An act of courage must be gauged in direct proportion to the risk it involves. "" Using this as his premise, William Kunstler goes as far back as pre-revolutionary times in selecting ten American lawyers who acted courageously in defending their principles by either bucking public opinion or public authority. In all cases, the lawyers had little to gain and much to lose. Beginning with Alexander Hamilton's defense of John Peter Zenger, the impoverished printer accused of libel in 1735, and concluding with the spectacular Army-McCarthy hearings 8 years ago, Kunstler skillfully reconstructs the trials in which these men were involved. Not all of the verdicts were favorable to the defendants and in many instances, such as John Altgeld's decision as governor of Illinois to pardon the three men involved in the Haymarket bombings, the lawyers were subsequently reduced to poverty and obscurity imposed by social ostracism. Kunstler, a lawyer himself, has written a fascinating study of men who stand out as shining examples in their profession and offer a showcase for many dramatic moments. It should appeal to a wide general readership.