Required reading for trial lawyers but also exceptionally informative for anyone interested in legal proceedings.




A book examines the ways in which noted attorneys deploy language to their tactical advantage.

Read (Winning at Deposition, 2012, etc.) heartily subscribes to the notion that the most effective lawyers are gifted storytellers and thus constructs this hefty tome around the power of language in legal settings. For starters, he deserves much credit for expertly curating a project of this magnitude. Each of the seven main sections—Opening Statement, Direct Examination, Cross-Examination, Cross-Examination of the Expert Witness, Closing Argument, Deposition, and Appellate Oral Argument—contains two or three chapters featuring selected attorneys and (as promised in the title) critical moments in illustrative cases. For uninitiated readers, Alan Dershowitz is probably the highest profile figure here, followed by Tom Girardi of Erin Brockovich fame. The range of topics is similarly impressive, from medical malpractice and adoption to SUV safety and the death penalty. The cases studied involve diverse elements, such as the Zapruder film, the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, and the brutal attack on a San Francisco Giants fan in the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium parking lot. Read is a master of organization and elucidation, guiding readers point by point through the testimony (with crucial phrases highlighted in boldface), with practice tips and notable quotes from the profiled attorney set off in the margins and revisited at the end of each chapter. “Telling the Story with a Reluctant Witness,” a chapter that focuses on Maureen O’Brien’s successful efforts to secure a rape conviction, stands out as a useful example of how Read structures the text for maximum efficiency and impact. In a succinct manner, the author shows readers how to transform leading questions into “specific non-leading questions” and demonstrates the importance of “looping”—“the technique of repeating a portion of the witness’ previous answer into your next question”—in order to reinforce critical information for the jury. He then proceeds to apply these tools by revealing how O’Brien uses them in the courtroom via a well-annotated trial transcript. As an added bonus, Read has created a companion website to house supplemental materials: video, audio, and additional transcripts.

Required reading for trial lawyers but also exceptionally informative for anyone interested in legal proceedings.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9850271-1-7

Page Count: 562

Publisher: Westway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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