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The O.J. Simpson trial: 10 Books to read about the case that will give you the full picture

The criminal trial of professional NFL football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted in 1995 of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, was one that took the world by a storm and was dubbed ‘the trial of the century’.

It lasted a total length of eleven months, and with the racial implications with the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department), highlighted America’s race problems.

Even today, more than 20 years later, it is still a highly controversial topic, with so many people firmly on one side or the other.

Here are ten books that will give you the full picture of the O.J Simpson trial, with books from both the defence and the prosecution, an impartial journalist putting the whole story together, words from the families of the victims, stories from those involved in the trial, and, even, words from O.J Simpson himself.

The Story

1. The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson
by Jeffrey Toobin

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The inspiration for the first season of American Crime Story 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 verdict, Jeffrey Toobin’s nonfiction masterpiece tells the whole story, from the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman to the ruthless gamesmanship behind the scenes of the trial of the century. Rich in character, as propulsive as a legal thriller, this enduring narrative continues to shock and fascinate with its candid depiction of the human drama that upended American life.

2. If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer
by O.J. Simpson, Pablo F. Fenjves, Dominick Dunne (Contributor), The Goldman Family (contributor)

In 1994, Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were brutally murdered at her home in Brentwood, California. O.J. Simpson was tried for the crime in a case that captured the attention of the American people, but was ultimately found not guilty of criminal charges. The victims’ families brought a civil case against Simpson, and he was found liable for willfully and wrongfully causing the deaths of Ron and Nicole by committing battery with malice and oppression.

In 2006, HarperCollins announced the publication of a book, titled If I Did It, in which O.J. Simpson told how he hypothetically would have committed the murders. In response to public outrage that Simpson stood to profit from these crimes, HarperCollins canceled the book. A Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights to the Goldmans in August 2007 to partially satisfy the unpaid civil judgment, which has risen to over $38 million with interest.

The Goldman family views this book as his confession and has worked hard to ensure that the public will read this book and learn the truth. This is the original manuscript approved by O.J. Simpson, with a subtitle added by the Goldman family and up to 14,000 words of additional commentary.

The Prosecution

3. Without a Doubt
by Marcia Clark, Teresa Carpenter

Without a Doubt is not just a book about a trial. It’s a book about a woman. Marcia Clark takes us inside her head and her heart. Her voice is raw, incisive, disarming, unmistakable. Her story is both sweeping and deeply personal. How did she do it, day after day? What was it like, orchestrating the most controversial case of her career in the face of the media’s relentless klieg lights? How did she fight her personal battles – those of a working mother balancing a crushing workload and a painful, very public divorce? When did she know that her case was lost? Who stood by her, and who abandoned her? And how did she cope with the outcome? As Clark shares the secrets of her own life, we understand for the first time why she identified so strongly with Nicole, in a way no man ever could. No one is spared in this unflinching account – least of all Clark herself, who candidly admits what she wishes she’d done differently – and, for the first time, we understand why the outcome was inevitable.

4. In Contempt
by Christopher Darden, Jess Walter

For more than a year, Christopher Darden argued tirelessly, giving voice to the victims in the 0.J. Simpson murder trial. In this gripping account of one man’s extraordinary career, Darden offers an unflinching look at a justice system imperiled by racism and celebrity privilege. Now, out of the sensational frenzy of “the trial of the century” comes a haunting memoir of duty, justice, and thepowerful undertow of American racism.

Christopher Darden’s In Contempt is an unflinching look at a justice system kidnapped by a racist cop, shameless defense lawyers, a starstruck judge, and a dysfunctional jury. It shows what the television cameras could not:Behind-the-scenes meetings where Darden tried to determine whether Detective Mark Fuhrman was a racist cop The deteriorating relationships between the defense and prosecution teams, with taunting, baiting, and a pushing match between Darden and Simpson: A starstruck judge who let the case get out of control while he collected hourglasses from fans and invited celebrities into his chambers; The candid factors behind Darden’s controversial decision for Simpson to try on the infamous glove; The dysfunctional jury who was forced to make a landmark legal decision; The intimate relationship between Darden and Marcia Clark.

A stunning masterpiece told with brutal honesty and courage, In Contempt is the rare story of one man who refused to choose between his heritage and his humanity.

The Defence

5. Journey to Justice
by Johnnie Cochran

In Journey to Justice, Johnnie Cochran illuminates the odyssey that led him from a small, rented home shared with his extended family in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Judge Lance Ito’s courtroom. In 1954, Brown vs. the Board of Education galvanized the young Cochran.

Taking Thurgood Marshall as his role model, Cochran embarked on a legal career in which he won landmark decisions against official misconduct within the criminal justice system. From Leonard Deadwyler, a black motorist stopped for speeding to the hospital with his pregnant wife, then shot dead by the police; to Ron Settles, a black college football star whose death at the hands of police was made to look like suicide; to the record 9.4-million-dollar jury verdict he won for a thirteen-year-old Latina girl molested by a uniformed LAPD officer, Cochran fought to change police procedures responsible for some of the most blatant abuse committed by those sworn to “protect and serve.”

It was the sobering experience of these earlier cases that fueled the inner turmoil of a man whose deeply felt sense of duty to the law and to his people compelled him to take a leading role in the case of People vs. Orenthal James Simpson, one of the greatest morality plays of our time – a play that has forever altered our perceptions of race relations in America. In Journey to Justice we learn about the man behind the sound bites, the zealous advocate for such diverse clients as Michael Jackson and Reginald Denny, the white truck driver attacked in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict.

