Based on the life experiences of author and attorney Howard G. Franklin, Gideon’s Children gets its name from the landmark Supreme Court decision on March 18, 1963 that guaranteed every criminal defendant in a felony trial the right to a lawyer. Now over 50 years since that Gideon v. Wainwright decision, Franklin’s book puts into perspective the challenges confronted by he and a group of lawyers defending the poor, mostly African-American defendants in southern California in 1968.
Having reading this book, I can only imagine what it must have been like as a public defender in 1960s America. In excruciating detail, Franklin provides a vivid insight, which at times is very entertaining and graphic, of a young, idealistic attorney who went to work in a public defender’s office in Los Angeles in the late 1960s.
I find it particularly fascinating how Franklin does an exceptional job introducing the readers to historical events, landmark cases, and his personal experience throughout this remarkable read. It is very easy for society to brush away history or to take things for granted without knowing about how the events in history have got humanity and society to where we are now, and Franklin does an outstanding job in making sure that generations of readers will get to know what actually happened.
Although the book is fiction, the situations are very real. It brings into frame the challenges faced by attorneys in those early days, especially after Gideon’s decision, and how the U.S. legal system has been somewhat unfair to many, particularly minorities.
The part that should be read with even more great interest than any other part of the book is in Chapter Five; where the action is taking place in 1968, and there is a determined public defender about to try his first jury trial. His client is African-American, and from an area where the majority of the population of the judicial district population is mostly black. When the jury panel of 200, from which 12 will be picked, is led into the courtroom, all 200 are white.
In this book, readers will be reminded of the virtuous qualities of Atticus Finch when learning about the public defenders in our justice system. For anyone interested in the U.S. justice system, this would be a pivotal and a sensible choice as a read to pick up. It would be perfect for lawyers who really want to understand about parts of the U.S. legal system. President Obama recently said, “That history can’t be a sword to justify injustice, or a shield against progress, but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past -- how to break the cycle. A roadway toward a better world.”
Gideon’s Children is a book worthy of your time, whether for those cosy winter evenings at home or a perfect read in the quieter moments to ponder over life. It becomes quite clear in the book that the author’s generation has endured so much in times which we should not forget but rather learn from and make sure that such bad times don’t happen again.
When it comes to writing books, it is always the original ideas that win, and this is one that most people have been waiting for someone to write about. This book is very well-researched, well-written, and thoroughly deserves to be read and reviewed by mainstream global media outlets. The author provides the readers with factual information and very useful messages on a subject that is crucial to those who take us safely from A to B. The author does this all with an entertaining and witty song throughout. It is a pleasure to read what he has written - so much more beautiful and interesting than anything else that you will find in any aviation related magazine.
The only problem here is that I, or anyone for that matter, sadly cannot reveal the identity of the author. Which is a shame, because when you read the amount of excruciating detail that he has gone into in laying out the crude fundamental reasons of why pilots and cabin-crew fail to get a good night sleep, only then you end up realising how fortunate those are that are reading this subject. I appreciate that the author provides interesting facts with a winsome sense of fun, and sometimes with silly-clever interludes, but on the whole there is a lot of pertinent information about a serious subject at hand.
It goes without saying that for a demanding job as being an airport pilot (and also cabin crew), getting the license and qualifying to get the job is only the first step in something that can be a rewarding career. However, the real challenge is to fight off the fatigue that comes with the job (it can make or break a career- and that’s one of the many reasons why you need a Class 1 Medical to be an airline pilot).
For most passengers, a single 12-hour flight can be enough to put off flying for a while- imagine doing that day-in day-out for the rest of your career. Pilots who fly internationally have to deal with jetlag and the weird times at which they land/take-off all the time, and they have to be fully mentally and physically fit for that. It is not easy by any means. Weird sleep patterns can have a disastrous effect on your body. In many cases, crew only have up to 48 hours of layover time before they turn-around and fly again. Low-cost and regional crew also have to deal with such challenges (though not with jetlag), but imagine starting at 3am and finishing at 1am the following day without a rest and aircraft delays, and then have to start again the following day- that’s the life of a low-cost airline pilot.
Many pilots and cabin-crew choose to find various ways to fight of their the pressures of the job - binge drinking (not everyone, of course), sleeping tablets, anti-migraine tablets, chain smoking etc. are all well-known habits that are practised in the industry (it is very difficult to get into and stay in the industry and very easy to get out of the industry). But how do you effectively end up enjoying a good night sleep on a layover? How do you manage to do that, especially if you are working for a not so well-known airline, where they stick the crew up in the cheapest hotel possible, complete with bed bugs and noisy neighbours?
Well, thankfully this book lifts the lid on a subject which everyone in the airline industry wonders about, but nobody has had the time to write about. I think every pilot, whether they are a trainee, experienced, a Top Gun… and even if they have flown Air Force One for the U.S. President, should get a copy of this book, grab a freshly brewed coffee (preferably not the one you get on planes), and cherish every word. In actual fact, this book would come handy to other insomniacs, especially doctors, nurses, night-time police helicopter pilots and so on.
The highly respected and experienced author works for a major airline (cannot give name) as an Airbus A380 Captain, and he has been all over the world and in all kinds of situations for the past 30 years – in other words, he’s seen and done it all from Dhaka to Guangzhou to Malta to Zanzibar and in other far flung places.
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