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A legal scholar offers the general public a fast-paced tour of the American 20th century that began and ended with acts of terrorism and periodically erupted in-between with forceful protest movements and no-holds-barred efforts to suppress changes in the power structure—all seen through the prism of dozens of highly polarizing “trials of the century” from 1901 to 1999 that provide deep insights into today’s growing class antagonism and the 2012 presidential race. The book features unions in pitched battles with management; “100%” Americans aroused against “hyphenated Americans;” white supremacists defending their turf; hawks versus pacifists; minorities and women demanding their place at the table; the have-nots against the richest one per cent. This highly entertaining journey takes readers to the 1907 Idaho murder trial of 8-hour day champion Big Bill Haywood that prompted laborers to march by the tens of thousands in the streets of Boston and Manhattan; Clarence Darrow’s stirring defense in 1925 of black homeowners in Detroit besieged by the KKK bent on protecting whites-only neighborhoods; the 1969-70 Chicago Seven spectacle with the whole world watching anti-war activists mocking the establishment and Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale (the original eighth, and only nonwhite, defendant) bound and gagged; the controversial prosecution in 1987 of subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz; and the trials of two homegrown terrorists for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in revenge for the federal government’s siege of a survivalist compound in Waco, Texas. Each headline trial serves as a window into its own era, but the author asserts that the 1968 murder trial of Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton should head the list. Following a shootout with two Oakland policemen, the accused revolutionary put America itself on trial for 400 years of racism and economic exploitation. That spectacularly dramatic death penalty trial featured three then rarities: a woman defense lawyer sitting second chair; a female majority on the jury and a black foreman. The trial drew an international spotlight on a superpower bitterly divided over the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement and rocked by the assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy. By the summer of 1968, the FBI considered the Black Panthers the greatest internal threat to America’s security. J. Edgar Hoover particularly feared the allure of the Party’s signature breakfast program feeding inner city children, following on the heels of the late Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign. Newton had already become an icon of the Left challenging racism, capitalism and an increasingly unpopular foreign war. Many radicals saw him as the vanguard of a second American revolution. All the major power struggles based on race, class, gender and ideology played a pivotal role in one extraordinarily high stakes trial. Panther Party spokesman Eldridge Cleaver predicted warfare in city streets across America if Newton faced execution. The author contends that the surprising verdict of the diverse jury with Newton’s life in their hands still reverberates today—had it turned out otherwise Barack Obama would likely not be President.