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Twelve Angry Men [Paperback]

Reginald Rose , David Mamet

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Book Description

Aug. 29 2006 Penguin Classics
 A landmark American drama which inspired a classic film and a Broadway revival

Reginald Rose's landmark American drama was a critically acclaimed teleplay, and went on to become a cinematic masterpiece in 1957 starring Henry Fonda, for which Rose wrote the adaptation. A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic belief in the U.S. legal system. The story's focal point, known only as Juror Eight, is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal biases. Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture of America, at its best and worst, to form.
This edition features an introduction by David Mamet.

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About the Author

Reginald Rose (1920–2002) won three Emmy awards for television writing as well as an Oscar for the feature-length adaptation of Twelve Angry Men.

David Mamet 's Glengarry Glen Ross won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984. He is also the author of Writing in Restaurants and On Directing Film, both available from Penguin.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The burden of proof is on the prosecution... that's in the Constitution." Sept. 22 2006
By Luan Gaines - Published on
Twelve Angry Men is one of those American classics that has grown more memorable over the years, an examination of a judicial system that allows each man his day in court with a jury of his peers. Although written in 1954, the play remains relevant in its intent. Juror Eight is pivotal, the one man who refuses to take the easy way out, requesting a logical examination of the facts before jumping to conclusions. The result of this one man's stand is significant, a gradual shifting of opinions as the other jurors speak their personal concerns, assumptions and general willingness to participate in the process in a meaningful way.

Each of the jurors, like Americans in general, brings his own mind set into the jury room. The evidence as presented acceptable to the majority, the first inclination of the majority is to vote the accused guilty. To further complicate the drama, the room is unbearably hot, some of the jurors anxious to escape the sweltering crucible of the small space, unwilling to put in the time or energy necessary to reach common agreement. Yet Juror Eight holds out, refusing to give in to the pressure of the more verbal jurors, calmly arguing the facts of the case and asking his fellow members to reconsider their opinions. Over time, the more thoughtful members become willing to discuss the troublesome aspects of the case before them, although those who have no patience chafe at the changing of opinion.

The beauty of this play lies in its simplicity, democracy in its purest and most practical form, when a single voice speaks to reasoned consideration. Despite the complexities of the various personalities and their views on crime, law and order and life in general, reason prevails, each character opening to the extraordinary experience of sharing opinions, calmly discussing the pertinent details of the case and reaching a decision based on more than impulse. While the play is dated by the composition of a twelve-man jury, commonplace at the time, the message is unchanged by the intervening years. As simple as its premise, Twelve Angry Men is a civics lesson in play form, a reminder of the legal tenets of a Democratic society. Luan Gaines/2006.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book April 8 2014
By Isela - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A beautiful classic. An easy and quick read, with an amazing plot. I loved the dialogue and tension that draws you in to that jury room.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve Angry Men Jan. 12 2014
By book4sell - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Great book! For a play, not your typical read, it was great! It was short, entertaining, and the title is perfect. Shows such character and keeps the reader hooked! A job well done!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! May 24 2008
By LeeLee - Published on
I teach this play in high school, and students just love it. If you use the book with the movie, they can study the texts and learn a lot about what is the truth and the value of fighting for it and overcoming our laziness. It also explains well the jury system and racism in the 1950s. Overall you teach them a lot about character and a lot about America. The movie is also excellent.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best courtroom drama ever written! March 12 2008
By Patricia Truty - Published on
Long before any John Grisham novel, there was Twelve Angry Men. I had to read this play in grade school, and it is the reason why I am hooked on both mysteries and plays to this day. As you read, you imagine yourself sitting in that jury room and how you would be thinking and reacting in the same situation. The movie, too, is just as superb!

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