Just Revenge

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9780446519830: Just Revenge

One of the foremost courtroom lawyers of his generation. Alan M. Dershowitz takes controversial stands based on the principle of equal justice for all. Along the way, he has authored the #1 New York Times bestseller Chutzpah; the bestselling account of the Claus von Bulow case Reversal of Fortune; and the bestselling courtroom drama The Advocate's Devil. Now Dershowitz has written a novel that is at once personal, passionate, and towering: an explosive legal thriller that pits Dershowitz's literary alter ego, attorney Abe Ringel, against the worst crime of the twentieth century -- the Holocaust.

What if you witnessed the most abominable deeds that human beings can inflict upon each other? What if you came face-to-face with the very man who had slaughtered your family before your eyes? That is the question confronted by a celebrated professor named Max Menuchen. Max has found the man who had killed his entire family in cold blood more than a half century before. Max, who has never before broken a law, cannot turn down his chance for revenge.

In 1943 Marcellus Prandus was a Lithuanian militia captain who carried out the blood-thirsty orders of his Nazi commanders during World War II. Today he is an old man living outside Boston. For Max, who has discovered Prandus's identity by chance, killing him is not enough, because Prandus is already dying of cancer. How can Max make Prandus suffer exactly as Max himself did? Can Max bring himself to assassinate Prandus's children and grandchildren and make the old man watch his family die, as Max himself was forced to do?

By the time defense attorney Abe Ringel enters the case, Max has carried out an astounding act of revenge, and America'sgreat Holocaust trial has begun: an explosive legal and moral struggle to find the light of justice within the darkness of human evil. With Max facing almost certain conviction, Ringel desperately tries to prove his actions we

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Review:

In his first courtroom drama, The Advocate's Devil, Alan M. Dershowitz introduced us to defense attorney Abe Ringel as he represented a rapist. That book probed a controversial legal issue--what happens when a defender doubts his own client's innocence? In Dershowitz's second legal thriller--Abe (along with the whole judicial system) is confronted with a still bigger dilemma: Is a Holocaust survivor entitled to seek revenge on the perpetrator who butchered his family some 50 years earlier?

Max Menuchen was just 18 years old when Captain Marcelus Prandus of the Lithuanian Auxiliary Militia forced his family (and dozens of other Jewish families) into the Ponary Woods in Vilna, Lithuania, making them dig their own graves. The young man could only watch as Prandus shot his pregnant wife, Leah, and baby boy, Efraium. Escaping a similar fate by "dumb luck," Max survived the bullet, but not the torment and guilt that would haunt him for decades. Then, in 1999, Max makes the chilling discovery that Prandus escaped any punishment and now lives in a small Massachusetts town, surrounded by a loving family.

The world didn't care about what happened in the Ponary Woods. That was what was destroying Max. That was what drove him to the vengeance in which he was now engaged.
Determined to make the former Nazi suffer, Max and an old acquaintance kidnap Prandus, tie him to a chair, and psychologically torture him. Prandus then commits suicide to escape his own "suffering." Max now stands accused of murder--and his old friend Abe Ringel must prove that the revenge was just, for the sake of the Menuchens and for all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

The legal mechanics of Max's trial are hardly exceptional (author Dershowitz has a tendency to slip back into his other role as Harvard law professor, and we sometimes feel more like students than readers). However, the moral implications of such a controversial trial make Just Revenge a compelling, and ultimately thought-provoking, read. --Naomi Gesinger

About the Author:

"Alan M. Dershowitz is a professor at Harvard Law School, a noted appellate lawyer, and a newspaper columnist. He lectures widely on Jewish and legal issues, appears frequently on television and radio, and is the author of the number one bestseller Chutzpah, as well as Reversal of Fortune, The Abuse Excuse, The Advocate's Devil, and Reasonable Doubts.

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