Illusive Shadows: Justice, Media, and Socially Significant American Trials (Google eBook)

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Lloyd Chiasson
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 227 pages
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Trials are the stuff of news. That rare moment when justice, or a reasonable facsimile, is meted out. And what offers up more high drama, or melodrama, than a highly publicized trial? Most news events live short life spans. They happen; they are reported; they are quickly forgotten. As Chiasson and his contributors make clear, a trial often is a lingering, living thing that builds in tension. It is, every once in a long while, a modern Shakespearean drama with a twist: The audience becomes members of the cast because, every once in a long while, society finds itself the defendant. Trials can have lasting importance beyond how the public perceives them. A trial can have long-reaching significance if it changes the way people think, or how institutions function, or shapes public opinion. Ten such American trials covering a span of 307 years are covered here. In each, the sociological underpinnings of events often has greater significance than either the crime or the trial. The ten trials included are the Salem witch trials, the Amistad trial, the Sioux Indian Uprising trials, the Ed Johnson/Sheriff Shipp trial, the Big Bill Haywood trial, the Ossian Sweet trial, the Clay Shaw trial, the Manuel Noriega trial, and the Matthew Shepard trial. While the book is about ten crimes, the subsequent trials, and the media coverage of each, it is also a book about witchcraft, about religion, slavery, and radicalism. It paints portraits of a racist America, a capitalistic America, an anarchist America. It relates compelling tales of compassion, greed, stupidity, and hate beginning in 17th-century colonial times and ending in present-day America. In many ways, it is the story of America.
  

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Contents

THE CASE OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS 1692
1
THE CASE OF THE AMISTAD MUTINY 18391840
23
THE CASE OF THE SIOUX UPRISINGS 1862
45
THE CASE OF ED JOHNSON 1906
63
THE CASE OF BIG BILL HAYWOOD 1907
79
THE CASE OF SACCO AND VANZETTI 1921
99
THE CASE OF OSSIAN SWEET 19251926
121
THE CASE OF CLAY SHAW 1967
139
THE CASE OF MANUEL NORIEGA 19911992
161
THE CASE OF MATTHEW SHEPARD 1999
183
THE SUMMATION
201
BIBLIOGRAPHY
207
INDEX
215
ABOUT THE EDITOR AND CONTRIBUTORS
225
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

LLOYD CHIASSON JR. is Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Nicholls State University. Among his earlier publications are The Press in Times of Crisis (Greenwood Press, 1995) and The Press on Trial (Greenwood Press, 1997).

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