On January 22, 1998, Theodore John Kaczynski, Montana recluse and accused Unabomber, pled guilty and received three life sentences after a dramatic behind-the-scenes legal struggle. Kaczynski was written off by most as a vicious sociopath or Luddite eco-terrorist, and revered by a few as a modern-day John Brown defending a utopian vision at all ...
On January 22, 1998, Theodore John Kaczynski, Montana recluse and accused Unabomber, pled guilty and received three life sentences after a dramatic behind-the-scenes legal struggle. Kaczynski was written off by most as a vicious sociopath or Luddite eco-terrorist, and revered by a few as a modern-day John Brown defending a utopian vision at all costs. In this provocative analysis, Professor Michael Mello, who informally advised the Unabomber defense team, sifts through the media circus, court transcripts, and his own friendship with Kaczynski to expose the conflicts of interest and ideological forces that led to one of the most famous non-trials in legal history. Mello's book is an up-close look at a man who got lost in a system that could not accommodate him because it could not imagine him.
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-05-31 The Unabomber described in these pages is not the terrorist who killed three and maimed two others. Rather, he's a frustrated defendant who was unable to exercise all the legal options available to him, because his lawyers kept him in the dark about their insanity-defense strategy until it was too late. Mello (Dead Wrong, etc.), a law professor and outspoken critic of capital punishment, corresponded with the imprisoned Theodore Kaczynski. He argues that Kaczyinski's lawyers were selective in presenting evidence in order to support a viewpoint highly prejudicial to their client's best interest. For example, they brought Kaczynski's cramped cabin from Montana to California so they could show it to a jury as proof of their client's dementia. What they did not bring, as one observer pointed out, was the beautiful mountain landscape the cabin inhabited. By entering a guilty plea in exchange for three life sentences, Kaczynski's legal team may have saved him from a death sentence, Mello writes, but they also kept him from getting his day in court and publicizing his ideas about the evils of technology and environmental degradation. Having made his point, Mello tries to draw a parallel between Kaczynski and John Brown. But it is hard to imagine Sierra Club members flocking to a Sacramento courtroom to defend Kaczynski's assaults on professors and businesspeople only vaguely associated with environmental destruction. Kaczynski, despite Mello's sympathy, comes across as someone who believes himself to be superior to anyone who doesn't subscribe to his anti-technology agenda. Mello is a penetrating critic of the legal system. However, though he doesn't try to make Kaczynski a hero, he will have hard time convincing most readers to take Kaczynski seriously as a social critic. (June) FYI: Context Books will publish Kaczynski's own manifesto, Truth Versus Lies, in August. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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