Edward Larson. Harper Collins, New York, 1997.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1998, this is a wonderful in-depth account of the Scopes trial and Americas continuing debate over science and religion in the context of the clash between evolution and creationism. The research is meticulous and the writing lucid. This book reveals a great deal about the background and details of the “monkey trial” that you might not know, including the behind-the scenes strategizing of the lawyers, and a detailed analysis of the public impact of the trial. Larson, whose two specialities are constitutional law and the history of science, does a great job of highlighting the larger issues which this case encapsulates, particularly its impact on the teaching of evolution in high school classrooms in the United States. His book presents a vivid picture of an event that marked a watershed in our public discussion of science and religion.