Gene Lyons
November 01, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense

Current Status
In Season
James Willwerth, Lawrence Schiller
Random House
Nonfiction, Biography, , Politics and Current Events

We gave it an A-

Yes, there’s yet another Very Big Book about the Simpson trial, and surprisingly enough, American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense is a stunner. Having collaborated with Simpson on the book I Want to Tell You, Schiller had intimate access to the defense team’s strategies almost from the first. No matter what you believe about the celebrated case, there’s an eye-opening revelation every few pages. Did you know, for example, that O.J. failed a defense-administered lie-detector test by a huge margin? That defense lawyers removed photos of Simpson posed with an array of white women before the jury visited his home, and substituted photos of his mother and the Norman Rockwell painting of a black child being escorted to school by federal marshals? Were you aware, on the other hand, that the defense had powerful circumstantial evidence that police had entered Simpson’s Bronco before it was towed? Nothing fancy here, just straight-ahead, freight-train narrative. What do the authors conclude? They appear to agree with defense lawyer Barry Scheck that ”either somebody tampered with a whole lot of that blood evidence, or Simpson committed the murders…. Of course, simple logic indicated that both possibilities could be true.” American Tragedy is a fascinating page-turner either way you look at it. A-

You May Like