American 2017 / Best Book Law / Finalist Multicuturalism

U.S. Book News 2017 / Finalist U.S. History

Authors Talk About It 2017 / Honorable Mention: Nonfiction -- featured 2017 holiday gift recommendation


“The definitive book on the Newton Trial."    

                                                                       D. Lowell Jensen, Newton Prosecutor


“Lise has done a wonderful job in both capturing a movement and its historical context...anyone interested in history, courtroom drama, or criminal justice should read this gripping account of an all too often forgotten chapter of the 20th century. "

                                                                      Barry Scheck, Co-Director Innocence Project

                                                                                               Professor of Law

                                                                                               Benjamin Cardozo School of Law

“A clear recognition and exposition of the quest for justice and equality by one man for all people within the parameters of a trial that illuminates the racial divide of a nation.”


                                                                    Melvin Newton,  Professor Emeritus, Ethnic Studies

                                                                                                Merritt College                                                                                                                                          (older brother of Huey Newton) 

American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton 

By Lise Pearlman [Regent Press 2016]

On the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, Pearlman’s new book American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton compares the explosive state of American race relations in 1968 to race relations today with insights from key participants and observers of the internationally-watched Oakland, California death-penalty trial that launched the Panther Party and transformed the American jury “of one’s peers” to the diverse cross-section we often take for granted today. 

The book includes comments from Newton prosecutor Lowell Jensen, pioneering black jury foreman David Harper and TV journalist Belva Davis, as well as from Huey Newton’s older brother Melvin Newton, former Panthers Kathleen Cleaver, David Hillliard and Emory Douglas. It also includes comments from civil rights experts including Bryan Stevenson, Barry Scheck and John Burris.

This book complements the nonprofit documentary project of the same name for which Pearlman is co-producer on behalf of  Arc of Justice Productions, Inc. 

Praise for The Sky's the Limit

“This thorough text stands apart ... It deserves a place on the shelf of anyone interested in legal studies, the radical social movements of the 1960s, or African-American studies.”

Alyssa Vincent, The Library Journal

Vol. 137, Issue 3, p.116, Feb. 15, 2012



“Racism is ingrained in America’s birth, and it has been a long fight against it ever since. [In] 'The Sky’s the Limit: People v. Newton, The Real Trial of the 20th Century?’ former Judge Lise Pearlman argues that this court case ... allowed America to eventually elect its first non-white president. . . . a fascinating look at this very important case of the twentieth century.”

James A Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review 

Wisconsin Bookwatch, March 2012



“What a phenomenal book! ... an essential resource ... for engaging ...  students in exploring key social questions of the past century.”

Deborah Menkart, Exe. Director, Teaching for Change

Washington, D.C.

The Sky’s The Limit: People v. Newton, The Real Trial of the 20th Century?

By Lise Pearlman [Regent Press 2012]


The Sky’s The Limit: People v. Newton, The Real Trial of the 20th Century? [Regent Press 2012], winner of the 2013 USA Book News International Book Award for Law, Finalist for U.S. History and 2012 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal Award for Multiculturalism. An early morning shootout between Black Panther leader Huey Newton and two Oakland policemen put Newton on trial for his life in the volatile summer of 1968. The accused revolutionary put America itself on trial for 400 years of racism. The defense focused international attention on a superpower rocked by two political assassinations and bitterly divided over the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.


At the time, the FBI considered the Panthers the greatest internal threat to America’s security. So did Party spokesman Eldridge Cleaver, who predicted warfare in the nation’s streets if Newton were condemned to die. The author contends the diverse jury’s surprising verdict still reverberates today—had it turned out otherwise Barack Obama would likely not be President.