Kitzmiller v Dover

40 Days and 40 Nights

by Matthew Chapman
New York: Collins, 2008. 271 pages.

A series of personal vignettes from the Kitzmiller trial from the author of Trials of the Monkey (reviewed in RNCSE 2001 May–Aug; 21 [3–4]: 38–9). Reviewing the book for Nature, Kevin Padian wrote, "The author of 40 Days and 40 Nights, Matthew Chapman, is a great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin; his presumed vested interest in the proceedings is tempered by his own history as a school dropout, a movie screenwriter and a Brit with a perpetually bemused view of colonial antics. Still, his odyssey is a fulfilling one, and he seems genuine enough to get himself invited into many homes where insights and passions run deep."

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

A NOVA documentary
WGBH Boston, 2008. 112 minutes.

A Peabody-award-winning documentary about Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case that established the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" creationism in the public schools. "Judgment Day gracefully avoids ridiculing intelligent design for the pseudo-intellectual fundamentalist fig-leaf that it is, by simply showing how the protagonists shot themselves in the foot," wrote the reviewer for Nature, adding, "Judgment Day is just the sort of thoughtful programming that celebrates how sensible people — faithful and otherwise — can use science and reason to combat fundamentalism."

Monkey Girl

by Edward Humes
New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. 380 pages.

"With its title taken from a taunt aimed at a Dover student interested in learning about evolution," wrote NCSE deputy director Glenn Branch in BioScience, "Monkey Girl ... abounds in detail, critically assessed and cogently assembled. Particularly impressive are the thorough account of the events in Dover that precipitated the case and the detailed report of the preparations and maneuvers undertaken by the competing legal teams before the trial. When Humes arrives at the trial — not until the 13th chapter of his book — he continues to provide a fluent and accurate narrative, offering insightful comments on the effectiveness of the witnesses and attorneys."

The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything

by Gordy Slack
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. 228 pages.

Andrea Barrett, writing in Evolution: Education and Outreach, praised Gordy Slack's The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything for introducing the debate "in such an approachable, conversational fashion that even the reader with no background in the area will be drawn into the drama," adding, "Slack has a good reporter's instinct for the telling detail and the vivid image, and he is able to synthesize and bring fresh perspective to a great deal of material, opening up the field for the less experienced reader. ... This book made me curious; it made me want to dig more deeply."

The Devil in Dover

by Lauri Lebo
New York: New Press, 2008. 238 pages.

From the publisher: "Lauri Lebo, a small-town reporter who covered the trial, knows not just the legal case and science, but the people on all sides of the divisive battle. ... Lebo follows the story through its surprising twists, pondering whether this was a national war playing out in a small town or a small-town political battle playing out on the national stage. As a 'local girl' with a fundamentalist Christian father, Lebo provides an account that is both fascinating and moving, as she thoughtfully probes one of America's most divisive cultural conflicts — and the responsibility journalists have when covering such a controversial story."