Turow, Scott: Pleading Guilty
(researched by Brandis Russell)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Turow, Scott. Pleading Guilty. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Published simultaneously in Canada by HarperCollinsCanadaLtd New York, New York 1993

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition was published in black cloth with green cardboard glued on top. In addition, other first trade editions were published in leather and in black cloth with a silver title impression, green beads and black decorations.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

The book contains 386 pages and is 24 cm. Pages 1-4 are unumbered and pages 5-386 are numbered. There is a total of 202 leaves.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

There is no introduction. However, Turow wrote an acknowledgement to his colleagues at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, and the page following the acknowledgement contains a quote from "The Confessions of St. Augustine." It reads as follows: "Where was my heart to flee for refuge from my heart? Whither was I to fly, where I would not follow? In what place should I not prey to myself?"

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?


7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The book has been kept in excellent condition. The dust jacket has been well kept and the artwork is quite myterious and elusive. The typeface is that of a typewriter and the font is a large readable size. The chapters are divided by a tape recorder number and the day and time the tape was dictated. In addition, each chapter is subdivided into different sections noted by either a Roman numeral (I.) or a capital letter (A.). Basically the book's layout is that of an offical report or brief.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper is made of a thick stock. It has a rough texture and is a yellowish tint with a dull tone. The edges of the pages are uneven and ragged.

11 Description of binding(s)

The pages have been folded using the octovos method. The pages are gathered and bonded with glue against a thick stock of paper the length of the book. Space has been left in the spine in order for the pages to be moved with ease.

12 Transcription of title page


13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

The manuscripts of Pleading Guilty remain in Turow's hands, and he has not permitted scholars to examine the items he has.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

A limited, leather-bound edition was privately printed by the Franklin Library and personally signed by the author, exclusively for the signed First Edition Society.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

In addition to the first edition released in 1993, Farrar, Straus and Giroux also released a first trade editon of "Pleading Guilty".

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

"Pleading Guilty", under the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has three printings of the first edition.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

1993 - Voyager Company 1993 - Editora 1993 - Viking 1993 - Books on Tape 1993 - Emece 1993 - Franklin Library 1993 - Simon & Schuster Audioworks 1993 - G.K. Hall 1993 - HarperCollins 1993/1994 - Penguin 1993/1994 - Warner Vision Books 1994 - William A. Thomas Braille Bookstore 1994 - Ediciones B 1994 - Sifriyat Ma'ariv 1995 - Mysterious Press 1995 - Paragon,Chivers Press 1996 - Knizni Klub

6 Last date in print?

The book is still in print under Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

The 1995 Bowker Annual reports that the Warner reprint sold 2,227,175 mass market copies.
Barnes and Nobles notes that 875,000 copies were sold of the first printing (source: Publishers Weekly).
The figures of total copies sold were not permitted to be released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

According to The 1994 Bowker Annual, the book was released June 1993 and during that year 710,152 copies were sold.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

The advertisement sample that follows was obtained from Publishers Weekly (August - September 1993), pg.13.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

Scott Turow's web site, www.scottturow.com, is self- promotion for himself and his books. The site opens with several inspiring quotes and a display of his first book. Links lead to information on other books, questions, a short biography, his thoughts on mystery novels and influences in his life and style of writing. Some of the books link to the publisher's web sites.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

The publisher Voyager Company released the first electronic edition of the book in 1993. The computer disk was an electronic disk with the full text novel. The program allowed interaction with the text, such as locating words and phrases.
Cassette or recording versions have also been released. In 1994, a publisher released a 3 cassette recording that was for the use of blind and physically handicapped. Additional cassette recordings were made by Books on Tape, and Simon & Schuster Audioworks.
A braille version of the book was published in January 1994 by William A. Thomas Braille Bookstore.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

The translations are as follows: 1. Priznani viny: Knizni Klub, 1996 (unknown translation) 2. Presunto culpable: Ediciones B, 1994 (Spanish) 3. Declarando-se culpado: Editora Record, 1993 (Portuguese) 4. Hoda'ah ba-ashmah: Sifriyat Ma'ariv, 1994 (Hebrew) 5. Me declaro culpable: Emece, 1993 (Spanish)

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

The book could be considered a part of a series of other Turow novels that take place in the same setting of Kindle County.

