Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Father and Atticus Finch

My Father and Atticus Finch: A Lawyer's Fight for Justice in 1930s Alabama. Joseph Madison Beck. 2016. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Judge W.L. Parks began the telephone call to Foster Beck with the customary courtesies, asking first after his father, then about his law practice. Other questions too: about the dry spell, fishing conditions. Finally, in his own good time, the judge said what he was calling about, the rape case there in Troy.

Premise/plot: Was the trial in To Kill A Mockingbird based on a real case? Perhaps. In 1938, Foster Beck defended a black man, Charles White, accused of raping a white girl, Elizabeth Liger. Though he did his best and there was no clear evidence of rape--or attempted rape--he lost his case. My Father and Atticus Finch chronicles the case and provides a behind the scenes glimpse of Southern life in the late 1930s.

My thoughts: This nonfiction book was fascinating. I have loved To Kill a Mockingbird for most of my life, and I did find quite a few similarities. While there is no "proof" that the book was based upon this exact case, if you are drawn into the story of To Kill A Mockingbird, there's a good chance this real-life case will do the same. It is intense and at times heartbreaking.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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