Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reviewed: books on Clarence Darrow, Guantanamo, and the nation after King's assassination

THE LAST TRIALS OF CLARENCE DARROW by Donald McRae is reviewed in the Washington Post. According to Jonathan Yardley, often McRae's "narrative moves along nicely," but in light of recent works highlighting Darrow's role in important cases, he strains "mightily (and for the most part unsuccessfully) to put a new twist on Darrow's story."

Also reviewed in the Washington Post is THE LEAST WORST PLACE: Guantanamo's First 100 Days by Karen Greenberg. Peter Finn writes that the author "burrows beneath layers of toxic history to excavate a brief and largely forgotten period when the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was not yet notorious....Greenberg has written an important and compelling work that others will turn to fruitfully in writing the full history of Guantanamo."

Clay Risen, A NATION ON FIRE: America in the Wake of the King Assassination, a book taking up the dramatic events in American cities following King's killing, is reviewed in the Washington Post by Ian Shapira. "Despite Risen's use of newly declassified documents, much of the interesting material comes from coverage by The Washington Post that was compiled in the book 'Ten Blocks from the White House.' Nonetheless, Risen's city-by-city reconstruction of the riots, tucked into his larger analysis about the Civil Rights era, offers a useful evocation of those times.