A portrait of the legendary defense attorney and progressive covers his decision to leave a promising career to advocate on behalf of disadvantaged groups, his campaign against Jim Crow policies, and his achievements in headline-making trials.
Drawing on untapped archives and full of fresh revelations, here is the definitive biography of America’s legendary defense attorney and progressive hero.Clarence Darrow is the lawyer every law school student dreams of being: on the side of right, loved by many women, played by Spencer Tracy inInherit the Wind. His days-long closing arguments delivered without notes won miraculous reprieves for men doomed to hang.Darrow left a promising career as a railroad lawyer during the tumultuous Gilded Age in order to champion poor workers, blacks, and social and political outcasts against big business, Jim Crow, and corrupt officials. He became famous defending union leader Eugene Debs in the landmark Pullman Strike case and went from one headline case to the next—until he was nearly crushed by an indictment for bribing a jury. He redeemed himself in Dayton, Tennessee, defending schoolteacher John Scopes in the “Monkey Trial,” cementing his place in history. Now, John A. Farrell draws on previously unpublished correspondence and memoirs to offer a candid account of Darrow’s divorce, affairs, and disastrous finances; new details of his feud with his law partner, the famous poet Edgar Lee Masters; a shocking disclosure about one of his most controversial cases; and explosive revelations of shady tactics he used in his own trial for bribery.Clarence Darrow is a sweeping, surprising portrait of a legendary legal mind.