In the summer of 1925, the sleepy hamlet of Dayton, Tennessee, became the setting for one of the 20th century’s most contentious dramas: the Scopes trial that pit William Jennings Bryan and the anti-Darwinists against a teacher named John Scopes into a famous debate over science, religion, and their place in public education That trial marked the start of a battle that continues to this day-in Dover, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Cobb County, Georgia, and many other cities and states throughout the country. Edward Larson’s classic, Summer for the Gods, received the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1998 and is the single most authoritative account of a pivotal event whose combatants remain at odds in school districts and courtrooms. For this edition, Larson has added a new preface that assesses the state of the battle between creationism and evolution, and points the way to how it might potentially be resolved.
Topics: 1920s, Evolution, American History, Tennessee, Creative Nonfiction, Creationism, and Constitutional Law
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Terrific book on the Scopes monkey trial and the continuing (evolving?) debate between science and religion in the public sphere in America. The book is divided into thirds, a "before", "during" and "after" trial section. What makes the book special is its emphasis on the currents and trends leading up to and away from the trial. In addition, Larson clears away a lot of the cobwebs and hoary cliches that have come to be associated with the trial itself, presenting the actual proceedings concisely and lucidly. Unexpected and involving bonuses include passages on the inception of the ACLU, and sections on court arguments and societal impact post-Scopes. The ability to contextualize these "ripples" of influence both forward and backward in time from that seminal moment makes this much more than just a recap of that hot summer in Tennessee.more
I was rather disappointed by this book. It is divided into three sections: a look at American society before the trial, the trial, and the aftermath. Of these three, the last is easily the best. The best account that I have seen of the trial is L. Sprague de Camp's The Great Monkey Trial. That is narrowly focussed on the trial itself, and greatly exceeds this account in detail. De Camp provides careful analysis, but he also quotes from contemporary documents at length, and allows the reader to draw some conclusions.more
This is an excellent and well-researched account of the Scopes Monkey Trial and the author skillfully dismantles much of the mythology surrounding the event. Recommended for anyone on either side of the evolution debate.more
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