Thursday, September 23, 2021

Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer (Los Angeles 1911-1913) by Nelson Johnson- BOOK BEGINNINGS



It's time again to share the opening sentences (or so) of the books we are reading this week. What are you reading?

I have a lawyer book to share this week since I've had a very lawyerly week. I've been sitting through three days of (Zoom) court hearings in the Boy Scouts of America's bankruptcy case. I even got to argue one day! Although I've been suing the Boy Scouts for sex abuse since 2007, and even won a $20 million verdict against them, this bankruptcy case is the biggest legal battle I've ever been a part of. It's such a complicated mess!


From Darrow's Nightmare:

Upon return to Chicago in January 1908, Clarence's priority was his law practice double dash namely, earning an income.

-- Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer (Los Angeles 1911-1913) by Nelson Johnson (Rosetta Books). This one came out a few months ago. Nelson Johnson wrote Boardwalk Empire that was adapted into such a terrific TV show.

Clarence Darrow was America's most famous criminal trial attorney in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Darrow's Nightmare is the nonfiction account of how Darrow was almost a convicted of crimes himself. Darrow went to Los Angeles in 1911 to defend two union agitators on trial for mass murder. While there, he the District Attorney indicted and tried Darrow for bribing a juror. A conviction would have ended his career as a lawyer almost before it got off the ground.


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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From Darrow's Nightmare:
He viewed the courtroom as a battlefield; his profession was a means to pursue economic justice for the working class. Though Darrow was cynical about much of the law, he acted practically when it came to making a living.
I think most lawyers, at least litigators, view the courtroom as a battlefield. And lawyers with a plaintiffs' civil practice, like me, view the law as a means of pursuing economic justice for our clients. Civil lawsuits only offer economic justice. We can only sue for money to compensate for their injuries and their loss. The law isn't a time machine -- we can't get back our clients' former lives for them. The trick is to not grow cynical. 


  1. Ooh 'Darrow's Nightmare' sounds very high-stakes! I do love that more and more non-fiction is uncovering or rather re-revealing stories and events from the past that aren't necessarily "major" but do give an amazing insight into life then. I hope you enjoy this one and that it helps relax you during the weekend, since your workweek does sound very intense! Thanks for hosting :)
    Juli @ A Universe in Words

  2. Sounds like an interesting book.

  3. I have never heard of this lawyer. I hope you enjoy the book!


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