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Book reviews for "Kunstler,_William_Moses" sorted by average review score:

My Life As a Radical Lawyer
Published in Paperback by Citadel Pr (1996)
Authors: William M. Kunstler and Sheila Isenberg
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Advocacy and History
This book should be required reading for two sets of readers: All trial lawyers facing monstrous odds and all readers interested in the history of the United States from about 1956 to the present. The first time I read this book (five years ago, while in law school) I picked up very specific lessons regarding the practice of criminal defense law. The second time through (2002), I picked up very specific historical lessons about turbulent times in our nation's history (civil rights litigation in the 1960s, the counter-culture of the late 1960s, and the American Indian Movement).

Of particular interest is the section on Mr. Kunstler's representation of a defendant in the 1993 WTC attacks.

Totally Inspiring.
I have read many autobiographies of lawyers and am a collector of books relating to real life court drama. Mr. Kunstler's (affectionally also known as Bill)autobiography is one of the best I've read. As a lawyer myself, I truly felt inspired by his actions in court. I can only wish in my lifetime as an advocate that I can be at least half of a court room lawyer he was. I highly recommend this book to all advocates and aspiring trial lawyers. This book is as good as Louis Nizer's "My Life In Court".

The Hall-Mills Murder Case: The Minister and the Choir Singer
Published in Paperback by Rutgers University Press (1980)
Author: William Moses Kunstler
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The Reason Why
What was the cause of those murders? Why did it occur then, when the affair was going on for years? I have a suggested solution.

It happened a few days after the Halls came back from their New England vacation in the mountains. I think something happened there, where Mrs Hall had a narrow escape from a fatal accident while with the Reverend. She thought about it, and realized that if she had an accident, Reverend Ed would inherit her fortune, and be free to seek another rich wife. Eleanor would be dropped like yesterday's newspaper. Mrs Hall discussed this with her brothers, and they decided to confront the Reverend while he was with Eleanor, so he could not deny the affair, and would be forced to end it. The emotional interaction escalated beyond reason, and the deaths occurred. The best laid plans of mice and men still go astray.

The case was not solved so justice would triumph over the law. The Reverend Ed messed up his own marriage, and destroyed the Mills' marriage. Alive, he would break up another marriage. It was all for the best. When someone poor falls in love with a rich person, the poor person often comes to an unhappy ending. The rich have many resources to accomplish their ends. This is the moral of "Love Story", that love does not triumph over material facts. No matter how hard you wish it were different. Love conquers all? Forget about it!

The Minister and the Choir Singer
This well-written book lacks an index, but lists the people involved. Part I tells about the events of 1922. After the murders no indictments occurred! Part II tells of the events in 1926. A divorce action against the former Hall's maid alleged a pay-off to keep quiet. The NY Daily Mirror publicized this, and NJ Governor Moore ordered a new investigation. Four indictments followed. Part III tells of the five weeks of trial; all were found not guilty. The murders were never solved. In Part IV Kunstler fantasizes about it being a Klan killing. No proof is given, he only argues by analogy. No group of men were seen there. I wonder if this is part of a whitewash? There is no mention of public opinion from these times.

The Reverend Hall married Frances Stevens, 37 years old, a few years before she inherited millions (with her brothers). Around this time Mrs. Eleanor Mills became active in church affairs. Married at 17, perhaps to escape an unhappy home life, she soon had two children. She sought the mirage of happiness in closeness to her minister. But this minister married for money; love was a secondary concern. Their meetings were not secret from their close associates.

On Thursday September 14, 1922 Mrs. Mills read an article justifying divorce for a minister. She cut it out and called Reverend Hall for a meeting; he soon left to meet her. Mrs. Mills boarded a trolley then walked to De Russey's Lane. Reverend Hall left his house by 7:30PM and was seen walking to this location. They were never seen alive again. Saturday morning 9-16-1922 a young couple went for a walk down De Russey's Lane and turned into a grassy path. They found two bodies near a crabapple tree, then ran to Easton Ave to call the police. The missing couple was found.

Four people who lived nearby heard shots or screams around midnight Thursday (p.31). The affair between the minister and the choir singer became public knowledge. Next month they learned of the testimony of the "Pig Woman". While riding a mule to follow a suspected thief, she saw two men and two women arguing near a crabapple tree. There was a shot, and someone fell to the ground. She heard a woman scream, then more shots (p.70). She had tried to tell her story earlier, but was put off (p.72). Detectives accompanied her reconstruction; it checked out.

I believe that Frances, Henry, and Willie went looking for the missing minister, and found them together. Frances asked Edward to kneel and promise to sin no more. Willie, covering him with his pistol, touched it off. They then chose to finish the job (p.29). Future events would tell of witnesses paid to vanish or forget. Who was paid to kill the investigation in 1922? [If they were to find the missing gold watch buried in the Hall's garden we would know the truth.]

Disappointingly Possible
Of the two books and numerous articles I have read on the Hall-Mills case, Kunstler's is the most excitingly written, even though it leaves one not wholly satisfied. Boswell and Thompson's trashily titled volume The Girl in Lover's Lane, (Gold Medal paperback original; Fawcett Books: Greenwich, CT: September 1953 [no title on spine]) seems fairer and is more tempered but is also less thoughtful and analytical. Kunstler's solution is dramatically wrong because he writes The Minister and the Choir Singer like a whodunit: the guilty must be among the dramatis personae. To bring in an outside third party, as Kunstler does (and as many Perry Mason mysteries do, by arranging for the Drake Detective Agency to find facts no reader could extrapolate), violates one's sense of literary fairness. Of course, life is not obliged to follow the laws of literary form.

Curiously, in his earlier Oceana Publications book (New York: 1960) First Degree, Kunstler hints strongly at the guilt of Jim Mills. And Boswell and Thompson, on page 24 of The Girl in Lover's Lane, casually dismiss the answer for which Kunstler earnestly argues. They also hint that the vestryman Ralph Gorsline knew more than he told; unfortunately, Gorsline had died by the time they assembled their story. Barring an unlikely disclosure--e. g., a word from one of the Mills descendants, a diary by the murderer, or a contemporary report that contains fresh data, the Hall-Mills case will probably always be unsettling and unresolved, so it seems unlikely that any solution could be more convincing than Kunstler's, however disappointing it may be.

William M. Kunstler: The Most Hated Lawyer in America
Published in Hardcover by New York University Press (1999)
Author: David J. Langum
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Smart Enough to be Funny
Stand-up comedy is not in the index of this book, but it gets mentioned. Along with a list of Kunstler's film credits is a note that when he tried a comedy routine, he got his biggest laugh for a lawyer joke. I was interested, a long time ago, in what Chapter 6 of this book calls Circus in Chicago. Back when I was contemplating what I might like to do in a career in law, I would have enjoyed the opportunity to generate the number of laughs that are contained in this book. Then I actually found a case that said "Resort to the courts is futile." That was such a change from my expectations that an element of humor creeps into my appreciation of the outrageous nature of that truth. As evidence that the author of this book is aware of the potent nature of that form of humor, picture this: "Kunstler objected. The United States attorney jumped up and argued, 'This is outrageous. This man [Kunstler] is the mouthpiece for these defendants. The Government protests this man's attitude.'" (p. 124) I thought that the best legal point in the book was that Bobby Seale could not be retried on the conspiracy charge after the jury found that the other seven defendants were not guilty of conspiracy. Seale hadn't been charged with anything else, so further proceedings in his case would have been pointless. If there is a fine line between legal logic and the quirks of the system, check this book for the side of the line where the quirks are, and maybe you have already seen bits and pieces of this story on TV. It sure made the newpapers when it was going on.

Trials and Tribulations
Published in Hardcover by Grove Press (1985)
Authors: William Kunster and William Moses Kunstler
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