The Trial in American Life
By (author) Robert A. Ferguson
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Trial in American Life by Robert A. Ferguson
Book DescriptionIn a bravura performance that ranges from Aaron Burr to O. J. Simpson, Robert A. Ferguson traces the legal meaning and cultural implications of prominent American trials across the history of the nation. His interdisciplinary investigation carries him from courtroom transcripts to newspaper accounts, and on to the work of such imaginative writers as Emerson, Thoreau, William Dean Howells, and E. L. Doctorow. Ferguson shows how courtrooms are forced to cope with unresolved communal anxieties and how they sometimes make legal decisions that change the way Americans think about themselves. Burning questions control the narrative: How do such trials mushroom into major public dramas with fundamental ideas at stake? Why did outcomes that we now see as unjust enjoy such strong communal support at the time? At what point does overexposure undermine a trial's role as a legal proceeding?Ultimately, such questions lead Ferguson to the issue of modern press coverage of courtrooms. While acknowledging that media accounts can skew perceptions, Ferguson argues forcefully in favor of full television coverage of them - and he takes the Supreme Court to task for its failure to grasp the importance of this issue. Trials must be seen to be understood, but Ferguson reminds us that we have a duty, currently ignored, to ensure that cameras serve the court rather than the media."The Trial in American Life" weaves Ferguson's deep knowledge of American history, law, and culture into a fascinating book of tremendous contemporary relevance.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780226243269
(233mm x 168mm x 25mm)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 19-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Robert A. Ferguson
Inferno, Hardback (March 2014)
Robert Ferguson diagnoses all parts of a massive, out-of-control punishment regime. Turning the spotlight on the plight of prisoners, he asks the American people, Do we want our prisons to be this way? Acknowledging the suffering of prisoners and understanding what punishers do when they punish are the first steps toward a better, more just system.
Alone in America, Hardback (January 2013)
With more people living alone today than at any time in U.S. history, Ferguson investigates loneliness in American fiction, from its mythological beginnings in Rip Van Winkle to the postmodern terrors of 9/11. At issue is the dark side of a trumpeted American individualism. Ferguson shows that we can learn, from our literature, how to live alone.
Reading the Early Republic, Paperback (September 2006)» View all books by Robert A. Ferguson
Focuses attention on the forgotten dynamism of thought in the founding era. This work states that in every case, the documents, novels, pamphlets, sermons, journals, and slave narratives of the early American nation are richer and more intricate than modern readers have perceived.
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Author Biography - Robert A. Ferguson
Robert A. Ferguson is the George Edward Woodberry Professor of Law, Literature, and Criticism at Columbia University. He is the author of Reading the Early Republic; The American Enlightenment, 1750-1820; and Law and Letters in American Culture.
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