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Justice Imperiled is the story of the brilliant lawyer Max Hirschberg, one of Germany's most courageous defenders of justice in the face of Hitler's rise to power.
Hirschberg lived an extraordinary life at a defining moment in German and European history. By the time he fled Nazi Germany in 1934, he had argued a series of cases in Munich's courtrooms that shed light on the history of political justice in pre-Nazi Germany and, by extension, the miscarriage of justice in all Western democracies.
Hirschberg was a rare figure: he fought for cases that reflected the new democracy rather than the old monarchy, that valued equality rather than hierarchy, and that showed respect for workers as well as aristocrats.
Throughout the Weimar period Hirschberg squared off in court against Munich's conservatives, reactionaries, and Nazis—twice facing Hitler himself. As he litigated politically charged disputes, he also began fighting to reverse the criminal convictions of innocent defendants and to study what mistaken verdicts teach us about the criminal justice system as a whole.
In a unique blend of biography and courtroom drama, Justice Imperiled captures the excitement of Hirschberg's actual cases and presents legal battles that still rage, in different circumstances, to this day.
"Justice Imperiled makes a notable contribution to the scholarship on Weimar Germany. . . . Morris' deft understanding of Hirschberg's efforts to represent individuals facing specific charges is marvelous. Morris' experience as a federal public defender allows a skillful portrayal of the role of the courts and the legal profession in the political drama of the Weimar era. . . . Justice Imperiled will become a standard study of the law and the courts in the midst of a social revolution."
".. . . the ultimate contribution of Morris's fine book . . . is not only its enrichment of the historian's understanding of German legal history in the tumultuous Weimar Republic but a cautionary tale about too-great a reliance on the rule of law in eras of heightened political conflict."
—American Historical Review
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