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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America

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A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America Cover

 

Awards

Staff Pick

Mandery takes on the Supreme Court's landmark death penalty cases of the '60s and '70s and succeeds at an exceptionally difficult task: writing an engaging legal nonfiction book for general readers. This book gives the reader a balanced picture of the politics, legal doctrines, and personalities at play in the Supreme Court — when most books of this genre struggle to cover just one of those topics. A Wild Justice is very simply what every reader seeks: an important story well told.
Recommended by Keith M., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For two hundred years, the constitutionality of capital punishment had been axiomatic. But in 1962, the largely forgotten Justice Arthur Goldberg and his clerk, Alan Dershowitz, dared to suggest otherwise, launching an underfunded band of civil rights attorneys on a quixotic crusade. In 1972, in a most unlikely victory, the Supreme Court struck down Georgia’s death penalty law, and legal experts hailed the end of executions in America.

The response in most states was mandatory sentencing. And four years later, after a brilliant oral argument by Robert Bork, the Supreme Court ended up reversing itself. Drawing on interviews with law clerks and litigators, and on four years of archival research, A Wild Justice is an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the Court, the justices, and the political complexities of the most racially charged and morally vexing issue of our time — one that offers extraordinary insights into America itself.

Review:

"It takes a gifted writer to craft a thriller out of the efforts to have capital punishment declared unconstitutional, but Mandery pulls it off in this intellectual page-turner. Without sacrificing detail, the capital attorney and criminal justice professor at John Jay College pulls back the curtain on the horse-trading that led the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Georgia's death-penalty statute in 1972, and then change its collective mind just four years later. The prologue traces the background of the 1972 Furman v. Georgia decision, as, in 1963, liberal Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg posed the question to his law clerk, 'What could be more cruel than the deliberate decision by the state to take a human life?' Goldberg's goal was to force the Supreme Court of Alabama to hand over for review a decision involving a rapist sentenced to death, in the hopes that it would prompt a discussion of the constitutionality of capital punishment. A lack of support even from those justices who were sympathetic to Goldberg's memorandum doomed his efforts, but it paved the way for a valiant battle waged by the lawyers of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The lawyers prevailed in the short term, but public backlash against the decisions of an increasingly unpopular Supreme Court led to the reversal of Furman in 1976's Gregg v. Georgia — leaving Mandery to indulge in some fascinating counterfactual history in his concluding section. 8 pages of photos. Agent: Sam Stoloff, Frances Goldin Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A Wild Justice is sensational — a revealing and illuminating behind-the-scenes look at one of the most important chapters in the history of the Supreme Court. After reading it, you may never look at the death penalty, or the justices, the same way again." Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court and The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.

Review:

"With a powerful story and an exceptional cast of characters — including Arthur Goldberg, Alan Dershowitz, and Robert Bork at their best — A Wild Justice is a rare achievement. At once entertaining and deeply instructive, it is a piece of legal history that grapples brilliantly with capital punishment, one of the fundamental issues of American justice." Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln

Synopsis:

Drawing on never-before-published original source detail, the epic story of two of the most consequential, and largely forgotten, moments in Supreme Court history.

About the Author

Evan J. Mandery is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. A former capital defense attorney, he is the author of five previous books. He lives in Manhasset, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393239584
Subtitle:
The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America
Author:
Mandery, Evan J.
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Legal History
Subject:
Law : General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
96
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Business » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Punishment
History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Law » Criminal Law » Sentencing
History and Social Science » Law » General

A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$21.00 In Stock
Product details 96 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393239584 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Mandery takes on the Supreme Court's landmark death penalty cases of the '60s and '70s and succeeds at an exceptionally difficult task: writing an engaging legal nonfiction book for general readers. This book gives the reader a balanced picture of the politics, legal doctrines, and personalities at play in the Supreme Court — when most books of this genre struggle to cover just one of those topics. A Wild Justice is very simply what every reader seeks: an important story well told.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "It takes a gifted writer to craft a thriller out of the efforts to have capital punishment declared unconstitutional, but Mandery pulls it off in this intellectual page-turner. Without sacrificing detail, the capital attorney and criminal justice professor at John Jay College pulls back the curtain on the horse-trading that led the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Georgia's death-penalty statute in 1972, and then change its collective mind just four years later. The prologue traces the background of the 1972 Furman v. Georgia decision, as, in 1963, liberal Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg posed the question to his law clerk, 'What could be more cruel than the deliberate decision by the state to take a human life?' Goldberg's goal was to force the Supreme Court of Alabama to hand over for review a decision involving a rapist sentenced to death, in the hopes that it would prompt a discussion of the constitutionality of capital punishment. A lack of support even from those justices who were sympathetic to Goldberg's memorandum doomed his efforts, but it paved the way for a valiant battle waged by the lawyers of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The lawyers prevailed in the short term, but public backlash against the decisions of an increasingly unpopular Supreme Court led to the reversal of Furman in 1976's Gregg v. Georgia — leaving Mandery to indulge in some fascinating counterfactual history in his concluding section. 8 pages of photos. Agent: Sam Stoloff, Frances Goldin Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A Wild Justice is sensational — a revealing and illuminating behind-the-scenes look at one of the most important chapters in the history of the Supreme Court. After reading it, you may never look at the death penalty, or the justices, the same way again." Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court and The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.
"Review" by , "With a powerful story and an exceptional cast of characters — including Arthur Goldberg, Alan Dershowitz, and Robert Bork at their best — A Wild Justice is a rare achievement. At once entertaining and deeply instructive, it is a piece of legal history that grapples brilliantly with capital punishment, one of the fundamental issues of American justice."
"Synopsis" by , Drawing on never-before-published original source detail, the epic story of two of the most consequential, and largely forgotten, moments in Supreme Court history.
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