TO LIFE by Elmer Gertz


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As the title suggests, Gertz' reminiscences are unfocused. The Chicago lawyer, renowned for his representation of unpopular clients, his literary associations and his campaigns in the service of liberal causes, begins slowly with inane memories of his childhood; but most of the book, fortunately, is concerned with his later years. His tells of his personal and professional relations with Carl Sandburg and Henry Miller; with Nathan Leopold and Jack Ruby. He outlines his career in civil rights, housing, libel law and his fight against the death penalty. Also included is a brief account of his personal tragedy in the death of his first wife. Gertz seems to be aware of the problem in his book: ""How does one prevent an autobiography from becoming little more than a chronicle of names, dates and places?"" He succeeds in his memoir of Leopold, presented with compassion and perception, and occassionally one catches glimpses of his beneficence and his astute legal mind. But for the most part he never surfaces from the miscellaneous anecdotes.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1974
Publisher: McGraw-Hill