Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law

Taking the Stand My Life in the Law America s most prominent legal mind and the bestselling author of Chutzpah and The Best Defense Alan Dershowitz recounts his legal autobiography describing how he came to the law as well as the

  • Title: Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law
  • Author: Alan M. Dershowitz
  • ISBN: 9780307719270
  • Page: 483
  • Format: Hardcover
  • America s most prominent legal mind and the 1 bestselling author of Chutzpah and The Best Defense , Alan Dershowitz, recounts his legal autobiography, describing how he came to the law, as well as the cases that have changed American jurisprudence over the past 50 years, most of which he has personally been involved in In Taking the Stand, Dershowitz reveals the evolAmerica s most prominent legal mind and the 1 bestselling author of Chutzpah and The Best Defense, Alan Dershowitz, recounts his legal autobiography, describing how he came to the law, as well as the cases that have changed American jurisprudence over the past 50 years, most of which he has personally been involved in.In Taking the Stand, Dershowitz reveals the evolution of his own thinking on such fundamental issues as censorship and the First Amendment, Civil Rights, Abortion, homocide and the increasing role that science plays in a legal defense Alan Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University, and the author of such acclaimed bestsellers as Chutzpah, The Best Defense, and Reversal of Fortune, for the first time recounts his legal biography, describing his struggles academically at Yeshiva High School growning up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, his successes at Yale, clerking for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, his appointment to full professor at the Harvard at age 28, the youngest in the school s history Dershowitz went on to work on many of the most celebrated cases in the land, from appealing successfully Claus Von Bulow s conviction for the murder of his wife Sunny, to the O.J Simpson trial, to defending Mike Tyson, Leona Helmsley, Patty Hearst, and countless others He is currently part of the legal team advising Julian Assange.

    One thought on “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law”

    1. This book is not so much a biography as a concise re-telling of Mr. Dershowitz' most famous legal cases and clients wrapped up in personal reflection. There are the obligatory stories of youth, family and his life pre-law, but they take a backseat to the story of the evolving legal system in America over the past 50 years. Of course, Mr. Dershowitz was there at most every ground-breaking ruling, even comparing himself to Woody Allen's character Zelig. His stand on human rights has even put him o [...]

    2. In his introduction to this memoir, Alan Dershowitz declares: "My commitment to full disclosure requires that I not hide behind the distorting shield of feigned humility." Rarely has a commitment been so thoroughly honored. This book is a cornucopia of name-dropping and bows in the mirror.That said, it's also a fascinating account of a great many incidents and issues of importance to the legal and political history of the last half-century. It's hard to be certain, but I would guess that many of [...]

    3. For those interested in the legal field, just imagine if you could become an esteemed law professor at Harvard while at the same time work as an attorney with celebrity clients in some of the most interesting areas of the law in the last 50 years. That is the true life of Alan Dershowitz. What makes his book interesting is his supposed near photographic memory, which helps him tell tales from his past in amazing detail.First of all, he was an average student throughout childhood until he entered [...]

    4. Taking the Stand is part memoir, part popular law (and other leading issues) book. The combination is natural: Dershowitz’s adult life has been devoted to various causes and legal issues. After a delightful set of opening chapters detailing his early life and transition from unruly high school C student to nonconformist college and law school A+ student. From there Dershowitz moves away from a chronological approach, instead dividing the rest of the books among the various legal issues and cau [...]

    5. I listened to this on CD. Dershowitz reads the preface and epilogue and his daughter reads the main body of the book (18 discs). She is okay – a bit overly emotive. He is definitely over-emotive to the point of it sounding like a bad play, but it is his story and it works.This is Alan Derschowitz’s memoir. I liked the story of his growing up in Brooklyn in an orthodox Jewish family. He was considered a poor student and a difficult child and was not admitted to Yeshiva University. Instead he [...]

