The book consists of chapters that are explained in their very beginning – in a half a page of summary – with the rest of them consisting of the letters that Thomas J. Dodd, Senator Dodd’s father, wrote to Grace, his beloved wife. In the beginning the book is not as interesting as expected: Tom Dodd had been compaining to his wife that the trial had been slown down too often and for too long mainly because of the Russians but also because of the French and the British to some extent.
He had been repeating in his long and frequent letters how he would go back home because of that dragging until he rose from the position of a staff lawyer to become the number two prosecutor in the U.S. contingent. Even though he went back home for Christmas (the Nuremberg trial lasted for about 15 months), he never stopped writing to her frequently (every day or every two days) and telling her how much he loved her.
It looked as if he was very committed to his love and marriage the passion for which had dated since 1934, or about nine years before his departure to Nuremberg. I wouldn’t say that he was lying when he told her numerous times that he was very busy and wrote to her very long letters in the meantime. Some of the letters were even written during court sessions which I don’t think that negatively affected the trial, as a lot of people praised him for his extraordinary ability to crossexaminate and thus find the truth through the defendants’ confessions.
I think that the last 1/3 of the book is the most important one though. There were a lot of speculations in Connecticut as to whether or not he would run for Governor or for U.S. Senator, combined with certain intrigues formed by opponents of his in the Democratic Party. In his letters to Grace, he accused some of them of being corrupt and opportunists, and he reiterated to her several times that he was not going to run for a political office – at least for the upcoming race – and wanted to have more time with his family for at least a certain period of time immediately after the end of that long historic trial.
In the very last ten letters, he appeared to be most busy and desperate for his family because the frequency of his writing to her significantly diminished. In this case, one would wonder whether he had contributed to the slower process beforehand, but based on the people’s counts as well as the content of his letters to her, I believe that he was as efficient as he could – with or without having written her the letters – and therefore the time he had spent writing letters to her had no impact on the speed of the trial, but that is a question whose answer, I think, is hard to find.
Besides the increasing love that he was showing with the final countdown of the Nuremberg trial as well as the intrigues that he was talking about regarding his possible nomination for the Democratic primaries for Governor or for U.S. Senator, I think that the last 1/3 of the book is the most important one because it tells us that people can change in the future, or maybe that some people are hypocrites. Thomas J. Dodd accused acquaintances of his of being opportunists and corrupt, yet he would be censured in 1967 by the U.S. Senate in his second term as a U.S. Senator from Connecticut which would cost him the nomination of the Democratic Party in the primaries in a bid for reelection, he would be accused of alcoholism and corruption by his bookkeeper and he would run as an independent (Joe Liebermann also ran as an independent in his last reelection), ending up losing his Senate seat months before dying of a heart attack.
And last, but not least, I think that the book is a must read for Law School students. While they are not going to improve their interpretation of the law, they will be able to better understand the procedures of a trial in regards to who does their job well and how they do it well.