Contact: Stephanie Pistello

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Award-winning Local Author, Professor at UK College of Law to Release Second Book

LEXINGTON, KY, September 18, 2017 – Richard H. Underwood, the Edward T. Breathitt Professor of Law and winner of two Independent Publishing Book Awards, will debut his latest book Gaslight Lawyers: Criminal Trials & Exploits in Gilded Age New York, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in the mall at Lexington Green on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

Beginning at 7:00 P.M., he will discuss and sign copies of his book, which paints a serious but entertaining portrait of colorful characters, courtroom drama, and the emerging importance of forensic science and medical-legal jurisprudence in Gilded Age New York City. It is “an accessible, marvelously rigorous account of a bygone legal era” (Kirkus Reviews).

From the 1870s to the early 1900s, post-Civil War New York City was becoming a wonder city of commerce and invention, art and architecture, and emerging global prominence. It was also a city of crime, corruption, poverty, slums, and tenements teeming with newcomers and standing in sharp contrast to the city mansions and the extravagant lifestyle of the rising American aristocracy. The New York City of those days is not just the venue of the intriguing true stories told in this book—it is also a supporting actor in them.

Drawing from the experience of a legal scholar and from a wealth of meticulous research gleaned from trial transcripts, other court records, contemporary newspaper stories, and memoirs, Richard H. Underwood reconstructs and recounts the absorbing legal drama of a number of spectacular criminal cases. Gaslight Lawyers is a compelling, witty, and insightful account of an important era in American legal history, individual human experiences and tragedies, and society at large. It reminds us to acknowledge and deal with biases that continue to manifest themselves in our criminal justice systems today and to be mindful that we “are the guardians of the law.”

Recently accepted to the 2017 Kentucky Book Fair (November 18 in Lexington, KY) and the 30th Annual Buckeye Book Fair (November 4, 2017 in Wooster, OH), Professor Underwood said “My new book ‘Gaslight Lawyers’ tells many entertaining stories of the shenanigans of lawyers and judges in the criminal courts of New York City during the Gilded Age. “Hopefully it will remind readers that: ‘(No) country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law, and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more.’”

RICHARD H. UNDERWOOD is the Edward T. Breathitt Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. He is the award-winning author of CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads (2016) and the co-author of several books on evidence, trial technique, and legal ethics. Richard has published numerous articles on the law, legal history, perjury, famous trials, and true crime, and he has lectured or presented papers on diverse subjects at conferences across the United States and in London and Amsterdam.