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

"Making money was not my intention. I wrote out of the same impulse that everyone else writes out of-I wrote because there were parts of my experience that I could best deal with that way. Obviously it was enorm
ously fulfilling" (www.galenet.com). Scott Turow has had a career and life that have been fulfilling and rewarding, but profitable as well. The Silver Dagger Award, membership in the Crime Writers Association, a partnership in a Chicago law firm and a m
illion dollar writing career are symbolic of Turow's life of fulfillment and culminate the rich background of this successful writer.
Born in Chicago on April 12, 1949, Turow was the son of David (an obstetrician) and Rita (a writer) Turow. Growing up as the son of an obstetrician, Turow learned the principles and ethics of hard work and determination early on. This drive to succeed p
aved the road for Turow's future success. However, the story of this blooming writer really began in Turow's high school years. Turow attended New Trier High School and become editor of the school newspaper, where his interest in writing grew. After graduating from high school Turow's motivation to write lead him to Amherst College in Massachusetts, where as an English major he
began to write short stories and novels. After graduating in 1970 and earning his bachelor's degree, Turow won a fellowship to the Stanford University creative writing program. While teaching creative writing at Stanford he worked on a novel about Chic
ago called "The Way Things Are". During his schooling at Stanford, and during the course of writing this novel, Turow developed an interest in studying law. Due to this new found interest, after graduating from Stanford University in 1974, he entered H
arvard Law School the following year. Even as a Harvard Law student his desire to be a writer still possessed him. After the numerous rejections of his first novel, "The Way Things Are", his desire to be a writer continued to burn within him and drive
his literary ambitions. While at Harvard he managed to work around his busy schedule to complete his next literary piece, "One L: An Inside Account of Life in the First Year at Harvard". Since its publication, the book has become required reading for t
hose considering a career in law. Turow graduated from Harvard in 1978 to return to Chicago to work with the United States Attorney's office, serving as the lead prosecutor in several high visibility federal trials. Finding it difficult to juggle a ful
l time career while trying to fulfill his dreams as a writer, Turow quit his job at the U.S. Attorney's Office. During his three month hiatus he completed his third novel, "Presumed Innocent," and accepted an offer from Farrar, Straus to publish the boo
k. Turow's best-selling career was getting ready to begin. The introduction of "Presumed Innocent" to the mass audience was a smashing success, and lead the trail for several other successful books to follow. These include: "The Burden of Proof" (199
0), "Pleading Guilty" (1993), and "The Laws of Our Fathers" (1996). Today, Turow is a partner in the Chicago firm of Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal, an international law firm where he is a white-collar criminal lawyer. He shares his success with his wife and artist Annett. Turow's latest addition "Personal Injuries"
will be out in October 1999. When he speaks about the success of his books, he says, "?The mystery, is so looked down upon, yet it enthralls people. It delivers answers that life and certainly the courtroom cannot" (www.scottturow.com). Turow gives his
readers a magnifying glass to look into a world unlike their own. People are interested in Turow's novels because by looking through these magnifying glasses they are drawn into his stories. This great public interest has allowed Turow to become one o
f the most notable writers of his time.
Sources: www.galenet.com www.scottturow.com

