13 Books About The O.J. Simpson Trial To Read If 'American Crime Story' Piqued Your Interest
This Tuesday night, the murder trial of O.J. Simpson will wind down for the second time, as Season 1 of FX's American Crime Story comes to its conclusion. Inevitably, The People v. O.J. Simpson's finale will follow the events of the real trial that took place in 1995, which saw Simpson acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But as this show's very existence attests, the story didn't end there — not by a long shot. Our country's fascination with the infamous case was only just beginning, and would be buoyed for the next two decades thanks to a series of books published about the O.J. Simpson trial.
The books poured out of every shadowy corner of the case, from legal experts to expert witnesses, from the prosecutors to the defenders, from friends of the victims to friends of Simpson — even from Simpson himself. No one person could possibly read every book written on the subject, so I've winnowed the mountain of titles down to the 13 quintessential tomes you should consider reading if you were a fan of The People v. O.J. Simpson … starting with the one that inspired the show itself.
Screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flynt) adapted Season 1 of American Crime Story from this 1996 book by CNN and The New Yorker legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
In 2007, over a decade after the murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman, Reuters reported that Goldman's family successfully sued for the rights to If I Did It , a book allegedly penned by Simpson detailing how he would have hypothetically committed the crime. They published it with the subtitle "Confessions Of The Killer." In 2014, Simpson's former manager Norman Pardo claimed to the Huffington Post that the book had actually been written by a ghostwriter, and that Simpson only claimed authorship in exchange for $600,000.
Two years after Simpson was acquitted, prosecutor Marcia Clark released this tell-all, which chronicled the case step-by-step, from jury selection to the controversial verdict. She also didn't shy away from her own tumultuous personal life, including the divorce she was going through at the same time.
4. In Contempt
One year before Clark's book hit the stands, her co-prosecutor Christopher Darden published his own exposé — perhaps most intriguing for detailing both his personal relationship with Clark and his thought process behind the iconic glove debacle.\
Rest assured, the prosecution wasn't the only side to tell their story. Simpson defense attorney (and LegalZoom founder) Robert Shapiro also wrote about his own perspective of the case, including the conflicting personalities of the Dream Team and why he believes there was enough "reasonable doubt" to acquit.
This 1996 memoir from the other key member of Simpson's Dream Team is less directly connected to the case at hand than others on this list, but no less interesting for getting inside Cochran's own mindset when it comes to his life and career. And don't worry, there is a chapter on the Simpson trial.
Although Simpson's appellate advisor only had a peripheral role in American Crime Story, the real man still had plenty to say about the case itself, using the Simpson trial to illuminate issues that plague our justice system: including race, power, and wealth.
Fuhrman is undoubtedly one of the most controversial figures in the Simpson trial — for reasons ACS audiences saw for themselves in last week's episode, which tackled the notorious "Fuhrman tapes." Get his own side of the story in this 1996 book.
Ever wondered how the jury in the Simpson case was able to come up with a verdict after less than four hours of deliberation? Let forewoman Amanda Cooley and fellow jurors Carrie Bess and Marsha Rubin-Jackson tell you in their own words.
Remember that book Brown Simpson's former best friend Faye Resnick was writing — alongside a National Enquirer columnist — early in ACS Season 1? You know, the one that detailed the legendary "Brentwood hello"? Well, now you can read all about it for yourself… if you dare.
Suspects, lawyers, detectives, witnesses… What about the victims themselves? Ron Goldman's family, concerned that their beloved son was getting lost in the hubbub surrounding the case — which mostly focused on Simpson's relationship with his ex-wife — published this 1997 book telling their son's life story. (Ron's sister Kim Goldman would later publish two more works, Media Circus: A Look At Private Tragedy In The Public Eye and Can't Forgive: My 20-Year Battle With O.J. Simpson .)
Bugliosi helped launch our modern true crime craze with Helter Skelter , his 1974 non-fiction work about the Manson murders. He brought his same incisiveness to Outrage , which takes no quarter in its takedown of everyone involved in the Simpson case, from the Dream Team to the prosecution to Judge Lance Ito.
If you want to be ahead of the curve, you'll tackle this book, from "internationally acclaimed private investigator" William C. Dear (whose claims to fame include the FOX program Alien Autopsy). And why would you be interested in this particular work? Because it's being adapted into a six-part docu-series titled Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent , coming to Investigation Discovery next year, produced and narrated by The West Wing's Martin Sheen.
The O.J. Simpson case didn't end in 1995… and there's no need for it to end now, either! You've got to kill the time until American Crime Story Season 2 somehow, right?
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