instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Great American Trials

Editor: Edward W. Knappman. Contributing Authors: Stephen G. Christianson, Kathryn Cullen-DuPont, Teddi DiCanio, Colin Evans, Elizabeth Gwillim, Bernard Ryan, Jr., and Thomas C. Smith.


Great American Trials provides an abundance of information on the most significant and celebrated trials in U.S. history, from 1937 through the early 1990s. Included are brief and accurate summaries of trials known for their historic or legal significance, political controversy, public attention, legal ingenuity, or literary fame. Great American Trials covers a broad scope of trials, including:

- Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692)
- Dred Scott Trial (1856)
- Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial (1911)
- Teapot Dome Trials (1926)
- Alger Hiss Trials (1949-50)
- U.S. v. Hoffa (1964)
- Charles Manson Trial (1970-71)
- Roe v. Wade (1973)
- In the Matter of Baby M (1987)
- The William Kennedy Smith Trial (1991)
- and many more--200 courtroom cases in all

Each trial begins with the facts--setting up the key players, the charges, and site of the trial--and continues with a narrative that explains the circumstances that led to the trial, pre-trial maneuvers, the trial itself, the judgment, appeals (if any), and any subsequent implications of the trial.

A march in memory of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire victims. Illustration from Great American Trials, courtesy Library of Congress.