A memoir that is also a compelling page-turner, "Philadelphia Freedom" is the poignant, informative, often inspiring account of renowned civil-rights lawyer David Kairys' personal quest for achieving social justice during the turbulent 1960s and 70s."Philadelphia Freedom" brings us intimately and directly into Kairys' burgeoning law career and the struggles of the 60s as his professional and private life navigated the turmoil and promise of the civil rights and antiwar movements.Many of the cases Kairys took on involved discrimination and equal protection, freedom of speech, and government malfeasance. Kairys is perhaps most well known for his victory in the Camden 28 draft board case, in which the FBI set up a sting of the Catholic anti-war left at the behest of the highest levels of government.The stories and cases range from nationally important and recognizable - the family of the scientist the CIA unwittingly gave LSD in the 1950s; the leading race discrimination case against the FBI; Dr. Benjamin Spock's First Amendment case before the Supreme Court; the city handgun lawsuits Kairys conceived - to those he encountered in his early work as a public defender.The characters include public figures such as FBI Directors J.
Edgar Hoover and Louis Freeh; CIA Director William Colby; Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter; New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer; U.S. Attorneys General Edward Levi and John Mitchell; Georgia Governor Lester Maddox; Pennsylvania Governor, former Philadelphia Mayor and Democratic National Committee chair Ed Rendell; Philadelphia Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo. But some of the most memorable are not well known, involving regular people caught up in the often heartless machinery of the courts and legal system.Though it reads like a novel, with all the elements of character, plot, and suspense, "Philadelphia Freedom" also has historical significance as a firsthand account of the 1960s and 70s and contains social commentary about race as well as insights and major perspectives on the nature and social role of law.
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(229mm x 152mm x 28mm)
The University of Michigan Press
Publisher: The University of Michigan Press
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US Kirkus Review »
Recollections of a career devoted to fighting for social justice.Kairys (Law/Temple Univ.; With Liberty and Justice for Some, 1993, etc.) has sifted through hefty files of documents to reconstruct events in and out of court and to re-create conversations with clients, witnesses, judges and other lawyers. The result is a fully fleshed-out memoir of life on the front lines of the civil-rights movement. Beginning as a public defender, the author was not yet a member of the bar when he took up the cause of James Jiles, an escapee from a chain gang who was facing extradition to Georgia. Through legal research, impressive powers of reasoning and persuasion, plus sheer chutzpah, Kairys carried the day in this case as he would in many future ones. In 1971, with funding from the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, he and a partner opened a private practice that owed much of its work to, as Kairys puts it, "the brutality and lawlessness of the Philadelphia police." When a group of Catholic antiwar activists broke into a draft-board office in nearby Camden, N.J., his firm defended the "Camden 28," a case that drew national attention and revealed that the FBI had provided the tools for the break-in. The Bureau took it on the chin again when Kairys represented a black man in a racial discrimination suit against the FBI. He sued the CIA on behalf of the family of a scientist who died a week after a CIA researcher gave him a dose of LSD secretly mixed in a drink. The book's drama comes from these high-profile cases, including a free-speech suit brought by Dr. Benjamin Spock that went to the Supreme Court, but the author's account of how he managed to bring about changes in bail procedures and methods of jury selection are equally absorbing and provide a disturbing picture of the workings of the courts.Easy reading, pleasantly suffused with the idealism and activism of '60s and '70s. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - David Kairys
David Kairys is Professor of Law at Beasley School of Law, Temple University.