Henry A. Kelly, professor of English at UCLA, has published many studies in both literature and history, and he is the author of several studies of the devil, including two previous books, The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft and The Devil at Baptism. Sadly, his new book combines close scholarship with deconstructionist principles. Though it contains thorough studies of the Old and New Testaments, pseudepigrapha and the church fathers, Satan has a fundamental flaw: it dismisses the prob- lem of evil. Kelly vehemently denies that there is any such thing as evil (tell that to people in Darfur rather than to an academic audience), though he grants that some things may be “bad” or “nasty.” Since he evades the problem of evil, he cannot take his subject seriously, which accounts for the book’s numerous ironic flippancies.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).