The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms

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Product Details

Penguin Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.2 X 9.3 inches | 1.25 pounds
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About the Author

Kevin Davis is a Chicago-based journalist and author of Defending the Damned and The Wrong Man. His award-winning writing has appeared in USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Utne Reader, Chicago Magazine, The Rumpus, Writer's Digest, and other publications; he is a former staff reporter for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and is an editor at the ABA Journal.


"Davis is doing much more than giving Herbert Weinstein back his name and telling his complex story with compassion: He is reporting on a revolution taking place at the awkward intersection of brain science, technology and the law. . . . Davis's book is sensitive to the moral and philosophical questions that hang over the legal battles he explores. . . . The time when guilt and innocence will cease to matter is a long way off; meanwhile, the more judges, lawyers, and juries understand the complex issues they will be facing, the better off we will all be. Reading The Brain Defense will be an excellent way to begin."--The Wall Street Journal

"The Brain Defense is a uniquely important addition to the existing literature on the relationship between neuroscience and criminal justice. This is probably the best book on the role neuroscience has played in criminal justice system. Davis has explained the complex concepts of neuroscience and criminal justice in such a way that even laypeople would enjoy reading it. Both students and experts of neuroscience and criminal justice would benefit from this."--The Washington BookReview

"An excellent and balanced account of. . . a fascinating and important issue."

"Fascinating. . . . Perfect for fans of Antonio Damasio's Descartes' Error."--Library Journal

"Davis engagingly explores how sophisticated brain studies might help explain the causes of violent crimes. . . . A thoroughly researched, clearly presented book."--Kirkus (starred review)

"The Brain Defense is the best kind of nonfiction: It tells you what you need to know, not merely what you want to know. Kevin Davis delivers a riveting journey down an important new corridor in the American courthouse. An important book."--Michael Connelly

"A brave and thoughtful exploration of an intractable problem: What role, if any, should neuroscience play in the courtroom? Kevin Davis's informative book will contribute significantly to the national dialogue on this controversial issue."--Antonio Damasio

"The Brain Defense is a stirring ride into a fascinating new field. Can a tumor or traumatic brain injury explain rape or murder? Can they diminish culpability? If your instinct screams no, read page one. The first staggering case will challenge your assumptions; the book that follows may alter them permanently. The vividness and urgency of Kevin Davis's storytelling, along with his artful touch, draw you in from the first line and never let you go."--Dave Cullen