Synopses & Reviews
In 1961, twenty-five-year-old Herbert Jay Stern, fresh from reserve duty, stood in his green army uniform in a New York County courtroom to be sworn in as an attorney. He could only guess what his life as a prosecuting lawyer would be. A dozen years later, in the wake of the national scandal of Watergate, Stern, draped in black robes now, would take the oath of office as a federal judge. In the years between, the idealistic young Stern would sharpen his skills in the realities of the criminal courts of New York City, to emerge as the lead trial attorney for the Justice Department, charged with breaking the back of organized crime in New Jersey.
Sterns highly charged account of his outright war against powerful state government officials and the mafia takes us deep inside the mechanisms of law and order during a time when assassinations came fast and loose, cities were burning in race riots, and racketeering and graft were so prevalent in the Garden State that its own senator called it a “stench in the nostrils and an offense to the vision of the world.” Before Stern and his equally dedicated colleagues on the “strike force” out of Washington, D.C., are finished, they will have successfully prosecuted the mayors of Jersey City, Newark, and Atlantic City for being on the take; a congressman for conspiracy, tax violations, and perjury; and blackened the eye of organized crime.
"This is one of the finest chronicles of the prosecutor in the service of big city justice. Stern examines the hard-fought journey from a New York City rookieÂ in the Manhattan district attorney's office to U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey, a trial attorney at the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering section, and finally the federal bench. Beginning his career in 1962, he rose through the ranks to become an accomplished staffer handling the prosecution of small-time heroin addicts, homicides, and complex financial crimes. 'Expressing no interest in anything but a courtroom,' the author pulls no punches about his ambition to advance from handling cases in front of a judge to trying cases before a jury,. but a detour to handling homicides lands him in the middle of the infamous Malcolm X killing. This legal memoir's greatest achievement is his determined persistence as a gangbusting lead trial attorney for the Justice Department, taking down mob fronts, labor foul play, and the mayors of Jersey City, Atlantic City, and Newark. Extremely well written, Stern's account of his personal and professional quest to uphold the law and justice is finely realized and quite impressive. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Extremely well written, Stern’s account of his personal and professional quest to uphold the law and justice is finely realized and quite impressive." Publishers Weekly
"Stern draws a sharp distinction between "doing law and doing justice"… packed into [the book] are triumphs that explode from the page like firecrackers, chronicling one of the great law enforcement records of the past half-century." Fortune
Stern is a fascinated observer, thoroughly honest in both his job and his writing about it....It details the gritty realities of a prosecutor's office that few people witness." Philadelphia Inquirer
An honest examination of how the justice system really works in the minor criminal courts of New York City. . . .more than a page-turner of a true crime story." The Star-Ledger
"A rare look inside the world of the federal prosecutor....“Diary of a DA” is for any fan of the loosely, fictional Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire television shows." Tribune Observer
A gripping inside account of the mechanisms of law and order.
About the Author
Herbert J. Stern is considered one of the most famous district attorneys in the history of the United States. He helped catch the killers of Malcolm X, indicted the head of the French CIA for shipping 100 pounds of heroin into the United States, prosecuted the real-life Tony Soprano, and convicted the mayors of Newark , Jersey City, and Atlantic City.