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Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion
EDWARD J. LARSON

Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion by Edward J. Larson
65 reviews (1997) (344p)
Pulitzer Prize for History Winner

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Book Description
In the summer of 1925, the sleepy hamlet of Dayton, Tennessee, became the unlikely setting for one of our century's most contentious dramas: the Scopes trial and the ensuing debate over science, religion, and their place in education. Pairing archival material with the author's keen legal and historical analysis, this book provides a fresh interpretation of this pivotal event in American history.


Amazon.com Review
If you haven't seen the film version of Inherit the Wind, you might have read it in high school. And even people who have never heard of either the movie or the play probably know something about the events that inspired them: The 1925 Scopes "monkey trial," during which Darwin's theory of evolution was essentially put on trial before the nation. Inherit the Wind paints a romantic picture of John Scopes as a principled biology teacher driven to present scientific theory to his students, even in the teeth of a Tennessee state law prohibiting the teaching of anything other than creationism. The truth, it turns out, was something quite different. In his fascinating history of the Scopes trial, Summer for the Gods, Edward J. Larson makes it abundantly clear that Truth and the Purity of Science had very little to do with the Scopes case. Tennessee had passed a law prohibiting the teaching of evolution, and the American Civil Liberties Union responded by advertising statewide for a high-school teacher willing to defy the law. Communities all across Tennessee saw an opportunity to put themselves on the map by hosting such a controversial trial, but it was the town of Dayton that came up with a sacrificial victim: John Scopes, a man who knew little about evolution and wasn't even the class's regular teacher. Chosen by the city fathers, Scopes obligingly broke the law and was carted off to jail to await trial.

What happened next was a bizarre mix of theatrics and law, enacted by William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense. Though Darrow lost the trial, he made his point--and his career--by calling Bryan, a noted Bible expert, as a witness for the defense. Summer for the Gods is a remarkable retelling of the trial and the events leading up to it, proof positive that truth is stranger than science.


Edward J. Larson Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 1 Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion ·  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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