Hour of the Wolf: An Experiment in Ageless Living
By Paul R. Lipton
Reviewed by Arthur J. England, Jr.
Some lawyers translate their life experience into a novel, or share their perspective of the law or the government as they knew it. Paul Lipton has done something in Hour of the Wolf that is unique and far more important. He has overlaid his personal life experiences with an insight that offers readers an ageless verity that routinely eludes almost everyone — the loss of day not lived in full is time irretrievably lost. The opening sentence of his book says it all: “One day. Once gone, it is gone forever. It can never be recaptured.”
Paul draws on what we’ve all experienced: the wakeful moment at two or three a.m. in the night when sleep gives way to unbidden thoughts of mistakes and bad things that happened during the day. But Paul has refused to be defined by the Hour of the Wolf, and instead found the courage to assess, adjust, and overcome bad decisions and not be their victim. He postulates that anyone can escape the midnight mind, and shows how each day holds the possibility of change and the excitement of the next day’s adventure.
For example, Paul finds it corrosive to be asked if he is a “senior citizen,” which carries society’s implied limitations and definitions for him. Instead, he has chosen not to discriminate against himself by an arbitrary age number (however well-motivated), but to define what has value for him on a daily basis. Drawing on his personal travels, readings, a life-threatening health experience, and a range of personal, business, and family tragedies and friendships, Paul found that he could be present in the moments of a single day. Actually living each day in the present was found to be more rewarding than wasting time thinking what a good day might be. And that meant making conscious choices that were real, and not fanciful.
In his work and in his personal relationships, Paul is a man who listens to others, discards the undoable and improbable, and transitions his discourse with others from fanciful and false choices to solutions that can be achieved. Paul sees life as a story unfolding without a script, and he has learned to enjoy the thrill of not having a playbill on the nightstand in the morning. He has chosen to make his own daily destiny, to reject worry as a limitation, and to live each day at full throttle. For Paul, the antidote for the unexpected, and for the obvious futility of the many things we encounter in life, is the appreciation of a single day. He has learned that the things we all either want or admire in life — such as creativity, bravery, honor, fearlessness, wisdom, hope, and achievement — are not tied to any age, and that age is not a limitation unless we impose it on ourselves. Each moment is both the first and last of its time.
Hour of the Wolf is a vivid testimonial that each day matters, and that we make hundreds of large, small, and impromptu decisions each day that could change our lives and those of our family members, for better or worse. Hour of the Wolf teaches that it is never too late to make a decision to change, to make time for ourselves, and to really be present when we’re with family and friends. Hour of the Wolf provides a roadmap to make our lives more full by accepting the notion there is more than we know, and that fulfillment comes only when we tune out the midnight caller, continue to learn and grow, and learn to enjoy life on a daily basis without taking ourselves too seriously.
Hour of the Wolf (206 pages) is published by Mulberry Harbor Press.
The late Arthur J. England, Jr., practiced in Coral Gables.
Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
By Gilbert King
Reviewed by Ellen B. Gwynn
Between 1946 and 1952, future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall spent a lot of time working on a criminal case in Lake County, Florida, where four black men had been falsely accused of sexually assaulting a white woman. Her despicable act set in motion a racist firestorm that would kill two of the defendants, terrorize the many African-Americans who lived in the area, and summon a remarkable amount of courage in the attorneys and civil rights activists who labored to ensure that the defendants were given a fair trial. They never were.
Lawyers who read this riveting book, which recently won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, will be ashamed of the role played by law enforcement and the courts. They did not simply fail to preserve the integrity of the justice system for these defendants, but acted in concert to deny the defendants any pretense of a presumption of innocence and due process. The critical nature of some of the evidence excluded from the trial or never made known to the defense, the ridiculous nature of some of the evidence admitted, the prosecutorial misconduct permitted, the collusion between law enforcement, state government, the trial judge, and the coroner, etc., show that the rule of law did not exist in Lake County for the Groveland Boys. The redeeming facets of this otherwise heartbreaking story are the slow but steady victories scored by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP, and the cracks in the edifice of racism shown by some of the participants who began to realize that the system was rotten and the defendants were innocent.
The author takes us through the suspenseful Groveland case and provides background on key figures and on race relations in central Florida in the late 1940s. The author was given access to old FBI files on the case and files from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that had been closed for decades. Investigating agents of the FBI, whose reports were kept from the defense, concluded that Lake County was not controlled by “politics, money, the citrus industry, or the law, but by an embittered contingent of the Ku Klux Klan intent upon codifying a racial caste system.” Astonishingly, the paperback edition contains two letters to the author from white readers who had grown up in Lake County yet had never known the story of the Groveland Boys until they read Mr. King’s book.
Anyone who does not already have a clear understanding of this disturbing and vicious part of Florida’s legal history will be enlightened by Devil in the Grove. In the end, Thurgood Marshall’s time spent in the Lake County Circuit Court was a crucial part of his effort “to prove that equality in courtrooms was every bit as vital” as the “fight for equality in classrooms and in voting booths.”
Devil in the Grove (361 pages) is published by HarperCollins Publishers.
Ellen B. Gwynn is a Florida Bar member and a staff attorney with the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.
The Florida Litigation Guide, 2013 Edition
By Marc A. Wites
Reviewed by Jonathan S. Burns
The Florida Litigation Guide is an invaluable (and very inexpensive) tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide, which is an online publication, lists the elements of popular common law causes of action, the citations for the most recent Florida state and federal court cases that cite each action’s elements, followed by the applicable statute of limitations and defenses.
Marc A. Wites, the author, is often asked how he thought of the idea for The Florida Litigation Guide. The answer likely conjures up memories — good and bad — for all lawyers of the trials and tribulations of life as a first-year associate. During his first year of practice, senior lawyers in the firm routinely asked him to find a case citation for the most recent case in a particular state or federal district citing the elements of a certain cause of action. The senior lawyers needed the citations for a variety of reasons, ranging from the drafting of complaints and summary judgment motions to appellate briefs. It was from his hysteria in satisfying these requests, which often hit his desk an hour before the service deadline, that the idea for The Florida Litigation Guide was born.
No longer need new lawyers panic upon receipt of a request from the senior partner to “quickly” find the most recent Florida Supreme Court case citing the elements required to obtain a temporary injunction for the partner’s emergency motion. Experienced lawyers will also benefit from the ease at which they will locate information used in daily practice. From drafting complaints and answers, to motion practice, jury instructions, and appeals, to analyzing potential claims, the Guide will be your starting and end-point for the research needed to build the cornerstones of your cases.
The contents of The Florida Litigation Guide originally appeared in The Florida Civil Litigation Handbook: Actions, Defenses, Evidence and Rules, which was published annually by Matthew Bender & Company from 1997 through 2000. Since then, the author has published the Guide, updating it annually.
The Guide costs $39.99. Even if used only once, it is more than worth the price. Visit www.flalitguide.com to purchase.
Jonathan S. Burns practices with Wites & Kapetan, Lighthouse Point.
Book Review Guidelines
Bar members are encouraged to submit book reviews of 350 words or fewer for publication. The reviews should be related to law, but may be practical, esoteric, entertaining, or fiction. Reviews should include the number of pages and the name of the publisher. Book reviews should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.