Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial

Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial

by Jen Bryant

But when their science teacher, J.

This compelling novel in poems chronicles a controversy with a profound impact on science and culture in Americaand one that continues to this day.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Historical
  • Rating: 3.75
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: February 12th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Isbn10: 0375840478
  • Isbn13: 9780375840470

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22 October 2007 RINGSIDE, 1925: VIEWS FROM THE SCOPES TRIAL by Jen Bryant, Knopf, February 2008, ISBN: 0-375-84074-8; LIBR ISBN: 0-375-94047-2 "I sat speechless...a ringside observer at my own trial, until the end of the circus." --John T. Scopes, defendant "Tennessee, Tennessee, There ain't no place I'd rather be." -- Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia PETER SYKES "...Our state lawmakers passed the Butler Act because they think science will poison our minds. From my decades as a reader and an exemplary student I know that evolution is no more of a theory than is tectonic plate "theory" and -- in my part of the country -- you'd better be up to speed on the consequences of tectonic plate "theory" or you can one day suddenly end up as flat as an extinct one-celled fossil. To even make anyone who doesn't understand or "believe in" scientific fact a Twenty-first century school board member -- no less President of the United States -- would be truly insane. (I try not to think of fish as my ancestors when I'm cleaning them.) Mr. Robinson held up a copy of Hunter's Civic Biology, which is the book we used in school, which is also one of the books he sells in his store, & asked: 'Did you use this in class?' Calm as Conner's Pond, Mr. Scopes said: 'Sure I did, Fred. 'Well, John, the American Civil Liberties Union will pay to defend the first person who challenges the new law against teaching evolution in Tennessee. 'Sure, I guess that'd be all right -- long as I can finish my tennis match.' The men took turns patting him on the back, thanking him, telling him not to worry; they'd send someone down to arrest him later that afternoon." What makes Jen Bryant's RINGSIDE, 1925 such a fun and great read is rooted in the collection of adolescent narrators who tell much of the story.

Ringside 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant brings the event to life in a way that your history book never could. The story is told through the voices of several characters, mainly three students from the high school where Mr. Scopes taught. I've also recommended it to my daughter who's a senior in high school, because I think the writing is interesting to all ages.

The novel was written in verse, which I enjoy, and which seems to be a great format for telling stories in multiple characters' voices.

I have always been interested in the Scopes Monkey Trial; I think a lot of America haswhether it be about religion vs science, text book and curricula decisions, the role of law and government in education, William Jennings Bryan vs Clarence Darrow, or Spencer Tracy vs Fredric March (Inherit the Wind). Jen Bryants historical novel grants us the chance to observe the events of the Scopes Trial close up and personally. Peter and Jimmy Lee, best friends become divided by their beliefs; Marybeth is a young lady who finds strength to stand up to her fathers traditional view of the role of women in society; and my favorite character, Willy Amos, meets Clarence Darrow and dares to believe what he can attempt to achieve.

Told in multiple perspectives (that at first changed too swiftly and often), this historical novel tells the story of a famous (though unknown to me) trial of a young, shy, teacher of strong convictions in 1925 Dayton, Tennessee, taught a chapter on evolution in a high school science class. I loved the multiple perspectives once I learned what to expect from each, and it was a quick read that taught me about a monumental event in history I had little knowledge of.

The Scopes trial of 1925 addressed a Tennessee law that stated that public schools could not teach the science of evolution. The Scopes trial of 1925 addressed a Tennessee law that stated that public schools could not teach the science of evolution. The trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, with defense attorney Clarence Darrow and state's attorney William Jennings Bryan. The trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, with defense attorney Clarence Darrow and state's attorney William Jennings Bryan. The trial drew lot of national publicity to the small town of Dayton, and to the issue of evolution. The trial drew lot of national publicity to the small town of Dayton, and to the issue of evolution. Ringside 1925 is a historical fiction book about the Scopes trial. Ringside 1925 is a historical fiction book about the Scopes trial. I give this book a 3/5 stars because it is a short read(too short in my opinion), and I had a hard time following with the author's style.

One memorable summer, the sleepy town of Dayton, Tennessee, population 1,800, is turned upside down by the trial of a well-liked high school teacher. Many residents, such as twelve-year-old Willy Amos and drugstore owner Mr. Robinson, see it as an opportunity to make some quick easy money. Many young readers may have learned about the Scopes Trial in school, but Bryant brings a new level of relevance by telling the story primarily through the eyes of Dayton's residents and observing the smaller but no less significant changes to a small town in addition to the broad historical significance.

Jen Bryant (Jennifer Fisher Bryant) writes picture books, novels and poems for readers of all ages.