In 1966 in small-town Louisiana, a 19-year-old Black man named Gary Duncan tried to stop a fight and was arrested for the "crime" of putting his hand on the arm of a white child. Rather than accepting his fate, Duncan found Richard Sobol, a young lawyer at a radical New Orleans law firm that ultimately won justice for its client with a court decision that meaningfully changed the law.
Van Meter masterfully traces the career of aspiring Jewish corporate lawyer Richard Sobol ... A seminal work of impeccable scholarship. Recommended to all working in the intersections of law, criminal justice, and social activism, along with readers of African American history and Southern history.
In this well-researched account, Van Meter presents a court case that changed the course of social injustice in the South ... Based on first-person interviews and records, Van Meter’s narrative and characters come alive to illustrate a pivotal time in American justice. The extraordinary details he gleans from his research immerse readers in the climate and culture of the era. Readers drawn to Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy (2014) will find this book a similarly engaging reminder that the justice system is ever-evolving.
... [an] excellent debut ... Van Meter makes great use of interviews and oral histories to bring the case’s major players to life, and readers will be struck by how many of the issues involved—voter suppression, public funding for private schools, racial inequalities in the criminal justice system—are still being legislated today. This deeply researched and vividly written chronicle is the definitive account of one of the civil rights movement’s most unheralded victories.