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With this authoritative and engaging book, Edward J. Larson examines the many facets of the Scopes trial and shows how its enduring legacy has crossed religious, cultural, educational, and political lines. The ‘Monkey Trial,’” as it was playfully nicknamed, was instigated by the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge a controversial Tennessee law banning the teaching of human evolution in public schools. The Tennessee statute represented the first major victory for an intense national campaign against Darwinism, launched in the 1920s by Protestant fundamentalists and led by the famed politician and orator William Jennings Bryan. At the behest of the ACLU, a teacher named John Scopes agreed to challenge the statute, and what resulted was a trial of mythic proportions. Bryan joined the prosecutors and acclaimed criminal attorney Clarence Darrow led the defense—a dramatic legal matchup that spurred enormous media attention and later inspired the classic play Inherit the Wind. …[more]