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Summer for the Gods

The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion

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In the summer of 1925, the sleepy hamlet of Dayton, Tennessee, became the setting for one of the 20th century’s most contentious dramas: the Scopes trial that pit William Jennings Bryan and the anti-Darwinists against a teacher named John Scopes into a famous debate over science, religion, and their place in public education That trial marked the start of a battle that continues to this day-in Dover, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Cobb County, Georgia, and many other cities and states throughout the country. Edward Larson’s classic, Summer for the Gods, received the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1998 and is the single most authoritative account of a pivotal event whose combatants remain at odds in school districts and courtrooms. For this edition, Larson has added a new preface that assesses the state of the battle between creationism and evolution, and points the way to how it might potentially be resolved.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 02, 1997 – The 1925 Scopes trial involving the teaching of evolution has been shaped in current consciousness largely by Frederick Lewis Allen's 1931 book Only Yesterday and the 1960 film Inherit the Wind, based on a Broadway play. Larson explains in this intriguing, lucid history that both sources contained faulty information: the book inaccurately presented fundamentalism as a vanquished foe, while the film--more a response to McCarthyism than a reconstruction of the trial--inaccurately portrayed the teacher on trial as a victim of a thoughtless mob and the prosecutor, based closely on real-life prosecutor William Jennings Bryan, as a product of that mob. The reality was more complex, reveals Larson. Bryan was both an economic progressive and Christian anti-evolutionist. The American Civil Liberties Union actively campaigned for a plaintiff in a test case, and John Scopes saw the case as a lark. Defense lawyer Clarence Darrow cared less about the ACLU agenda--free speech and academic freedom--than about jousting over the Bible and besting Bryan in court. Though Scopes was found guilty, the judge imposed a minimum fine and the Tennessee Supreme Court managed to overturn the conviction without invalidating the law. Larson, who teaches history and law at the University of Georgia, has ably put the trial--and its antecedents and aftermath--in appropriate context. Illustrations.
Summer for the Gods
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  • $11.99
  • Level: Grades 13 and Above
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Law
  • Published: Oct 03, 2006
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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