American Crime Story: O.J. and the Literary Aftermath

March 25, 2016

I was weeding the fiction the other day and I was in the “D” section.  Nothing much to report there.  A lot of authors that used to be hot but that aren’t really read much anymore.  And as I was looking through the books, I pulled out one with a familiar name attached.  “Christopher Darden”.  I confess I had to look at his author photo to see if it was really him, but lo and behold it was.  A former prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, Darden’s star has recently risen with the popularity of the television mini-series American Crime Story.  If you’re anything like me you’ve been watching it with the strangest sense of deja vu.  It’s one of those rare 1990s historical dramas that somehow manages to capture the time period perfectly.

This discovery of a Darden novel piqued my curiosity.  Did any of the other players in the have books of their own?  Lord howdy, yes they did!  Here then is a list of each participant and the books associated with them.

Run of His Life

This is the book that American Crime Story is based on.  So just in case you doubt whether or not a convenience store clerk really did make comments to Marcia Clark when she was purchasing Tampax, now you have your answer.  Put your own copy on hold here (but be prepared for a little wait – it’s popular!).

By Christopher Darden

In Contempt

If anything has come out of American Crime Story it’s an overwhelming sympathy for Christopher Darden.  Yet long after the trial the man was all but forgotten.  In 2014 when ABC News did a Where Are They Now? piece, Darden was left out of the roster entirely.  Darden has written both fiction and non-fiction since the Simpson verdict.  Really, each person involved in the trial seems to have written at least one book on their experiences.  Darden’s is best described this way: “Presents an unflinching look at what really took place behind the scenes of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, from the starstruck judge who let celebrities into his chambers and a dysfunctional jury, to the intimate relationship between Darden and Marcia Clark.”  Put the book on hold here.


I don’t know if I can necessarily forgive Entertainment Weekly for the cover blurb, “A literary dream team” but maybe that’s just me.  Darden actually co-wrote a fair number of thrillers.  This one is described as, “A young attorney at one of the West Coast’s leading, predominantly African-American law firms, Mercer Early is handed the seemingly routine case of an L.A. cop accused of shooting and killing his wife, a case complicated by two more police officers who kill their spouses, prompting an investigation that draws Mercer into a dangerous conspiracy.” Put the book on hold here.

By Marcia Clark

Without a Doubt

Rarely has a prosecutor received more intensive scrutiny than Ms. Clark experienced in the midst of the O.J. trial.  After sitting dormant on our library shelves for years, Ms. Clark’s memoir about her experiences during the trial take you there.  By the way, most of the books I’m mentioning today are long out-of-print.  You would have thought the publishers would have reprinted them with the success of the television show, but no.  That’s why we need libraries, kids!  Okay, diatribe over.  You can put the book on hold here.


Unlike Darden, Clark dove into the thriller genre headfirst and kept on producing.  This is just one of her many titles.  Feel free to place The Competition on hold here and also consider placing on hold Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees, and Killer Ambition.

By Johnnie Cochran


If American Crime Story has done anything for us it’s lent a kind of fascination about the key players.  Cochran was a name well known to me but I hadn’t really thought much about his life before the series came out.  As it happens we have two different Cochran biographies in the EPL system.  You can place Journey to Justice on hold here.

Lawyer's Life

And you can place A Lawyer’s Life on hold here.

By F. Lee Bailey


Part of what I’ve enjoyed about American Crime Story is the plethora of 1990s actors on display.  From John Travolta to David Schwimmer to Nathan Lane it’s like I’m back in the era of Battlefield Earth, Friends, and The Lion King.  Speaking of Lane, he’s been stealing the show as F. Lee Bailey.  Mr. Bailey’s own book hadn’t circulated in our system in a while but thanks to the show he’s back on top.  Place a copy on reserve here.

By Robert Shapiro


Back in the day the Library Journal review of Shapiro’s book said of it, “His excellent book . . . penetrates the innermost workings of the defense team.”  Place your copy on reserve here.

By Alan Dershowitz


Say what you will about Dershowitz, the man is prolific. Sometimes I feel like he publishes a book a year.  Reasonable Doubts was the only title he wrote about the O.J. case, so it may be worth looking at.  You can place a reserve here.


Consider this one if you want to hear him talk about his life and cases.  Place a reserve here.

And no, sorry. Robert Kardashian didn’t pen any books that you can read.  Though, if you really want to, you could place a hold on Faye Resnick’s really, truly, awful Nicole Brown Simpson bio here.


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