton, socialist writer and reporter. What appears to be new in McRaes treatment of Clarence Darrows story is his emphasis on the stormy relationship with Mary Field Parton. McRaes access to her diaries gave him, and therefore the reader, a little more insight into how the attorney for the damned affected those close to him.

According to Donald McRae's book, Mr. Darrow thought no one deserved to go to prison or to swing from the end of a rope. This brought up the intriguing question: "Was Clarence Darrow simply more "Christ-like" than others, or was he a staunch believer in ammorality?" While reading about the Loeb-Leopold case and looking at the pictures of the two with Mr. Darrow, it was hard not to get the creeps at times. (The 1950's movie "Compulsion" tried to place the blame on their mothers--one for being dominating, the other for being dead!) Moreover, Mr. McRae goes on at the end of the book to tell what happened to Leopold, including his marriage to a woman, saying he thought it was "poignant" that Leopold was more concerned about being seen as a homosexual than a murderer. Why the author chose to revolve his book around her is also interesting. Why call it The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow when he spent so much time concentrating on Mary Field Parton? Since Mr. McRae shows such empathy for non-straight men who marry women and don't won't to be exposed, he possibly believes Clarence Darrow was either a closet homosexual or bisexual, and this book is providing a cover for a man who is obviously a hero to the author.

For many years, Darrow carried on an extramarital relationship with journalist Mary Field Parton. McRae has taken this relationship, using Parton's diaries, letters between Darrow and Parton, as well as writings and interviews with Parton's daughter, Margaret, and has set it as a framing device for his description of three of Darrow's most famous cases, cases that came towards the end of his legal career. If the Parton connection had any relevance to, or effect on, Darrow's participation in, or conduct of, these cases, then the device would work. But, if she did, it is not apparent from McRae's book. For the most part, he simply quotes her diaries or her daughter's writing as to what she was feeling at the time of the events, or engages in speculation as to her or Darrow's reactions. I have the sense that McRae thought there'd be a book in Darrow's relationship with Parton, but found that there simply wasn't sufficient source material to write a full-length book.

I wish the author, though, had stepped out of his narrative sometimes and put many of the issues Darrow was battling into a broader context. I know that it might have meant a longer book, but it seems that by putting issues of capital punishment, religion vs.

This book focuses on three of his last and most important trials: Leopold & Loeb, Scopes and Sweet--the last of which was news to me.

Darrow is an amazing character, and if his life was written as fiction, it would be be considered unbelievable.

He is the only two-time winner of the UKs prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year an award won in the past by Nick Hornbys Fever Pitch and Laura Hillenbrands Sea Biscuit.

  • English

  • History

  • Rating: 4.00
  • Pages: 432
  • Publish Date: June 9th 2009 by William Morrow
  • Isbn10: 0061161497
  • Isbn13: 9780061161490