    6. If this hadn't just been sitting around I am not sure I would have ever read this. Prior to this, I thought of Alan Dershowitz mainly as a criminal defense lawyer as his most high profile cases usually involved celebrities (O.J Claus Von Bulow and Mike Tyson). What I was not aware of was that he was mainly a Harvard professor who took many pro bono cases on behalf of death row defendants, free speech, human rights or any other defendants who seemed to be wrongly convicted based on either DA cove [...]

    7. Somewhat rambling and littered with frequent gratuitous name dropping of Dersh's experiences representing celebrities running the gamut from OJ Simpson to Leona Helmsly. The book suffers from a certain ADHD, loosely structured around the areas of Dershowitz's advocacy--the First Amendment, criminal defense, and later on Zionism--the narrative gets bogged down like a law bog with small stories that leave the reader struggling to remember all the different anecdotes. The strength of the book is th [...]

    8. Alan Dershowitz has managed to produce 546 pages of tedious self-justification in this autobiography, turning what should be a fascinating account of an important life into a boring succession of chip on his shoulder anecdotes and score settling jeremiads against those he sees as his enemies. Full review coming in a couple of days.

    9. A few years ago I got in a facebook discussion with a friend, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who had warned her liberal friends not to underestimate Ted Cruz. When one of them popped up to call Cruz a moron, she reminded them that Dershowitz had called Cruz one of the most brilliant students he had ever had. Well, they countered, that must mean Dershowitz can't tell the difference between intelligence and just memorizing the material. And that was the end of the discussion, because clearly th [...]

    10. It’s an autobiography of a lawyer who has been in the middle of a ton of fascinating cases, so it’s exciting. But it’s too long and Dershowitz indulges in way too much name-dropping, some of which is unavoidable in telling his story—he’s represented some big names—but most of which are included as superfluous asides.He’s become a polarizing figure because he speaks and writes like an aggressive lawyer—advocating fiercely, especially regarding rights for criminal defendants and in [...]

    11. Until I read this book, I only knew "the Dersh Character" garrulous, disputatious, aggressive law professor whom I had been seeing for 30 years on television talk shows. The substance was probably always good but style was grating on the nerves. This book introduces "the real Alan"- thoughtful, shy and who claims to be a "pushover" in private life. Hard to imagine! But that's how Mr. Dershowitz talks about his public and private personas.This book is written by one of the most brilliant legal mi [...]

    12. Good content but I just listened to the audiobook via audibleAudiobook isn't that great because its his daughter narrating it. So like, its Alan talking about his parents but then its actually his daughter talking. So I get kinda confused on long drives or during cardio because I keep thinking its her talking about HER parents but it's actually Alan talking about HIS parents. Just real confusing having his daughter narrate his book. Would not suggest it.At least she tried though. You can tell by [...]

    13. I did not finish this book. I was reading it for my book group, but found it to be one of the worst books I have ever tried to read. To be honest I was listening to the audio book which was part of the problem. The book is written in the first person that of Mr. Dershowitz, a male, but is read by his daughter, a female. I found this distracting to hear a woman saying, "I" when it was clearly a man speaking. She did not lend any credibility to the telling of this book. I have listened to many boo [...]

    14. An enjoyable and fascinating read. It's one of those books that makes you feel smarter (however undeserved) for having read it and engaged with its arguments. Dershowitz has lived an amazing life. My admiration is probably aided by the fact that, ideologically and legally, I generally agree with him.I think what led me to give this four, rather than five, stars was the feeling that, rather than an unvarnished look back at his life, that this was the story that Dershowitz tells himself about hims [...]

    15. This book kept reminding me of the saying, "It ain't bragging if you really done it." Inspiring to find out that someone who was a C-minus student at a not-terribly-competitive high school at age 15 could excel in college, graduate from Yale Law as valedictorian, clerk for a Supreme Court justice, and join the Harvard faculty by age 25. (The secret? Find someplace that doesn't mind people who question authority.)This essay collection is somewhat scattershot, but Dershowitz has written so many bo [...]

