A captivating blend of legal suspense and introspective memoir.

ABOVE ALL THINGS

A lawyer’s remembrance of the trial that changed his life. 

When debut author Kussman first became acquainted with the particulars of Theresa Kayne’s legal case, he was both moved and frustrated. She had struggled to become pregnant, so her obstetrician, Fredrick Henley, administered injections of delalutin, a female sex hormone that mimics the effects of progesterone, which is naturally produced by the female body. She later learned that she was actually already in the early stages pregnancy at the time of the injections. Henley assured her that delalutin posed no risk to the fetus; however, her son, Joshua, was born without functioning arms or legs. Kayne intended to sue both Henley and E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc., the colossal pharmaceutical company that manufactures delalutin, but she couldn’t find a lawyer to take the case, apparently because no one could find an expert witness who would testify that the hormone could cause birth defects. Russell’s firm didn’t want the case either, but he thought, contrary to prudence, that it was winnable. He left his firm and started his own, though he was only a year out of law school and had never tried a case before. The author provides a stirringly dramatic account of the three-month-long trial that eventually garnered national attention as well as a look into the inner machinations of the pharmaceutical industry that successfully stifled the promulgation of scientific findings and warnings that likely would have diminished its profit.  Despite his lack of experience, Russell was uniquely positioned to try the case for the same reason he’s now uniquely positioned to tell its story—before he was a lawyer, he was a practicing physician. Much of the power of his remembrance is a function of his unfiltered candor, which includes self-criticism. He realized that he was outclassed by his legal adversaries and, at one point, in deep trouble: “I could see from the reality of an actual trial courtroom that I was a fish out of water; that it would be impossible for me to do this on my own. I was jeopardizing Josh’s future and my own law license.” Still, even after Russell sought out the help of a much more seasoned attorney, he torpedoed the partnership by hubristically insisting on being the lead lawyer, a self-effacing analysis he unforgivingly supplies. While the memoir focuses on the trial itself and its legal details, Russell also affectingly reflects on his own personal life—certainly one of the reasons he was so moved by Kayne’s plight was that his own wife was pregnant at the time he took her case. Further, he astutely explores his own defiant brand of ambition. He abandoned a promising career as a physician to become a lawyer, only to quickly exit an enviable job at a well-known firm to set out in his own. At different junctures in the story, he seems by turns impressively confident and self-destructively arrogant. 

A captivating blend of legal suspense and introspective memoir. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-976038-11-2

Page Count: 420

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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