Run, Brother, Run

David Berg. Scribner, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1563-6
In this dark, engaging memoir, renowned lawyer Berg examines his troubled family and the catastrophic shock of his older brother Alan’s murder in 1968. After their parents’ divorce, Berg and his brother bounced between their parents, finally settling in Houston with the father, an unscrupulous carpet salesman. Under intense pressure to become doctors, Berg found himself drawn to the law, while Alan became a conniving businessman, and then an unsuccessful gambler. Alan’s underworld troubles led to his murder at the hands of Charles Harrelson, a contract killer (and the father of the actor Woody Harrelson). Berg writes with brio, vividly sketching the roughhouse atmosphere of oil-boom Houston in the 1960s, and the obstacles that faced a pair of liberal, Jewish brothers in the segregated South. While he is often funny, and rarely politically correct, Berg also delivers a complex take on family dynamics and the ways in which intelligent people can be deceived. A recreation of Harrelson’s trial occupies the last quarter of the book, and Berg’s legal expertise provides unusual insight into the strange pathways by which the truth is buried and then found. Intriguing characters from shady lawyers to midget mobsters ornament the narrative, and a young congressman by the name of George H.W. Bush makes a winning guest appearance.(June)
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
Release date: 06/11/2013
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