Tue, 06/03/2008 - 07:47 — admin
|"Not since I read Mencken's dispatches on the Scopes trial have I read a more delightfully written, yet sobering account of a courtroom duel. There is an important difference. Mencken was an outsider. Lebo grew up in that town. The drama inside the courtroom is matched by Lebo's poignant and painful confrontrations with her fundamentalist father ... a fascinating story."
- Howard Zinn
The page-turning story behind the 2005 intelligent design case in Dover, Pennsylvania-the case that made front-page news around the world
What happened in Dover is a tiny sliver, a broken shard of glass mirroring what plays out across the country. A war of fundamentalist Christian values versus secularism. A battle between evangelical fanaticism and tolerance.
—FROM THE DEVIL IN DOVER
In December 2004, following the Dover area school board's decision to teach intelligent design in ninth-grade biology classrooms, eleven parents sued, sparking a federal constitutional challenge. Lauri Lebo, a small-town reporter who covered the trial, knows not just the legal case and science, but the people on all sides of the divisive battle.
In *The Devil in Dover*, Lebo traces the compelling backstory of this pivotal case described by some as a perfect storm of religious intolerance, First Amendment violations, and an assault on American science education. In a community divided across unexpected lines, the so-called activist judge, a George Bush–appointed Republican, eventually condemned the school board's decision as one of "breathtaking inanity."
Lebo follows the story through its surprising twists, pondering whether this was a national war playing out in a small town or a small-town political battle playing out on the national stage. As a "local girl" with a fundamentalist Christian father, Lebo provides an account that is both fascinating and moving, as she thoughtfully probes one of America's most divisive cultural conflicts—and the responsibility journalists have when covering such a controversial story.
|"(A) deeply personal account of the legal and social controversy in Dover, Pennsylvania. The combination of her compassion, unique perspective, and entertaining writing style make the *Devil in Dover* a most compelling narrative that accurately describes this historic battle."
- U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III
|"I just finished reading *The Devil in Dover* by Lauri Lebo (if you only read one book about the Dover trial, this is the one to read - it's absolutely brilliant in every respect)"
- Ed Brayton, from the blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars
|"During the *Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District* case in 2004 to 2005, Lauri Lebo covered the story for the York Daily Record. Lebo was one of the most consistent journalists writing on the topic anywhere; she certainly demonstrated a facility with the facts of the case and was not afraid to write about what they implied."
- Wesley R. Elsberry, from the blog The Austringer
|"(Her) news reporting . . . on the complex Dover intelligent design case sets the standard for excellence."
- Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes
|"(Lebo) took care with both the politics and the science of the Dover case. Her newspaper might have been small, but her coverage was better than most."
- Carl Zimmer, science journalist/writer, from the blog The Loom