ONE MAN'S FREEDOM by Edward Bennett Williams
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Inevitably, comparison will be made with Nizer's My Life in Court. Actually the two books are written from wholly different angles. Where Nizer's book is autobiographical, Williams' book is basically his philosophy as defense attorney in some of the sensational legal actions of our times, involving some of the most controversial figures, and it is around his belief that civil liberties are threatened, that we must recognize wherein lie these threats in order to maintain our heritage,- freedom within the framework of law. He sees our civil liberties as restraint on government not benefits secured by government. This is a plea for sustaining a government of Laws, a government by consent of the governed, and he sees world peace only as achieved through a foundation built on law. To illustrate his points, step by step, discussing the threats posed by congressional investigations (and offering in contrast the good as well as the evil); he discusses in detail some of the modern techniques of invasion of privacy; he pleads for a better understanding of the right to refuse to testify, to demand fair trial, to resist unsupported arrest, to weigh the factors widely used to bring unfair pressures on justice. He illustrates all of these principles by cases and individuals whose causes he has taken on. One may- in advance- question his representing such people as Frank Costello, Aldo Icardi (this reads like the best of suspense stories), McCarthy, James Hoffa, Adam Clayton Powell, Igor Melekh and others. When his reasons for handling their cases are presented, one sees in each a fundamental threat to our civil liberties, individual freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The death penalty -- the case of mental instability- the disadvantages under which the poor, the Negro, the foreigner suffer -- all these factors are explored and his position comes clear. Here is a book for careful and thoughtful reading- a challenge to one's individual beliefs. And at the same time, an immensely holding human document.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1962
ISBN: 1439196869
Publisher: Atheneum