THE WORLDS OF CHIPPY PATTERSON by Arthur H. Lewis
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THE WORLDS OF CHIPPY PATTERSON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Arthur Lewis has written a skillful, sensitive biography of a brilliant -- and bizarre -- criminal lawyer. In the Philadelphia of the twenties -- the heyday of the rubout, the dark night of the speakeasy and the white slave trade -- lived Christopher Stuart Patterson, Jr. born an aristocrat, nurtured on privilege and plenty. He maneuvered through an elegant education in a haze of alcohol punctuated with strange rebellions against his milieu. Submerged in drinking he wandered through his youth, then broke the habit with almost three years in a hospital and emerged to shape his unorthodox destiny. He began his long practice of criminal law defending the dregs of city life: abortionists, rapists, petty larcenists, prostitutes, murderers, hoodlums and hired killers. He worked endless hours, kept few records, ignored mushrooming debts, and gave away what fees he collected to the countless denizens of bawdy houses, jails and sewers that crowded his dingy office. He wore fishing boots to court, had a progression of mistresses and became a legend at City Hall. His hypnotic power over juries and record of acquittals were anathema to the D.A.'s office. Some thought of him as a quiet saint. Beneath the aura of intense loneliness there was a brilliant mind and imagination perversely bent on a long symbolic binge in the underworld of life. What emerges is the story of a heroic man, rare in our times, and inspiring to read.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace