Kafka Comes to America, By Steven T. Wax

Wax is a federal public defender in Oregon who details the effect of the ‘war on terror’ on two innocent men – Brandon Mayfield, the Portland attorney wrongfully accused of involvement in the Madrid train bombings, and Adel Hamad, a Sudanese relief worker wrongfully arrested in Pakistan and held for more than five years at Guantanamo. The book is part legal thriller (Wax does a good job explaining the complexities of his cases – he defends both men – and habeus corpus litigation) and part critique of civil liberties abuses. Wax has an unshaking belief in the rule of law and cannot comprehend why the government continues (despite multiple rebukes from the Supreme Court) to refuse to actually charge and try (the Kafka metaphor is an apt one) the men it claims are “the worst of the worst” (a claim that Wax illustrates as false, at least in the cases of his clients). No idealist, he knows that terrorism represents a real threat, he just argues for operating both within the legal system and the Constitutional system of checks and balances that has served the country well for over 200 years.

4 Out of 4 Stars

Reviewed By: Jennifer Arnold, Library Services


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