“Darrow’s Closing Arguments are, even today, clear, forceful and prescient. What a treasure. Entertaining and educational. A timely reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same.”
“A thought-provoking glimpse of one of the most original minds in American history.”
The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Clarence Darrow, son of a village undertaker and coffinmaker, rose to become one of America’s greatest attorneys—and surely its most famous. The Ohio native gained renown for his central role in momentous trials, including his 1924 defense of Leopold and Loeb and his defense of Darwinian principles in the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial.” Some have traced Darrow’s lifelong campaign against capital punishment to his boyhood terror at seeing a Civil War soldier buried—and no client of Darrow’s was ever executed, not even black men who were accused of murder for killing members of a white mob.
Closing Arguments: Clarence Darrow on Religion, Law, and Society collects, for the first time, Darrow’s thoughts on his three main preoccupations, revealing a carefully conceived philosophy expressed with delightful pungency and clarity. His thoughts on social issues, especially on the dangers of religious fundamentalism, are uncannily prescient. A dry humor infuses his essays, and his reflections on himself and his philosophy reveal a quiet dignity at the core of a man better known for provoking Americans during an era of unprecedented tumult. From the wry “Is the Human Race Getting Anywhere?” to the scornful “Patriotism” and his elegiac summing up, “At Seventy-two,” Darrow’s writing still stimulates, pleases and challenges.
A rebel who always sided intellectually and emotionally with the minority, Darrow remains a figure to contend with sixty-seven years after his death. “Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet,” Darrow once said. Closing Arguments demonstrates that, in his case, that statement is true.
S. T. Joshi has edited several collections of Mencken’s writings, including H. L. Mencken on American Literature, Mencken’s America, and Mencken on Mencken: A New Collection of Autobiographical Writings. He is also an authority on literature of the supernatural and author of The Weird Tale, Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, and other critical and biographical studies. More info →
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Powerful currents of religious revival and political and social reform swept nineteenth-century America. Many people expressed their radical religious and social ideals by creating or joining self-contained utopian communities. These utopianists challenged the existing social and economic order with alternative notions about religion, marriage, family, sexuality, property ownership, and wage labor.Between 1787 and 1919, approximately 270 utopian communities existed in the United States.
The Unknowable is Frank’s most mature work and possibly the greatest work of Russian philosophy of the 20th century. It is a work in which epistemology, ontology, and religious philosophy are intertwined: the soul transcends outward to knowledge of other souls and thereby gains knowledge of itself, becomes itself for the first time; and the soul transcends inward to gain knowledge of God and acquires stable, certain being for the first time in this knowledge of God.Frank’s
“When you mentioned to family or friends that you were considering becoming a lawyer, you probably faced skepticism, if not serious criticism… You are undoubtedly asking yourself if three or four years of a rigorous andcostly legal education is really worth the candle. For you … we add these final comments. We hope that they willreassure you, as well as your friends and family, that it is possible, as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. proclaimed,‘to live greatly in the law.’”
Few subjects are as intensely debated in the United States as the death penalty. Some form of capital punishment has existed in America for hundreds of years, yet the justification for carrying out the ultimate sentence is a continuing source of controversy.
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