The Race Card Was Played and Played
BOSTON — IN CONTEMPT
By Christopher A. Darden
Regan, 246 pp, $26
Tell-all books about the O.J. Simpson trial are still appearing but this effort by prosecutor Chris Darden rises above the rest. His direct style and willingness to confront the racism shown by both blacks and whites in this case make for compelling reading.
Some reviewers have faulted Darden for letting his own anger at the verdict seep into his writing, creating a sense of self-pity. But in many ways, it is that very anger that gives the book its power. Darden knows he and fellow prosecutor Marcia Clark dropped the ball on the Simpson case. But few people would have been prepared for the media juggernaut generated by this trial, even in media-savvy L.A.
Particularly interesting are Darden's views about the way the media coverage affected both the trial and the way the prosecution prepared its case.
On a personal level, Darden's shame and confusion at the treatment he received from Johnnie Cochran (who practically accused him of being a traitor to his race) sounds like whining at first, but as Darden delves deeper into the issue of a black prosecutor being accused of being a racist by his own people for just doing his job, the story becomes compelling. The book containts some vulgar language.
Tom Regan is on the staff of the Monitor's electronic edition.