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Anyone who has sat on a jury or followed a high-profile trial usually comes to the realization that a trial, particularly a criminal trial, is really a performance. Verdicts seem determined as much by which lawyer can best connect with the jurors as by what the evidence might suggest. In this celebration of the American trial as a great cultural achievement. Robert Burns explores how these legal proceedings bring about justice. He explores the rich narrative structure of the trial, beginning with the lawyers' opening statements, which establish opposing moral frameworks in which to interpret the evidence. In the succession of witnesses stories compete and are held in tension. And then at some point during the performance, a sense of the right thing to do arises among the jurors. Burns's investigation draws on careful descriptions of what trial lawyers do, the rules governing their actions, interpretations of actual trial material, social science findings, and a broad philosophical and political appreciation of the trial as a unique vehicle of American self-government.