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

By Siskel and Ebert standards of approval, "Pleading Guilty" receives one thumb up. The overall appraisal of "Pleading Guilty" upon its reception received mixed reviews from literary world critics to avid Turow r
eaders. To them, the overall plot of the book appeared to have captured readers. The tangled web of crime, murder, mystery and suspense kept readers on the edge of their seats waiting for the next unexpected moment. However, within this suspense thrill
ing "page turner" the book still seemed to lack a certain amount of depth and substance, contributing to its mediocre rating.
The format of the book is a lengthy transcript of a tape recording dictated by the main character, Mack Malloy. The use of this format made some readers feel "detached" and removed from the story. Further, in using this dictation format, the first pers
on narrative form in the opinion of some critics "trips Turow up, it causes his story to digress and stray away from the plot in the midst of a murder mystery. Turow's attempt to tie in a story of morality and values with a tale of crime and murder made
the plot confusing to follow. Critics tended to find this combination disturbing and hence added to the complex and bewildering tone of the book.
The central component that holds this book together, in light of an at times "ludicrous" and convoluted plot is the main character, Mack Malloy. Despite this convoluted plot, "Turow is more concerned with character than with any other element in his nove
l." The overwhelming sentiment was that you either hated him, or you loved him, but it was Malloy that kept involved with the novel. Malloy's "lackluster" persona was either someone readers could relate to or someone they despised. Malloy's life was
full of disappointment and his negative disposition left a few readers feeling depressed and disappointed in Turow's bleak construction of the character.
Although reviews were mixed about plot and character development, Turow's was not denied in his ability to interweave law and suspense into "a first-class entertainment written in an energetic, economical style." Turow validates his knowledge of the inn
er workings of a law firm by "explaining the minutiae of how a law firms and banks work without becoming too technical or endangering the clarity of his prose." In addition he gives his readers an inside look into the intense and at times crooked world o
f law. Overall, the intensity of the mystery and the reality of the law aspects of the book proved to be a best-selling combination for Scott Turow.
Sources: Los Angeles Times Book Review. June 13, 1993 Realbooks.com Washington Post World Book. June 27, 1993 Newsweek. July 5, 1993 Magill's Literary Annual 1994

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Contemporary reviews by readers considered "Pleading Guilty" "a giant step backwards from whatever literary merit Turow may have held." "Presumed Innocent " was better received by the public and seemed to be more reflective of Turow's craft. "Borrow don't buy", "A let down", "Grisham would have done and better job" were some of the reviews that reflected critics feeling of being let down . These reviews present a cl
ear contrast between "Pleading Guilty" and "Presumed Innocent" and suggest that Turow rode the success of the latter mentioned book.
Sources: Amazon.com

