Books by David Margolick

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 3, 2018

"The most telling line of this well-crafted and timely story comes from Lewis as well: 'They were friends, and didn't even know that they were friends.'"
Dual biography of two of the most ardent, inspiring, and complex champions of American civil rights. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 4, 2013

"Not a fun read, but a wonderfully crafted portrait of a tormented homosexual writer."
A revealing biography of the brilliant, arrogant author of The Gallery (1947), a celebrated World War II novel. Read full book review >
ELIZABETH AND HAZEL by David Margolick
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2011

"Riveting reportage of an injustice that still resonates with sociological significance."
An event of racially charged intimidation, captured on film, has lasting repercussions for two women. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 22, 2005

"Sports and political history in a balanced, engaging blend."
In a turn to do A.J. Liebling proud, longtime Vanity Fair contributing editor Margolick (Strange Fruit, with Hilton Als, 2001, etc.) recounts a charged moment in boxing history. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2000

"serial to Vanity Fair; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour; radio satellite tour)"
Expanding on an article that originated in the pages of Vanity Fair, Margolick (At the Bar, 1995) traces the relationships Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 24, 1995

An engaging and exceedingly readable collection of essays on legal matters both great and modest. Margolick is a journalist who also boasts (perhaps ``admits to'' is a better phrase) a law degree. From November 1987 until he became the New York Times San Francisco bureau chief earlier this year, he wrote the entertaining Times column ``At the Bar,'' 120 examples of which are collected here. Although often depicting the legal profession at its best or its worst, Margolick's pieces are not blatant commentaries. He neither proselytizes nor expounds grand theories about law because, he argues, interesting anecdotes alone cannot be the basis for judging the value of the legal profession. Rather, Margolick seeks to show through examples that ``lawyers are, in fact, nothing but mirrors of ourselves.'' Loosely grouped into 12 chapters (``Personalities,'' ``Ethics,'' ``The Feminization of the Law,'' etc.), the essays cover such serious issues as the attempts of attorneys to balance career and parenthood; the firing of a lawyer who reported the ethical violations of another attorney in his firm; and an exceedingly cruel satire written by members of the Harvard Law Review lampooning the life and writings of a recently murdered feminist law professor. Lighter topics include the legal profession's passion for footnotes; how lawyers vied for cameo parts in the movie The Firm; and the campaign for the 1994 presidency of the American Bar Association, during which one candidate alleged that his opponent's foot condition made him physically unable to hold office, while the pedally impaired aspirant countered that his rival was too fat. Margolick's columns are invariably well-written, entertaining, thought-provoking, and pleasingly devoid of legal jargon. Fascinating snapshots of the myriad foibles and occasional heroics of lawyering and the law. A book that will engross lawyer and layperson alike. Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: March 19, 1993

The riveting chronicle of a May/December match that precipitated a bitter struggle for the lion's share of a great American fortune. Margolick (who writes a legal column for The New York Times) has fashioned a wonderfully absorbing narrative whose protagonists will strike most readers as being utterly without redeeming social values. In 1971, he reports, J. Seward Johnson, 76-year-old scion of a Johnson & Johnson founder, took a third wife: Barbara Piasecka, a 34-year-old Polish ÇmigrÇ who had worked as a maid in his household. The couple spent most of the their time traveling, collecting fine art, and building fabulously expensive homes. When Seward died in 1983, he left Piasecka nearly all of his $400- million estate. The six children of Seward's two prior marriages (whose dysfunctional, trust-supported lifestyles made the term ``idle rich'' seem like a benediction) contested the will, and Piasecka, before collecting her legacy in an out-of-court settlement in 1986, faced charges ranging from spousal abuse to undue influence. By Margolick's evenhanded account, the legal brawl that ensued ranked among the costliest and ugliest proceedings in the history of US jurisprudence. The clash, which pitted the cream of New York's white-shoe law firms against one another, elicited sensational testimony that succeeded in demonizing Piasecka in tabloid headlines and in tarnishing the reputations of the putatively disinherited, whose briefs conveniently neglected to disclose that their father had made them independently wealthy years earlier. Here, Margolick keeps coherent track of a large cast of attorneys, ligitants, and supporting players, assessing their strengths and weakneses in graceful, often wickedly witty, style. He also has a flair for explaining fine legal points without breaking his narrative's momentum. While there may be a moral to Margolick's dazzling, alchemic reporting on the carryings-on of seemingly repellent carriage-trade characters, it doesn't prevent him from keeping the pot bubbling at a merry pace. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photos—not seen.) Read full book review >