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Protect and Defend
ISBN 0345404793 / 9780345404794 / 0-345-40479-3
Publisher Ballantine Books
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Richard North Patterson's excellent Protect and Defend is both courtroom drama and political nail-biter; if politics is the art of the possible, just how far is it legitimate to go in a cause which you think of as good? A 15-year-old, pregnant with a seriously disabled child delivering which alive will prevent her having further children; parents so adamantly opposed to abortion that they will refuse consent to what she wants--this is the minefield into which idealistic lawyer Sarah walks knowing that she has found the hard case to discredit a bad law. Her former mentor Caroline is up for promotion to Chief Justice--and Sarah's test case becomes the litmus paper by which an entire political culture brings itself to judgement... Patterson forces us to consider the entire question of the private, the personal and the political--no one from Democrat President to Republican candidate has entirely clean hands, but just how intrusive is the process of scrutiny allowed to be? Patterson writes as an insider--his acknowledgements list includes two US Presidents--but his sense of the law and of the political process is balanced by compassion for those conscripted into the public eye by circumstances not ambition. --Roz Kaveney [via]