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

Bestsellers are novels that stand the test of time. Their longevity is associated with their appeal and popularity with the masses. Bestsellers captivate a large audience because of their ability to reflect and
capture the times. They transcend gender, race and cultural backgrounds through their capacity to create a message relevant and intriguing to all readers. One of the most intriguing elements of a best seller is its ability to intertwine elements of fant
asy and reality. This blend works in harmony because it allows readers to use their imagination, and at the same time explore elements of a reality unlike their own. Scott Turow's "Pleading Guilty's" success was driven by capitalizing on this novelty.
This 1993 bestseller of 16 weeks (the highest position reached was number two) artfully used this combination to create a novel captivating yet relevant to the lives of its readers and to the period of time.
Bestsellers often fall into two categories, novels that reflect the lifestyles people live, and novels that reflect the lifestyles people want to live. "Pleading Guilty" captured elements of both categories, reflecting the reality versus fantasy aspect o
f the novel. This book's reality is that it deals with real issues. "Pleading Guilty" was reflective of the times and the current issues of that period.
1993 was a period marked by a bomb plot, a cult stand-off, sluggish growth in the economy, major corporate layoffs, a slaying of an abortion doctor, and all in the wake of the riots and beating of Rodney King. It was a period of turbulence and uncertaint
y. According to "Facts on File 1993", statistics showed that May of 1993 was the first time since November 1991 that the jobless rate was below 7 percent. Although times had improved from previous years, the average consumer still feared for their job s
ecurity, the well-being of their children in such a threatening environment, and the decaying values and morals of society. Like the period, "Pleading Guilty" was also unpredictable and filled with uncertainty. The book uses issues such as layoffs, corr
uption and low morals and values as a backdrop to the plot. The novel follows the disappearance of a partner at a law firm as well as $5.6 million of the firm's fund. Mack Malloy, a former policeman and another partner at the firm is assigned to invest
igate the disappearances in order to not raise a scandal. The reader follows Malloy on his quest to find his friend and the money. Throughout his investigation he encounters real life scenarios. He deals with the death of his sister, he deals with a lo
ss sense of identity and stability in life, the fear of losing his job and an attempt to protect a friend. Mack is confronted with real issues which make elements of him more real and intimate to the reader.
Mack Malloy becomes the central character as well as the focus of the book. He is reflective of a then modern day Everyman, and his/her struggle to seek stability and security in a world of dissention. A review by Michael Adams in "Magill's Literary A
nnual 1994" suggests that Mack is an "ordinary" man who is accidentally given an opportunity to undercover the inner workings of a corrupt legal system. Mack's portrayal was reflective of the consumer of 1993 who could relate to the problems he faced in
his life. Mack was divorced, a single parent, a recovering alcoholic, a former policeman and lawyer, he was laid-off several times, was in fear of losing his current job, lost his motivation in life, and felt short changed by society and his family. Ma
ck faced many of the problems of the time and of his readers. He was a hard-working man thrown into a corrupt society trying to make the best of what he had. There were several facets of his character that any individual, male or female could have exper
ienced. The single parent, the fired employee are all scenarios typical to Everyman and the rigors they may face in life. Readers could relate to Mack because they could relate to his situations in life. In the eyes of many people he was symbolic of th
e disenfranchised, downtrodden and cheated citizen of the "system". Many best sellers include characters who are representative of these disenfranchised members of society. People pity these characters because they pity their own sentiments of disenfran
chisement. By forming a heighten level of sensitivity for the character's situations because they can relate to them, they form an attachment and loyalty to Mack. Most importantly, people read these books because they want to anticipate and experience
the character's victory. Mack's victory is in his ability to control his reality. Many people probably fantasize about controlling their reality. What is interesting is that, "These reality experiences immediately influence and are influenced by unco
nscious phantasy (unconscious fantasy)" (Segal, 14). Further, "Reality impinges an unconscious phantasy / it exerts a very strong influence on unconscious phantasy itself" (Segal, 15). Turow uses elements of fantasy throughout the text. Through the use
of fantasy to enhance reality, Mack's story not only becomes one people can relate to, but one they want to experience.
Fantasy in a novel is like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, it is the finishing touch. It creates a product that wets the literary appetite of its readers. Fantasy adds an interesting dynamic to a novel because it allows readers to test the limit
s of their imagination. Hanna Segal in her book, The contemporary Kleinians of London, states, "the interplay between phantasy and reality which [the author believes] molds our view of the world / it profoundly affects our personalities, it influences ou
r perceptions, and it plays a large part in determining our actions / according to Freud (1911), the basic function of phantasy is to fill the gap between desire and satisfaction?" This desire to fill the gap between desire and satisfaction is the alluri
ng quality of fantasies. Fantasy is alluring because it allows people to experience this desire in a life unlike their own. It allows people to escape from their own reality and live another. However, Segal responds to this notion by stating, "Phantasy
