Mark S. Weiner

Black Trials

Winner of the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award
Finalist for the Connecticut Book Award

This book is the best of its kind—a serious, deeply felt reflection on the weight of history on contemporary affairs.”
Publishers Weekly

Riveting. … Weiner’s skillful writing mixes tough analysis with a novelistic evocation of the human drama of the cases he covers.”
Choice Reviews

Thorough and provocative. … The author begins each chapter with a passage that one might find in a historical novel.”
Kirkus Reviews

A very impressive and important work.” —Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School, MacArthur Fellow, writing in The American Historical Review

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Provocativepainstakinggripping … harkens back to Ray Stannard Baker’s 1908 classic Following the Color Line: An Account of Negro Citizenship in the American Democracy and Judith N. Shklar’s 1991 American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion and may come to rank with both.”—Thomas J. Davis, Library Journal

Get it, love it, live it—it will bless your life.”Palooke’s world

“Weiner is a very accomplished narrative historian. He writes clearly and gracefully, and with a novelist’s eye. His artistry makes the great race trials of the past come alive and brings the reader directly into the historical scene.” —Robert W. Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale University

An impressive work. Richly detailed and beautifully written.”
Journal of American Ethnic History

Lively and enlightening. … Weiner’s book rises above most scholarly efforts because of his gift for storytelling. … Highly accessible and fascinating.”
The American Lawyer

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“The choices that Weiner makes in framing black history reveal not a little bravery of the intellectual variety. … He is excellent at spinning these yarns. He creates genuine drama.” —Justin Driver, The New Republic

The characters leap off his pages, and the reader has a vivid sense of the legal and cultural milieu that framed each case. One needs no previous knowledge of the specific cases to access the book. … A fresh cultural critic with an important new voice on what it means to be an American.”
The Washington Post Book World

“From the annals of our judiciary and the shards of human lives, Mark Weiner recreates more knowingly and vividly than anyone the evolving experience of blacks before the law, the experience that has compelled us to reexamine again and again what it is to be a citizen.” —William E. Nelson, Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law, NYU

Black Trials performs the extraordinary feat of being both a compelling read for a general audience and a significant contribution to scholarship. By bringing alive fascinating legal cases involving black Americans, Weiner shows how real racial progress has been won—but also how African-Americans are still not a ‘people of law’ like all others.” —Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

I discuss the main themes and literary structure of the book in this talk, which I gave in 2005 as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Lecture at the Maxwell School of Public and International Affairs, Syracuse University.

Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, Powell’s, and local booksellers near you.

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