In 1925, Tennessee passed the Butler Act, making it illegal to teach evolution in public schools, Prompted by the ACLU (angling for the Supreme Court), lawyers and boosters in the small town of Dayton set up a test case, with teacher John Scopes as defendant. So begans a trial that drew eminent participants and unparalleled worldwide publicity. McGowen briefly gives the background and context of this still-resounding controversy, draws succinct but telling portraits of figures like Bryan and Darrow, then centers On the dramatic trial, quoting extensively from the proceedings and elucidating the points of law that determined its course. Presumably in the interest of simplicity, he mentions no journalists by name, though he does give a vivid sense of the uproar surrounding the proceedings. There's a fine introduction by Stephen Jay Gould, reinforcing McGowen's point that evolution is a fact, and not in conflict with religious beliefs; there's also a 16-page insert of b&w photos, most of them of the trial itself. A fascinating, well-organized account that clarifies both the events themselves and their historic significance. Bibliography; index.