is not merely an escape from reality, but a constant and unavoidable accompaniment of real experiences, constantly interacting with them" (Segal, 14). In light of this theory, Mack's reality becomes the reader's reality.
The reality of "Pleading Guilty" blends murder, mystery, deception and millions of dollars to create a scenario in which the reader can live out their own tempting fantasies. The seductive lure of mystery and scandal have a spellbinding affect that make
the reader feel as though they are apart of the novel. This affect dominated the best selling charts. "Pleading Guilty" shared its best selling position with other highly publicized books of a similar content (from July 5, 1993). "The Client" was about
the biggest trial yet for a young defense attorney in the case of a suicide, witnessed by two young boys, of a lawyer. "The Scorpio Illusion" was about a beautiful, deadly terrorist and a former Naval intelligence officer who are drawn into a conspiracy
on an uncharted Caribbean island. "Cruel and Unusual" was about a doctor and a police lieutenant who are trying to solve the murder of a thirteen-year-old boy, after the fingerprints of a recently executed murderer turn up at a new crime scene. All thes
e books contained elements of violence, sex, deception and scandal. These issues then and still today, ignite widespread readership. Sex, violence, and scandal continue to be elements that consumers fantasize about. Their appeal is in part due to the f
act that they can be experienced multiple times, but do not affect the true lives of the readers. In addition, "The phantasized objects and the satisfaction derived from them are experienced as the physical" (Segal, 13). Therefore, readers feel as thoug
h they are actually experiencing these fantasies. A fantasy is a personal adventure. Like Segal observed, "the basic function of phantasy is to fill the gap between desire and satisfaction?" As a result, readers are capable of controlling their fantasi
es when their own lives seem out of control. Pleading Guilty allows its readers to live their fantasies through Mack's experiences.
Mack has an opportune experience, he has a chance to control his reality. By accepting the investigation, he is given the chance to reclaim his identity, if successful secure his position at the firm and save a friend and expose the corrupt nature of the
system of law. It is through this investigation that he is able to gain moral ground and rebuild his confidence and character. Mack states as he reflects on his experience, "Now that I am done, I'm thinking that telling this whole thing was for me /
A higher, better me, such as Plato described, a kinder, gentler Mack, capable of greater reflection and deeper understanding. Maybe I wanted to make another one of those failing efforts to figure out myself or my life / Maybe I recount it all because I k
now this is the only new life I will get, that telling is the only place where I can really reinvent myself. And here I am the man who controls not just the words but with them the events they record" (Turow, 386). Many readers could probably relate to
this desire to reinvent one's life and identity. They fantasize about their own victories in life by reading and experiencing Mack's.
Readers might also enjoy indulging in their fantasies and reading books like Turow's as a means to defend themselves from the conditions of the real world. Segal states, "Since phantasy aims at fulfilling instinctual drives irrespective of external real
ity, gratification derived from phantasy can be regarded as a defence against the external reality of deprivation / it is also a defence against internal reality. The individual, producing a phantasy of wish-fulfillment, is not only avoiding frustration
and the recognition of an unpleasant external reality, he is also / defending himself against the reality of his own / internal reality" (Segal, 16). The quote suggests that the reader of 1993 might have found the fantasies formed by reading "Pleading Gu
ilty" as a means to defend themselves against the disappointments they faced in life during those turbulent times.
Turow's ability to combine these two worlds of reality and fantasy is analogous to the special effect techniques that directors create to enhance the plausibility of their movies. The top grossing film in 1993 was Jurassic Park ($337.8). Special effect
s made this movie appear realistic. They added a dimension of uncertainty in trying to decipher fantasy from reality. The technology used to create the dinosaurs and weave them into a setting of real actors had never been seen on a scale of this proport
ion. This uncertainty of what was real and what was not caused a heightened level of excitement in readers and movie goers, and success for Turow and Spielburg.
Scott Turow's success as a lawyer has in many ways influenced his success as a writer. His novels depict a blend of murder and mayhem combined with elements of law and the legalities of the actions of his characters. The success of "Pleading Guilty" was
in Turow's his ability to create a seamless connection between these two worlds. This mix of fiction and reality created a plausible story line for even the most skeptical reader. Turow's ability to translate the world of law to the world of Everyman
allowed readers to get a glimpse of this complex reality without getting lost in it and fantasize about what this reality could be like. Mack's portrayal was essential in that he served as the common thread for readers. People understood his experienc
es because they lived them. By Scott Turow creating a novel that reflects the lifestyle people live and the lifestyle people want to live, he created a best selling combination that set the precedence for his future success.
Works Cited: Apter, T.E. Fantasy literature: an approach to reality. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982. Bookwire.com Facts on File 1993 Magill's Literary Annual 1994 PsycLit (OVID) Schafer, Roy. "The contemporary Kleinians of London". Connecticut: International Universities Press, Inc., 1997. Segal, Hanna. "Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein". London: Karnac Books, 1988.

Supplemental Material

According to Publishers Weekly, "Pleading Guilty" was on its Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list for 16 weeks. The highest position the book achieved was second, on July 5, 1993.

Picture of Turow

You are not logged in. (Sign in)