RINGSIDE, 1925 by Jen Bryant


Views from the Scopes Trial
Age Range: 11 & up
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In 1925, the leading citizens of Dayton, Tenn., created a media circus to revive the sagging economy of their small town. John Scopes, the new science teacher, agreed to be arrested so the American Civil Liberties Union could test the Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of any theory that denied the biblical story of the creation. It was faith versus science, and reporters, lawyers and onlookers soon besieged the town. Bryant’s novel-in-verse gives voice to many players, and though the theatrics of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, the famous orators, seem lost among the many voices, and characters’ observations are sometimes repetitive, the participants come across as real individuals with distinct voices and personalities. By the end, the young people demonstrate how the trial opened their eyes and minds, as they seem inspired to launch themselves into the larger world. Eloquent at times and a natural for the classroom, this is a good match with Ronald Kidd’s Monkey Town (2006). (epilogue, author’s note, bibliography) (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84047-0
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2008


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