One of the most distinguished lawyers of his generation reflects on his life and extraordinary career.
Readers acquainted only with Dershowitz’s TV persona will likely be surprised by the keen sense of humor, the graciousness offered opponents (with a few notable exceptions), and the tenderness toward family, friends and mentors the controversial law professor reveals here. They’ll surely recognize the outsized ego and the passionate, full-throated advocacy of the many and varied legal causes with which he’s so often identified. This memoir opens with an account of his Brooklyn boyhood, his undistinguished high school years, his intellectual awakening at college and his flowering at Yale Law School. After clerking for the legendary Judge David Bazelon and then for Arthur Goldberg on the U.S. Supreme Court, Dershowitz (The Trials of Zion, 2010, etc.) became the youngest full professor ever at Harvard Law School. For more than four decades, he has used this perch to teach, write and speak about the law’s intersections with science and psychiatry and especially about matters pertaining to constitutional and criminal law. Most unusually for a law professor, Dershowitz has maintained a highly active appellate practice, and he narrates the rest of his life in the law through the many cases he’s handled. Many of these unfailingly interesting tales feature high-profile clients like Leona Helmsley, O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson and Bill Clinton. Dershowitz bristles, though, at being labeled merely a celebrity lawyer, and he reminds us of the many obscure defendants whose cases he accepted pro bono due to the important legal questions raised. Best known in recent years as a stout defender of Israel, Dershowitz has become an important voice with an active role in the evolution of American law, touching on an astonishing breadth of issues, including capital punishment, affirmative action, pornography, national security, academic freedom and human rights.
An engaging recounting of a life of serious purpose and splendid flair.