Trial by Fire, The True Story of a Woman’s Ordeal at the Hands of the Law, (Morrow, N.Y., l986.)
Gerry Spence, the famous lawyer, leads us into dark and exciting places in search of justice for a modern woman who claimed she was defamed by Penthouse magazine-behind the scenes, into the judge’s chambers, and into the very mind of the trial lawyer himself. Spence, a masterful storyteller, takes us with him to the courtroom where, together, we discover a startling truth-that the same evil authority by which millions of women were tortured for their confessions and burned at the stake as witches still smolders deep in the law today.
This is more than the true story of a legendary trial by a legendary trial lawyer. It is a reader’s rare chance to be both entertained and informed, to learn firsthand how a trial lawyer handles his case-to actually become the lawyer. No other book has revealed with such clarity and candor the inner workings of a trial-from the moment the case is presented by his prospective client, through the exhausting struggle to keep the case alive, through the epic trial itself where Spence faces the most formidable opponent of his career-and finally through the appellate courts-even to the United States Supreme Court.
At yet another level this is the very personal story of a country lawyer, a man long immersed in the chauvinism of his generation, who, as he puts it, became a “born-again feminist” and a powerful proponent of women’s rights. It is a book destined to become a classic for its candid and insightful exposure of the war being fought in America over the First Amendment, a war in which pornographers are often the profiteers and women the victims, a war in which the spoils become the most sacred of our freedoms-the right to speak freely, as, indeed, Spence so ably does in Trial By Fire.