The Trial – Reviews

My last book, The Trial: A History from Socrates to O.J. Simpson, was shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for its 2005 Gold Dagger Award for Non-Fiction – but it lost. Most reviews, as extracted below, were favourable, and they’re archived at my clunky website If you’re the kind who thrives on negativity, you might prefer the annoying New York Times review here or the slightly crazed Orlando Sentinel one here. Electronic versions of the book are available in all the usual places; hard copies seem a little harder to get hold of these days, but you can certainly order them from the British Amazon site here. 


“traces the development of the criminal trial . . . with verve, intelligence, humour and clarity . . . An impressive performance” – The Times (London)

“Kadri has a story-teller’s eye for lively detail” – Newsweek

“amusing, colourful and anecdotal . . . a real achievement” – The Guardian

“a colorful work of popular history . . . pleasurable and instructive” – Wall Street Journal

“The Trial is a sweeping triumph, a delight for anyone interested in law and justice” – Baltimore Sun

“an imaginative cornucopia of legal history, displayed by a deft and engaging writer” – The Washington Lawyer

“philosophical and witty” – The Boston Globe

“Kadri’s wide historical lens allows him to show how the flaws of the past stubbornly crop up in the present” – The Washington Post

“a timely book. Kadri makes clear how long it has taken to arrive at this supposedly high point in judicial history and consequently fires a warning shot at those who seek to erode hard-won traditions” – The Observer (London)

“sinewy and knowledgable . . . [a] serious and worthwhile contribution to legal literature” – London Review of Books

“ambitious . . . witty . . . ingenious . . . The Trial presents us with a cautionary tale of judicial fallibility, while championing the efforts of those who campaign tirelessly to defend the innocent” – Irish Times

“Entertaining, sociologically perceptive, and highly recommended” – Booklist

“a superb narrative history . . . riveting and lucid” – Library Journal

“a gripping subject, fluid writing, witty prose, wonderful anecdotes, and an authoritative style . . . a magnificent book” – Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries 

“compelling” – Times Literary Supplement

“truly remarkable . . . brilliant” – Buffalo News

“well documented and highly readable . . . [Sadakat Kadri] demonstrate[s] both analytical skill and an extraordinary depth of understanding” – New York Law Journal

“Possibly the most engaging book of legal history ever written” – Good Book Guide

“Sadakat Kadri [has] a snappy, engaging prose style . . . a superb lay introduction to legal proceedings” – Charleston Post and Courier

“a lively style that keeps the subject entertaining even when it is grim” – San Antonio Express-News

“a comprehensive and thought-provoking historical assessment of the foundation of our nation’s system of criminal justice” – The News & Observer (Raleigh)

“combin[es] a journalist’s flair for the sensational with a scholar’s attention to detail . . . an eminently thoughtful and readable book for lawyer and non-lawyer alike” – The Advocate (Vancouver)