If you visit your local bookstore, you are sure to find, in a section marked “Local Interest,” a handful of sepia-toned paperbacks in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. Typically assembled by knowledgeable local historians, these are lavishly illustrated microhistories of various areas, towns, and city neighborhoods across the United States. But they are usually of limited interest: if you're not from or in, say, Ashtabula, Ohio, then you're not going to be fascinated by the corresponding volume.

The Scopes Monkey Trial, however, is quite different. Certainly it is likely to be a permanent staple on the shelves of bookstores in Dayton, Tennessee, where John Thomas Scopes was tried in 1925 for violating the state's Butler Act. Anyone with more than a passing interest in the people and places of the Scopes trial will want to own a copy. But because the trial is emblematic—for better or for worse—of the creationism/evolution controversy, the book's appeal is broader.

Both Randy Moore and William F. McComas have long been involved in efforts to defend and improve the teaching of evolution, and the book is dedicated to Scopes “and the many science teachers who have followed his courageous example.” (A brief list of subsequent court cases, ending with Kitzmiller v. Dover, is provided on p. 117.) But they are not out to settle old scores with the foes of evolution or Scopes's prosecutors here: their approach throughout is that of objective—if fascinated—chroniclers.

At the center of the book are eight chapters tracing the events relevant to the trial, from the passage of the Butler Act and the decision to prosecute Scopes through the drama of the trial itself to the anticlimax of the appeal—and beyond, to the 1960 screening in Dayton of Inherit the Wind and the 1967 repeal of the Butler Act. Each of these chapters begins with a brief narrative of events, and then continues with a panoply of relevant photographs and images, equipped with detailed captions.

Overall, The Scopes Monkey Trial is a delight. The only book comparable to it is The Scopes Trial: A Photographic History (University of Tennessee Press, 2000), with an introduction by Edward Caudill, captions by Edward J. Larson (justly famous for his Pulitzer Prize–winning 1997 book about the trial, Summer for the Gods), and an afterword by Jesse Fox Mayshark. It would be difficult to choose between the two, but there's no reason that you can't find room for both!