    16. "Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law" by Dershowitz is a great autobiography. Prior to reading this book, I didn't know very much at all about Dershowitz. I was inspired to read this book based on some off-hand comments that I saw him make on a news program. I was intrigued by his arguments and wanted to learn more about him. This book, I believe, is a definitive understanding of his life and his long career in the legal world. In fact, his career seems to be intertwined with the last half cent [...]

    17. Alan Dershowitz is known for his high profile celebrity cases. This book discusses many more of his cases,which he chose not because he believed his client's innocence, but because of his strong belief in the his duty to his own beliefs. He is primarily an appellate lawyer, one who works on case appeals. His ideals and convictions regarding the death penalty (against) and the first amendment rights of free speech (strongly in favor) are the factors in his choice of cases. He tells his story with [...]

    18. Alan Dershowitz is one of our nation's most prominent and brilliant legal minds (and I suspect he would be the first to agree!). Here Professor Dershowitz has compiled his autobiography, although it reads more like an oversized curriculum vitae. Still, for a layperson, it is fascinating to me to read his robust take on constitutional law, as he deconstructs and interprets the first amendment, its meaning in modern society, and the balance between rights, obligations and responsibility inherent t [...]

    19. I've seen Alan on TV and I thought he was an idiot. But after reading this book I've had to change my mind. Yes he wangs on about how great he is at times.l old people do this. So I spent the first half of the book trying to work out whether Alan is in fact a deluded psycho. But he managed to convince me that he is not. He is passionate about his subject and his results have flowed from that. I could have read a bit more actually. I'm going to read it again next year.So I will form a more comple [...]

    20. I would really give a 3.5 if I could. Some interesting stories about an interesting man living an interesting life. Downside is Alan's ego sometimes gets in way or just stands out too much. In his telling, of his accomplishments just retold without a trace of polite subtlety or objective, but it is a autobiography, and it is Alan. Upside is Alan is thoughtful on many subjects dealing with law, and he does tell some inside stories of some the biggest celebrities of the last 30 years.

    21. A rare liberal that, although I disagree with him on many/most things, I can respect. Lots of name dropping, ego and somewhat repetitive (for example, every time he mentions his support of Israel, he feels compelled to add that he opposes West Bank settlements; probably at least a dozen times). Last section of the book, where he discusses legal issues is not very enlightening. Still, an interesting life in the law.

    22. Listened to this on audio tape and agree with others who found his daughter's reading distracting and confusing. Was most shocked with her mispronunciation of certain Yiddish and Hebrew words! Does nobody review a tape after it's been recorded? Found the parts about his personal life quite interesting and entertaining, but some parts have way too much detail about the specific fine points of certain legal issues. Enjoyed most of the book though.

    23. Very intersting. A study of the last 50 years in jurisprudance or lack thereof's book reminds me of the old J. Cash song "I've been everywhere man,"My only complaint is that after his adolesance he only tells us of the his ups. Even his son's bout with a brain illness turns into an AD win. This isn't unusual in an autobio. but come on

    24. A fascinating but very self-serving book. Dershowitz has been involved in one way or another with many of the most famous trials of the 20th and 21st century. He recounts some of those along with his life as a law professor, some insights into his family life, and much of his philosophy and principles. An intriguing man.

    25. I really wanted to read this book. I did it on audio, as I do most books. And I just could not get thru it. The reader is Dershowitz's daughter and she reads everything with an arrogant tone that I just found insufferable and incredibly boring. This book might be one that is better read on paper than on audio.

    26. Boring details and lengthy as he goes thru a litany of details. Of Jewish interest. He is, however quite intelligent and well rounded culturally. He has consulted with many heads of State and represented some very high profile clients with success.

    27. Amazing. So many good stories, anecdotes (story about his run-in with Bobby Fischer is awesome), cases he worked on. Really great read.

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