Most of us are intolerant of something, whether it is our neighbour’s dog, his politics or the colour of his skin, but we may not always recognize our lack of tolerance. By making extensive use of surviving court documentation from famous - and not so famous - trials, Brian Harris is able to explore several issues that have given rise to deep-rooted divisions within Western society, such as slavery, religion and homosexuality.
The result is a highly readable narrative, which often challenges traditional interpretations of the cases concerned, punctuated throughout by the author’s pertinent insights into the personalities, events and legal processes of the day.
The cases include the ‘witches’ of Salem whose tragic story was plundered by Arthur Miller in his play, The Crucible, the execution of a seventy-year-old woman for giving shelter to a man on the run from England’s last rebellion, the prosecution of a schoolteacher for teaching evolution, the persecution of Oscar Wilde and the prosecution of Penguin Books for publishing Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Intolerance: Divided Societies on Trial provides an engaging and thought-provoking account of man’s intolerance to man through the ages.
"Brian Harris examines entertainingly and penetratingly the most famous, or rather, infamous cases of intolerance to have occurred over the last three and a bit centuries. This really quite "unputdown-able" and thought-provoking book, one of the lastest from Wildy's growing library of titles, builds a fascinating picture of intolerance by looking at notorious examples of it...a fascinating read, with much historical anecdote and insightful comment which should inspire any number of debates, arguments and disputes"
Philip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers