Web Smarts

WHAT: For legal history buffs, or anyone else with an interest in America's most famous trials, this excellent site combines a Court TV-type popular appeal with plenty of scholarly information.

BEST POINTS: The site is the creation of Douglas Linder, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School. It currently features 12 famous trials. Among those featured: the Scopes trial; the Amistad trials; the Scottsboro trials; and the Rosenbergs trial. Currently being developed are: the Hauptmann (Lindbergh kidnapping) trial; the Sacco and Vanzetti trial; and the O.J. Simpson trial. For each case, the site brings together selections of primary documents, as well as pictures, maps, and even some links to film adaptations (the Salem witch trials have a link to the recent film of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"). The variety of sources is admirable: presented with the Scopes trial, for example, is the first chapter of Genesis and a page from the biology textbook used by Scopes. There's a short biography of each trial's major players, and a bibliography at the end for those who want to learn more.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: "Famous American Trials" is an educational, noncommercial site. It also offers a few trivia games, such as "Bill of Rights Golf." It can be accessed from the URL, or by typing "famous American trials" into an Internet search engine.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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