Trial and Error, third edition

by Edward J. Larson
New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 288 pages.

Trial and Error is simply the single most useful resource on the complicated legal history of the creationism/evolution controversy available. "God may have created the universe in six days, but this slender volume evolved over two decades," Larson quips in his preface to its third edition, which he brings up to date with the addition of a chapter on "Mandating evolution: The 1990s and beyond." Writing in The New Republic, the historian of science Daniel J. Kevles comments, "Larson ... ably illuminates the legal and constitutional issues ... yet he is admirably aware that what transpires instate houses and law courts usually reflects larger social forces."