A Scopes trial review

Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy has a review of the 1997 book, Summer of the Gods, the real history of the Scopes trial (via Althouse). The review features the main points of the book, and if you haven't read the book itself, it is a good starter with some interesting details.

Here's one:

The confrontation between Darrow and Bryan was Darrow's idea. Darrow was permitted to put on live witnesses who were experts in the Bible, and Darrow came up with the clever idea of calling William Jennings Bryan as a Bible expert. It was basically a stunt, as Bryan was acting as one of the prosecutors and could have simply declined. But Darrow accurately predicted that Bryan would be too proud to turn down the opportunity to testify as a Bible exoert. Darrow then proceeded to grill Bryan about the meaning of the Bible for two hours. Following Bryan's testimony, the trial judge changed his mind and decided that all of the evidence offered by Darrow for the appellate record was irrelevant. He had all of that evidence (including Bryan's testimony) stricken from the record.

It's not exactly "Inherit the Wind", once you know the whole story. And despite the publicity of the trial itself, the technical legal elements were all that decided the case, both at the trial and appellate levels. The interesting part is always the social and not the legal, but in the study of legal precedents for evolution in education, the Scopes trial was nothing but sloppy.