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Contents

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I am grateful to the following people for their comments, advice, and other input...

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Introduction: Storytelling Lawyers

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pp. 1-10

The best trial lawyers are storytellers. They take the raw and disjointed observations of witnesses and transform them into coherent and persuasive narratives. They develop compelling theories and artful themes, all the better to advance a client’s cause, whatever it might happen to be...

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1. Biff and Me: Stories That Are Truer Than True

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pp. 11-26

Arriving an hour early for my morning flight out of O’Hare, I picked up my boarding pass and looked for a place to read. There were no available seats immediately adjacent to my gate, so I headed for the...

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2. Edgardo Mortara: Forbidden Truths

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pp. 27-50

On the evening of June 23, 1858, an officer of the papal police knocked urgently on the door of Signor Salomone Mortara, a Jewish merchant living in the Italian city of Bologna.Marshal Pietro Lucidi, accompanied by several other of the Pope’s carabinieri, demanded entry to the...

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3. John Brown: Political Truth and Consequences

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pp. 51-91

In order to understand and appreciate John Brown’s trial, we will need to look fairly closely at the events leading up to the attack on Harpers Ferry.4 Unsurprisingly, the conventional view—that John Brown was a wild-eyed fanatic pursuing a suicidal mission...

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4. Wyatt Earp: Truth and Context

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pp. 93-133

It is early afternoon on a fateful day—October 26, 1881–in the frontier town of Tombstone, Arizona. Four heavily armed men have decided to take the law into their own hands. Gamblers and possibly thieves, a notorious gunslinger among them, they are determined to take vengeance...

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5. Liberty Valance: Truth or Justice

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pp. 135-159

It all began on a westbound stagecoach.3 Ransome Stoddard, for reasons never disclosed, was headed for the tiny town of Shinbone, located somewhere “south of the Picketwire” on the very edge of civilization. Evidently fresh out of law school...

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6. Atticus Finch: Race, Class, Gender, and Truth

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pp. 161-182

In the unreconstructed Maycomb, Alabama, of the 1930s, Atticus Finch was willing to risk his social standing, professional reputation, and even his physical safety in order to defend a poor, black laborer falsely accused of raping a white woman. Serving for no fee, Atticus heard the call...

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7. Sheila McGough: The Impossibility of the Whole Truth

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pp. 183-198

Perhaps better than any other contemporary journalist, Janet Malcolm understands the highly nuanced art of trial advocacy,which she explores in fine detail in The Crime of Sheila McGough.2 She is able to convey, in surprisingly few words, the complex and sometimes paradoxical...

Index

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pp. 199-217

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About the Author

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p. 219

Steven Lubet is Professor of Law at Northwestern University, where he directs the award-winning Program on Advocacy...