Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned

Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned

John A. Farrell

Language: English

Pages: 592

ISBN: 0767927591

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography

The definitive biography of Clarence Darrow, the brilliant, idiosyncratic lawyer who defended John Scopes in the “Monkey Trial” and gave voice to the populist masses at the turn of the twentieth century, thus changing American law forever.
     Amidst the tumult of the industrial age and the progressive era, Clarence Darrow became America’s greatest defense attorney, successfully championing poor workers, blacks, and social and political outcasts, against big business, fundamentalist religion, Jim Crow, and the US government. His courtroom style—a mixture of passion, improvisation, charm, and tactical genius—won miraculous reprieves for men doomed to hang. In Farrell’s hands, Darrow is a Byronic figure, a renegade whose commitment to liberty led him to heroic courtroom battles and legal trickery alike.

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boardinghouse and opened fire, and on Labor Day a fourteen-year-old girl participating in a protest march was shot in the head. Union assassins retaliated, murdering three strikebreakers in early December. Then came Italian Hall. The local newspapers accused Moyer of exploiting the tragedy, and he was cornered by a mob in his hotel room, shot in the back, dragged through the streets, shoved on a train, and told not to return. Before his abduction, Moyer had asked Darrow to speak at the funeral

that the Moyer people were guilty,” Erskine Wood recalled. But it was probably just Darrow’s “inordinate vanity” that caused him to say so. “I think he might say it, [even] if they were not,” Wood said. Darrow rarely spoke about his trials when they were over. But years later, he almost blurted something to George Francis, a young lawyer who asked him about Idaho. “Haywood didn’t kill Steunenberg. I’ll tell you who did,” he said, before catching himself and saying, “No, I won’t either.” Stone

with shooting a sheriff who had been sent to evict the boy and his widowed mother from their home three days before Christmas. Darrow told the whole sad story to the jury and dared them to send Tommy to the hangman. Of course they did not. And when no one else would defend a crazed killer like Russell Pethick, the grocery boy who slashed Ella Coppersmith to death with a butcher knife, cut the throat of her two-year-old son, and sexually abused her corpse, Chicagoans were not surprised to learn

niggers in the South before they will learn their place again,” Tillman complained. But Darrow was a friend to Chicago’s small black community. He attended a Negro church on New Year’s Eve, consulted a black physician, and occasionally went bicycle riding with an African American man whom he knew. In 1899, Darrow had advised the “Chicago Colored Citizens,” a group that hired a private investigator to travel to the South and investigate reports of lynchings. The crusading black journalist Ida

and the Midwest in the two years preceding the Times disaster. “Never before … has there been the same kind or class of insurrection,” wrote the press lord E. W. Scripps. “Both sides have adopted … tactics of warfare.” Elder and Lovelace rushed from stairwell to window, looking in vain for a fire escape, and wound up in a room adjoining the corner tower. As the flames burst from openings on either side of them they joined Harry Crane, a telegraph operator, on a windowsill. A group of passing

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