HISTORY ON TRIAL: My Day in Court with David Irving

Deborah E. Lipstadt, Author , intro. by Anthony Lewis, afterword by Alan Dershowitz. Ecco $25.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-06-059376-6

In a much-publicized case, David Irving, the author of numerous books about WWII, sued Emory University historian Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin, for libel. Lipstadt had called Irving a Holocaust denier in a book about the Holocaust denial movement, and Britain's libel laws put the burden of proof on her to show that the charge was true. Did that mean proving the Holocaust had happened? Was Lipstadt, as Irving claimed, trying to restrict his freedom of speech, or was he restraining hers? Was the courtroom the proper place to examine historical truth? The press hotly debated these issues, but as Lipstadt relates in this powerful account, she and her adept lawyers felt they simply had to discredit a man who had said that "no documents whatsoever show that a Holocaust had ever happened." In 2000, Judge Charles Gray decided in Lipstadt's favor, finding it "incontrovertible" that Irving was a Holocaust denier. The drama of the book lies in the courtroom confrontations between an evasive and self-contradictory Irving (serving as his own lawyer) and Lipstadt's strategically brilliant barrister, Richard Rampton, and the scholars who testified in her defense. Lipstadt herself is a reluctant heroine, a feisty, outspoken woman forced to remain silent (she did not testify in court) and let her lawyers speak for her. No one who cares about historical truth, freedom of speech or the Holocaust will avoid a sense of triumph from Gray's decision—or a sense of dismay that British libel laws allowed such intimidation by Irving of a historian and a publisher in the first place. Agent, Gary Morris. (Feb. 4)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 400 pages - 978-0-06-192846-8
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-192849-9
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-192843-7
Paperback - 346 pages - 978-0-06-059377-3
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