In Journey to Justice, Cochran reflects not only on how these events shaped his legal philosophy but also on the contexts within which these courtroom dramas were played out.

6. The Search for Justice: A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case
by Robert L. Shapiro, Larkin Warren

The architect of O.J. Simpson’s Dream Team tells the inside story of the Simpson murder trial from the beginning. In this book, the man who created the defense strategy answers the questions of fact, law, and ethics that were fired at him before and after the jury’s verdict. With candor, wit, and compassion, Shapiro brings to light the details of The Trial of the Century, giving us revealing glimpses of O.J. Simpson, Johnnie Cochran, Marcia Clark, Chris Darden, Judge Lance Ito, Barry Scheck, F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, and many others.

At the heart of the book is the dramatic story of how Shapiro helped to win what many considered to be an open-and-shut case against O.J. Simpson. In the midst of mounting the legal defense, Shapiro had to deal with the tumult of a media circus, a fractious defense team, and his own priorities as a husband and father. Through it all, he maintained a steady hand and the quiet belief that justice would prevail.

According to Shapiro, the only possible verdict was the conclusion of reasonable doubt reached by the jury.

The Victims

7. His Name is Ron: Our Search for Justice
by The Goldman Family, William Hoffer, Marilyn Hoffer

His Name Is Ron is not about O. J. Simpson or his “Dream Team,” or another rehash of the “Trial of the Century.” It is about Ron Goldman—and a quiet, close-knit family that overnight became enmeshed in one of the ugliest and most controversial crimes in recent history.

The Goldmans provide a wrenching account, in their own words, of the ripple effect that occurs when a beloved family member is murdered, and the extra burdens that develop when grief becomes a public spectacle. But, more important, the family puts a name, a face, a soul, to the young man referred to in the press only as “a friend of . . .” or “a part-time waiter and sometime model.”

In this memoir, the Goldmans share memories of happier times and recount, moment by moment, learning of Ron’s untimely death and the nightmare that followed. They share their reactions throughout the criminal trial up to and including the heart-stopping verdict. And they reveal the details of the civil trial that were never before allowed to be made public, due to the gag order imposed on all participants. Finally, they reveal their determination to bring much-needed reforms to the criminal justice system and to give voices to other victims of violent crimes, in this heartbreaking and infuriating true story.

8. Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted
by Faye D. Resnick, Mike Walker

Fearing for her life, Faye D. Resnick, as confidante of O.J. whenever he and his ex-wife fought – went into hiding to write Nicole’s story. Her phones were tapped, private journals and photographs were stolen from her home, veiled threats were made by “private investigators” – and O.J.’s defense team, desperate to find another suspect, spread slanderous “theories” that purportedly tied Faye to the murders.

Now the truth about Nicole is revealed by the only person – except O.J. himself – who knew the real story. It’s the heartbreak of a woman who tried desperately to return what she thought was her husband’s total love – and her final realization that it wasn’t love, but a hellish obsession!

Details of the final 35-minute phone call Nicole had with Faye during the final moments of her life.

It’s an unexpected love story about two women who formed a bond so strong even death can’t break it – and how they teamed up in a futile, last-ditch effort to save the life of Nicole Brown Simpson.

It’s an angry cry for help… help for women trapped in the brutal prison of abuse from men who claim to love them. Nicole Brown Simpson was known as a “strong woman” by her friends and family – but Faye D. Resnick, who was an abused child, has learned one powerful lesson from writing this book: Strength should never be equated with keeping silent about abuse. Sadly, it’s a lesson Nicole never learned. That’s why she’d want you to read her story.

From those involved in the trial

9. Murder In Brentwood
by Mark Fuhrman

For O.J. Simpson to get away with murder, an innocent cop – a brilliant detective – had to he destroyed. That was the cynical strategy of the Simpson “Dream Team, ” and it worked. But as certainty about Simpson’s guilt grows, so does outrage about the scapegoating of Mark Fuhrman. Now the former LAPD detective tells his side of the story in a damning expose. The veteran detective gives the inside story of why and how Simpson’s interrogation was bungled; how police criminalists made previously unrevealed errors that torpedoed the prosecution’s case; why Marcia Clark foolishly suppressed evidence of an affair between Ron and Nicole; and why Clark refused to call a key police witness who could have corroborated Fuhrman’s testimony and blown away the defense team’s claim of planted evidence. Fuhrman’s own hand-drawn maps of the crime scene and his reconstruction of the murders leave no doubt about what really happened on June 12, 1994. New revelations about the incompetence and corruption that pervaded the “Trial of the Century” will exonerate this decent, loyal detective, the innocent cop who was sacrificed so a rich, guilty celebrity could go free.

10. Madam Foreman: A Rush to Judgment?
by Armanda Cooley, Mike Walker

After 267 days as prisoners of the United States legal system, America’s most famous jurors were thrilled to walk out into the sunlight of freedom. But within minutes of their release, they were overwhelmed by the blinding glare of white America’s fury. Here, at last – in the words of jury foreman Armanda Cooley and fellow jurors Carrie Bess and Marsha-Rubin Jackson – are the answers to the questions that the nation has been asking ever since the controversial verdict that freed O. J. Simpson, the man who many believe got away with murder. The most comprehensive work on the Simpson trial, written from the perspective of the foreman and two fellow jurors, Madam Foreman is more than a recap of ten months of sequestration, it is a social commentary. Powerfully written, this work not only gives astonishing insight into the minds of the people who made the decision to set O. J. Simpson free, but gives voice to three African-American women who, before the trial of the century, had no voice at all.

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