You are here

Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom

by Arthur Weinberg
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. 552 pages.

Reprinted from the 1957 edition. "Clarence Darrow [was] perhaps the most effective courtroom opponent of cant, bigotry, and special privilege that our country has produced. All of Darrow's most celebrated pleas are here — in defense of Leopold and Loeb (1924), of Lieutenant Massie (1932), of Big Bill Haywood (1907), of [John] Thomas Scopes (1925), and of himself for attempted bribery," writes the reviewer for The New Yorker.

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the Nineteen-Twenties

by Frederick Lewis Allen
New York: Harper Perennial, 2000. 352 pages.

Written by the editor of Harper's magazine in 1931, the still-in-print Only Yesterday recounts the events of the Roaring Twenties with verve and enthusiasm. "No one," according to the historian Roderick Nash, "has done more to shape the conception of the American 1920s than Frederick Lewis Allen." The Scopes trial, as the major news story of the summer of 1925, receives plenty of attention, although Edward J Larson complains that Allen "presented the trial in cartoonlike simplicity" and "perpetuated various misconceptions about events at Dayton."

Six Days or Forever? Tennessee v John Scopes

by Ray Ginger
New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. 270 pages.

The first authoritative historical treatment of the Scopes trial is still extraordinarily readable. Originally published in 1958, Six Days or Forever? is notable for its comparison of the 1925 cross-examination of Bryan and the 1954 Senate investigation of McCarthy; "if a person holds irrational ideas and insists that others should accept them because of their authoritative source," Ginger writes, "he should never agree to be questioned about them."

Summer for the Gods

by Edward J. Larson
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. 336 pages.

Edward J. Larson's Pulitzer–Prize-winning account of the events in Dayton, Tennessee, in the 1920s and their continuing impact on American life provides a historical perspective on the persistent conflict between creationism and science. Summer for the Gods is endorsed by such diverse readers as Phillip Johnson, Will Provine, and Ronald L.

The Scopes Trial: Defending the Right to Teach

by Arthur Blake
Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1994. 64 pages.

The Scopes Trial was, at bottom, about what children ought to be taught in science class, so it is appropriate that Blake wrote his book specifically for children between 9 and 12, clearly and thoroughly describing the Scopes trial and its enduring significance for religion, education, and society. Contains photographs, bibliography, chronology, and index. Part of the Spotlight on American History series.

When All the Gods Trembled: Darwinism, Scopes, and American Intellectuals

by Paul K. Conkin
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998. 208 pages.

The author of American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity turns his attention to the impact of Darwin's theories on the intellectual scene of the 1920s. The Scopes trial is central, of course, but Conkin also discusses the reactions of intellectuals as diverse as the pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick, the philosopher John Dewey, and the poet John Crowe Ransom. Fellow historian Edward J Larson praises When All the Gods Trembled for its "keen insights into the historic fundamentalist-­modernist controversy and the ongoing debate over science and religion."

The World's Most Famous Court Trial; Tennessee Evolution Case

Union, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, 1997. 339 pages.

The very first book on the subject of the Scopes trial contains, in the words of the title page, "[a] word-for-word report of the famous court test of the Tennessee anti-evolution act, at Dayton, July 10 to 21, 1925, including speeches and arguments of attorneys, testimony of noted scientists, and Bryan's last speech." Reprinted with additions from the original 1925 edition, the transcript, although expensive, is invaluable for anyone seriously interested in the Scopes trial.

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

by Adrian Desmond and James Moore
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994. 808 pages.

Writing in Nature, Stephen Jay Gould describes Desmond and Moore's Darwin as "Unquestionably, the finest [biography] ever written about Darwin." A thoroughly scholarly work, Darwin nevertheless reads like a novel, which prompted Anthony Burgess to comment that "[Darwin's] story is told here with the right energy, irony and affection.

The Voyage of the Beagle

by Charles Darwin, preface by Steve Jones
New York: Modern Library, 2001. 496 pages.

Both as a scientific document and as a travelogue, The Voyage of the Beagle continues to fascinate and delight its readers. The new Modern Library edition contains a preface by the geneticist Steve Jones, author of Darwin's Ghost, who justly describes The Voyage of the Beagle as "the overture to Darwin's career and to the biology of today ...

Charles Darwin: Evolution of a Naturalist

by Richard Milner
New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1994. 158 pages.

In Milner's own words, from the page for his book: "Supposedly for young adults, the book is written at a level everyone can enjoy — Jim Moore, historian of science, calls it '[the] best short biography of Darwin in existence.' (Moore wrote the best long one, with Adrian Desmond.) Yes, I am the same Richard Milner who performs the musical show "Charles Darwin: Live & In Concert" at museums, universities, and cultural institutions all over the world. You may also know my book The Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity's Search for Its Origins."


Subscribe to History of Science