The Trial: A History from Socrates to O. J. Simpson by Sadakat Kadri

The Trial: A History from Socrates to O. J. Simpson by Sadakat Kadri newly listed for sale on the fantastic BookLovers of Bath web site!

Published: HarperCollins, 2005, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Illustrated by way of: Black and White Photographs;

From the cover: For as long as accuser and accused have faced each other in public, criminal trials have been establishing more than who did what to whom, and in this fascinating book Sadakat Kadri reviews four thousand years of courtroom drama.

In a work that takes in Norse mythology, Alice in Wonderland and twenty-first century Hollywood, Kadri explains how trial by jury emerged in medieval England out of ordeals of fire and water, and how delusions identical to those that sent witches to the stake revived as accusations of satanic child abuse during the 1980s. He describes the prosecutions of animals and corpses that were once commonplace in Europe, and argues that the same instinctive urge to punish is still evident in many courtrooms today.

But Kadris account is about the value of trials as much as it is about their violence. He tells of show trials from Tudor England to Stalins Soviet Union, and makes clear why no-trials, in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, sit just as uneasily with western traditions of justice. Fairness is a part of those traditions and with governments everywhere eroding legal protections in the name of an indefinite war on terror, his exploration of its historical meaning could hardly be more timely.

The Trial tackles questions that are profound. Who has the right to judge, and why? What did past civilizations hope to achieve through scapegoats and sacrifices, and to what extent are defendants still made to bear the sins of society at large? Kadri addresses such themes through scores of meticulously researched stories, told with verve and wit, and in doing so he has created a masterpiece of popular history.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Gently bruised at the spine ends and corners with commensurate wear to the dust wrapper. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned.

Black boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XVIII] 474 pages. Index. Bibliography. 9½” x 6¼”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I tempt with you something from here?

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