Readers may not recognize the author’s name, but he has been fighting for the rights of underdogs for nearly 60 years. His autobiography describes his entry into the world of political activism with the modesty often found in those who overachieve.
During his days at Brooklyn Law School in the 1940s, Lane (Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK, 2011, etc.) began his fight for the rights of the voiceless. He became the student leader of the National Lawyers Guild, a society formed in answer to the American Bar Association’s conservative, occasionally racist policies. After admission to the bar, Lane’s life as an activist took off as one pro bono case after another introduced him to all the main players of the period. He dined with W.E.B. Du Bois, invited blacklisted Pete Seeger to play at a fundraiser, fought the House Un-American Activities Committee and led the effort to clean up the draconian policies of the Wassaic State School for Mental Defectives. Lane ran for and was elected to the New York State Assembly in order to open the door for minorities, and the reputation he built introduced him to many of the movers and shakers of the late 20th century: Eleanor Roosevelt, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Dick Gregory, William F. Buckley, Jane Fonda, Bertrand Russell, among others. He worked with anyone struggling for a voice, from the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to the Black Panthers. He rode as a Freedom Rider, worked for JFK and then wrote Rush to Judgment (1966) to exonerate Lee Harvey Oswald. As one would expect of a person of this caliber, Lane’s story focuses on the needs of those he served rather than the extraordinary part he played in so many lives.
The book flows easily from one quest to the next, always delivering unbiased information supported by well-researched facts.