Gideon`s trumpet



Gideon`strumpet Review

Gideon`strumpet by AnthonyLewis

Publishedby Vintage Publishers on April 23, 1964

Thebook has 288 pages

Thebook “” by Antony Lewis is a comprehensiveaccount of the search for justice by James Earl Gideon as it unveiledin the case Gideonv. Wainwright.The main purpose of the author, AnthonyLewis is to provide a history of the landmark case by giving anaccount of the process of seeking legal counsel as taken by Gideon.While the book has no specific audience, the author seeks to describethe process of appealing to the Supreme Court in a manner thateveryone will understand. This review seeks to present major aspectsof the book as described by the author and express opinion on thebook.

Thebook is organized into fourteen chapters and an epilogue to concludethe account of the historic ruling. Lewis opens his account bydescribing the claim by Gideon to the Supreme Court as the start ofhis fight for legal rights to counsel. In the petition, the authorpresents the petition of Gideon informa pauperisas the manner that he adopted. For instance, Lewis describes theconcept of informa pauperis.According to Lewis (1964), informa pauperisis a manner of petition that exempts the plaintiff from paying thefees that are associated with the court petition. According to Lewis(1964), this allowance is less used. Lewis states “Twenty fiveyears ago, fewer than one hundred informa pauperiscases were filed each term” (Lewis, 1964, p36).

Inaddition, Lewis (1964) explains rule 53 of the court that allowedGideon to petition just one copy instead of the required forty. Inthe preceding chapters, Lewis describes the institution of the courtby exploring the rules, and guidelines followed in relation to casesand petitions. Lewis describes all the relevant topics of the courtprocess as they relate to the case of Gideonv. Wainwrightand as they are relevant to the petition. For instance, Lewis furtherdescribes the appointment of Abe Fortas, a highly qualifiedprofessional as the counsel for Gideon. Lewis states that, “AbeFortas of Washington D.C…is hereby appointed as the counsel for thepetitioner case” (Lewis, 1964, p51).

Tocomplete the course of his purpose, Lewis describes how the petitionwas carried out and the declaration by the court. By reviewingGideon’s original trial, Lewis puts all the situations andcircumstances of the petition into the perspective of the audience.Lewis further goes to examine the cases that relate to the Gideon’scase. For instance, Lewis reviews cases Johnsonv. Zerbstand Bettsv. Bradyin order to present an objective view of the case in hand (Lewis,1964). It is through the description that Lewis gives an account ofthe decision of the court to rule that defendants in criminal caseshave a legal right to a counsel despite their inability to afford.

Throughthe extensive account, Lewis achieved his purpose as an author bypresenting all the aspects of the case at hand. The book was writtenin an understandable style and a non-technical perspective for thereaders to comprehend. In particular, presenting the history, thecontext and the conflict of the original case, Lewis sets a clearstage of understanding the processes that lead to Supreme Courtdecisions. In an agreement with the Lewis, the petition of Gideon wasa historical in giving precedence to similar cases. Therefore, Iwould recommend the book to law professionals and people who workwith the contexts of legal practice.


Lewis,A. (1964). Gideon’sTrumpet.New York: VintageBooks Publishers

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