Goodreads Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7: The Official Transcript

Three star review, originally posted here on December 27, 2021.

The title and description are both misleading for this audiobook. This is not a transcript of the trial; this is a carefully curated selection of excerpts from the trial transcript. I expected this much going in, since the trial lasted all day every day for several months. What I was NOT expecting was to find that virtually every excerpt would be a highlight of interactions involving Judge Hoffman. You are not going to learn the facts of the case here. You will, instead, learn what an utter bafoon Judge Hoffman was, and how crazy and unprofessional the courtroom frequently became. If you’ve seen the movie (and you should see it- it’s fantastic), then you already know this part. Was it eye-opening and interesting to hear the Hoffman-related selections? Yes. Was it well read by the amazing superstar actors involved? Absolutely.

But… after already getting a flavor of the trial’s injustices and antics from reading about it online and watching the movie, I was really hoping that something billing itself as The Official Transcript would be, you know, the actual transcript. I was hoping to get more into the weeds about what evidence was presented, how the sides ran their cases, who testified to what, etc. The less-sexy stuff that you don’t get in a Wikipedia article. That did not happen here.

It was still worth a listen, I guess, but I really wish it had been advertised correctly so that I could go in with proper expectations. In the closing they say that this was originally going to be called something else like Judge Hoffman On Trial (it was better than that but I can’t remember), and I think that would have been a much more appropriate title.

In short, if you want to read the trial transcript, don’t bother. If you want to read about a truly terrible judge, read on.


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