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Paperback The Run of His Life: The People V. O. J. Simpson Book

ISBN: 081298854X

ISBN13: 9780812988543

The Run of His Life: The People V. O. J. Simpson

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Book Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The inspiration for American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson on FX, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., John Travolta, David Schwimmer, and Connie Britton

The definitive account of the O. J. Simpson trial, The Run of His Life is a prodigious feat of reporting that could have been written only by the foremost legal journalist of our time. First published less than a year after the infamous...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A great read...

Like all good writers, Jeffrey Toobin seeks to understand human nature. In "The Run of His Life", my favorite of his books, he brilliantly distills the OJ Simpson case into an insightful examination of what drives people to do what they do. This isn't just the story of a murder. It is a story about Los Angeles, a brutal and corrupt police force, and the dangerous allure of fame and money. Although Toobin believes that OJ Simpson committed double murder and got away with it, he also makes the case that a history of abuse by the LAPD in black communities created a political climate that allowed the aquittal to happen. Very few people come off well in this story, and the flawed nature of the participants makes for compelling reading. The media spectacle that surrounded the case brought out the worst in human nature, and every excess is documented here. In the end, very few principles (the defendant, lawyers, jurors, witnesses, police, even the friends and family of the victims) seem untouched by hubris and self-centered motivation. Toobin understands something that many do not: that the entire thing - the crime, the trial, and the aftermath- was a metaphor for American decadence and social decay.

Definitive Account of a Double Tragedy

Here's hoping this one comes back into print soon. Toobin presents a nice narrative here, with plenty of the juicy inside stuff, without losing sight of the two tragedies that occurred: the horrible, bloodthirsty slaughter of Ron and Nicole, and the acquittal of a clearly guilty murderer. If anyone out there seriously still believes in O.J.'s innocence, it's time to check out of Denial Land. The cynical playing of the race card is detailed thoroughly, as is the star-struck way that Ito handled his courtroom. Toobin is not blind to the mistakes of the prosecution, but he sees equally clearly that "Guilty" was the only possible verdict a juror could have reached (I don't know what the twelve people empaneled in this case were, but jurors they most definitely were not). Toobin has an eye for the telling detail, and his writing skills make this a sometimes fun, sometimes sorrowful, journey through the most unjust trial of modern times. Highly recommended.

The Run of His Life is about race

Jeffrey Toobin has no doubt that O. J. Simpson killed his wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Therefore, the driving question of the book is not "did he commit the crime?", the question is "why was he acquitted?". Toobin's thesis grows out of local Los Angeles history as well as national U. S. history. Los Angeles is a microcosm of the United States because it is a city, just as ours is a nation, divided along racial lines. Toobin's study makes it quite clear that what is at issue in this divide, more than opportunity, more than economics, more than political clout, is trust. Distrust runs deep between the races. In Los Angeles, this distrust defined the jury and shaped the jury's verdict. Toobin explores how the defense formulated a strategy to exploit this racial divide and how the prosecution minimized or ignored how feelings and perceptions borne of racial identity would effect this trial. As the familiar story unfolds, Toobin details the prosecution's very strong case against Simpson. For the prosecution, the crime was in the details: hairs, fibers, blood drops, blood smears, gloves, footprints. But could this jury trust the gatherers and interpreters of this evidence? No. They didn't trust the police, criminalists, or lab technicians. They didn't trust Marcia Clark. They didn't trust a system of police and prosecution and the reason was historical racial mistreatment. Yes, Toobin examines the conflicts between attorneys. He examines the performance of Lance Ito. He evaluates the attorneys' performances on both sides. But what he does best is illuminate the insidious consequences of of our country's long history of racial mistreatment. In this case, argues Toobin, a murderer walked free.

Black and White and Read All Over

The dust jacket for The Run of His Life is pure black on one side and pure white on the other. From the outset of the bizarre, ever-televised story, O.J. Simpson's defense lawyers sought to exploit race, and of course they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams through a combination of amazing luck and sheer audacity. The purpose of this book is clearly not to change any minds about the substantial issues of the case itself, about which everyone seems to be intractable. Even though Toobin is one of the more objective (though not uninvolved) observers of the case and his point of view rings more true than that of the participants, the stereotypical white reader will agree with most of what's in this book, and the stereotypical black reader will find many faults. The main value of this book is as a fascinating picture of the machinations behind the public events and of the personalities involved, and as an integrated narrative of the essentials of the story. It was utterly engaging to this reader, who followed the trial fairly closely, but it would be of great interest to anyone looking for first-rate coverage of the ultimate modern American fiasco. It's simply an amazing story, not just about a murder case, of course, and not just about race, but also about celebrity (Simpson's, the lawyers, the witnesses, etc.) and the ramifications of race for the central celebrity, who once said in an interview, "I'm not black, I'm O.J." Johnny Cochran may be right that race affects everything in America, but for O.J. Simpson, his celebrity and wealth had an overriding impact on everything in his life, a life which even before the murders was evidently a hollow and tawdry one. Even if Simpson had been unequivocally proven innocent, his image would have still suffered from the revelations of a life filled with sycophants, ever-seedier commercial endorsements, and of course spousal battery and abuse. Toobin provides some very fascinating background on all the major players, including the LAPD, and he makes a totally convincing case that far from there being a conspiracy against Simpson, there was incredible favoritism afforded him by police, especially in the domestic violence complaints against him and even in the murder case. But even this white reader found himself often wondering what Toobin's sources were for many seemingly inobservable events. His list of sources at the back of the book doesn't name any interview subjects, and only on rare occasions does he attribute anything specifically in the narrative itself. For example, in the description of events leading to the infamous glove demonstration, he writes: "Clark thought about saying something, risking the humiliation of her colleague by saying, 'No! Stop!' But she kept her seat." Did Marcia Clark, a lead prosecutor, tell him this herself? (And is she likely to be telling the truth?) He doesn't say. Given the huge axes being ground by all the parties (and even those not directly involved), one won

The Best of the Books on the Simpson Trial

I had read an review that said that there was nothing new in this book. Despite that I bought the book, and was very plesantly surprised to find it to be the best and most complete book of anything I have read on the OJ trial. From a description of the arrogrance and ego of the defense team to the inempitude and occasional brilliance of Darden, I found it very multi-dimensional and fascinating reading. The best part of the book was his two line description of how OJ lost his Beverly Hills/West LOs Angeles contigent of friends after the DNA's evidence was presented. It appears that there truly is a god
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