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Reviewed by Ken Stark for Readers' Favorite
With Justice For Some: Politically Charged Criminal Trials of the Early 20th Century That Helped Shape Today's America by Lise Pearlman is an in-depth look at thirteen of the most socially relevant criminal trials of the early 1900s. Some of them were media events, some were landmark cases, and some are all but buried under the dust of time, but each one sent ripples through a US justice system rife with corruption, bias and political maneuvering. No one could have known at the time that these trials were only the opening scenes in a drama that would still be playing out a century later as good people continue to fight for justice for all instead of justice for some.
With Justice For Some is a fascinating read. Where another author might have provided a dry, impersonal history lesson, Lise Pearlman puts us in that time and place with the dexterity of a master storyteller, describing all of the social and racial tensions of the time and letting us peek behind the curtain to see the machinations of politicians, media and power brokers trying to swing public outrage one way or the other. And I particularly enjoyed how Pearlman linked certain aspects of the trials together, weaving them more into a tale of a country coming of age than just a series of individual case studies. With Justice For Some shows how far we've come, but considering the strikingly familiar political rantings, media circuses and endless sources of false information and hate speech we have today, it also shows that maybe we haven't come quite as far as we think.