GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY? by Joseph & Edith Raskin


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One step beyond the entertaining Tales our Settlers Told and The Newcomers (KR, 1971 and 1974), and a dubious step at that. Since this new roundup supposedly shows something of the nature of colonial justice, it's annoying to have no clues to where folklore and invention end and fact begins. The case of ""A Jackass Splits Splitskull"" is obviously a tall joke, but highly dramatized recreations of a witch trial, a colonial lawsuit brought by an indentured servant, and ""The Crime That Shook Chicago"" make much of the personalities involved (partly fictional) and little of the issues. So, also, a tale of marauding pirates ends with smug approval of their code of thieves' honor -- ""If those standards of behaviour were followed on land and on sea, perhaps the world would be one grand circle of people."" The material is intrinsically interesting -- we'd like to know more about one incident where outraged women interfered with a Justice's unfair application of domestic law by throwing beans in his courtroom. But justice demands at least some citation of sources.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1975
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard