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Philadelphia Freedom: Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer [Hardcover]

David Kairys
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2008
A memoir that is also a compelling page-turner, "Philadelphia Freedom" is the poignant, informative, often inspiring account of renowned civil-rights lawyer David Kairys' personal quest for achieving social justice during the turbulent 1960s and 70s."Philadelphia Freedom" brings us intimately and directly into Kairys' burgeoning law career and the struggles of the 60s as his professional and private life navigated the turmoil and promise of the civil rights and antiwar movements.Many of the cases Kairys took on involved discrimination and equal protection, freedom of speech, and government malfeasance. Kairys is perhaps most well known for his victory in the Camden 28 draft board case, in which the FBI set up a sting of the Catholic anti-war left at the behest of the highest levels of government.The stories and cases range from nationally important and recognizable - the family of the scientist the CIA unwittingly gave LSD in the 1950s; the leading race discrimination case against the FBI; Dr. Benjamin Spock's First Amendment case before the Supreme Court; the city handgun lawsuits Kairys conceived - to those he encountered in his early work as a public defender. The characters include public figures such as FBI Directors J. Edgar Hoover and Louis Freeh; CIA Director William Colby; Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter; New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer; U.S. Attorneys General Edward Levi and John Mitchell; Georgia Governor Lester Maddox; Pennsylvania Governor, former Philadelphia Mayor and Democratic National Committee chair Ed Rendell; Philadelphia Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo. But some of the most memorable are not well known, involving regular people caught up in the often heartless machinery of the courts and legal system.Though it reads like a novel, with all the elements of character, plot, and suspense, "Philadelphia Freedom" also has historical significance as a firsthand account of the 1960s and 70s and contains social commentary about race as well as insights and major perspectives on the nature and social role of law.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The University of Michigan Press (15 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047211638X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472116386
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

About the Author

David Kairys is Professor of Law at Beasley School of Law, Temple University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A memoir but also a sociological work 23 July 2009
This book is an unusual memoir because it contains deeply sociological reflections. David Kairys asks himself those questions that socio-legal scholars often ask lawyers--why did you choose to do what you do in your work? Was it something in your experience or socio-economic background? Kairys reflects on this issue, and also takes us down the path of a highly successful career. Apart from some landmark cases, he connected with the critical legal movement and helped give it a prominent place in legal philosophy with his well known book "The Politics of Law". In fact, anybody interested in politics and law/lawyering will find this book a great read.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories, Great Creativity 30 Dec 2009
By Duprestars - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing collection of true stories about a young lawyer seeking justice. Lots of lawyer books are war stories which feature the lawyer's own version of their brilliant ideas and actions. This one is different. The stories themselves are entertaining, but more than that they show a person trying to find their way in the maze of the legal system. The result is a series of episodes showing how creativity in problem-solving in the legal system can unfold. Good read for people interested in stories, or people interested in law and justice, or people interested in how people face obstacles and overcome them.
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