Monday, December 17, 2007

Who Says A Civil Trial Lacks Drama?

Something different to end today's posts. The Boston Globe published an interview with D. Graham Burnett under the rather startling headline of Blowing the status quo out of the water. So who is D. Graham Burnett? Well, he just wrote a book which the Boston Globe describes like this:

In 1818, in a New York City courtroom, the case of Maurice v. Judd posed an apparently straightforward question: Was whale oil fish oil, and therefore subject to state inspection and taxation? As expert witnesses testified, however, the trial quickly became a passionate public debate on the order of nature and the supremacy of man. In the fascinating "Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case That Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature" (Princeton University, $29.95), D. Graham Burnett describes the trial, its undercurrents, and its repercussions with sublime wit and consummate skill....