Books by Alumni
A Life of Law
By Reed Day ’57
A Life of Law is the memoir of Washington County attorney Reed Day, recounting his life’s experience as a practicing attorney over the past 50 years.
He begins his memoir, rightfully enough, where it all began— in the Pitt Law Class of ’57. Day fondly remembers those law school years. He notes that many of his colleagues from the Class of ‘57 would go on to distinguish themselves in the field of law—among them Derrick Bell and Richard Thornburgh.
The book recounts his experiences culled from a 37-year career as both partner in the law firm of Peacock, Keller, Yohe, Day & Ecker and as solicitor for the Peters Township School District. Each of the book’s sections offer detailed vignettes depicting the many and varied chapters in Day’s life as he became involved with legal issues that ranged from school prayer to sexual harassment to mine subsidence to labor-management disputes. Carefully annotated passages recreate the life of a man devoted to the law—from real estate transfers, to criminal law, to labor law.
One chapter is dedicated to two of his cases tried before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. One of them, Girard School District v. Pittenger challenged the existing “Regulations on Student Rights and Responsibilities” on behalf of 150 Pennsylvania school districts.
Charming anecdotes are sprinkled throughout as he recalls his family life with his wife, Chris, and their four daughters.
“I have enjoyed such a full and diverse career that I wanted to share my experiences with others,” said Day.
The result is a most interesting look at the life and times of one of this area’s most respected and distinguished lawyers.
By Reed Day ‘57
Reed Day had heard small stories about his family’s ancestral roots in the Washington County area of Pennsylvania. So intrigued by that information, Day embarked on what would become a twenty-year odyssey, researching, tracing, and writing Two Families—the chronicle of his family’s history.
A practicing attorney for over 50 years, Day carved out pockets of time to work on his pet project—whether combing through libraries while on vacation or pouring over archival materials when on trips to New York or New Jersey, or putting his thoughts on paper several hours each night—for two decades.
The book traces his genealogy to the convergence of the Day and Blachly families in 1635—two Puritan families who eventually migrated to Washington County, PA, after the Revolutionary War.
A meticulously researched history, it chronicles the lives of his ancestors and their involvement in a series of historical events, spanning the Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, the Civil War, the Panic of 1893, up through and including the Second World War. Accounts from his sister as a nurse aboard a hospital ship off Okinawa, along with his uncle’s accounts of landing in Normandy and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, bring to life his families’ presence in both the European and Pacific theatres of the War.
The book concludes with Day’s own account of his military service during the Korean War up to the beginning of his professional law career in 1954.
Writing this book was a “tremendously satisfying” journey, Day says, “that has given me an understanding and an appreciation of my family’s contributions and legacy.”
Tales from the Morgue
By Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., (LAW ’62) and Mark Curriden with Angela Powell
Cyril Wecht, one of the world’s leading forensic pathologists, takes readers inside the evidence files of some of this country’s most infamous murder investigations in his book Tales from the Morgue. He presents his own conclusions in a fascinating examination of crime scene clues and autopsy results.
Highlighting nine of the many high-profile cases Dr. Wecht has officially investigated, he examines the evidence in such murders as that of Lacy Peterson and Chandra Levy. He depicts these modern-day crime dramas by recreating the crime scenes and analyzing the evidence found within. Dr. Wecht also takes a second look into the Gander air crash of 1985—long considered the result of ice on the plane’s wings—and contends that the case should be reopened as the crash was more likely the result of a terrorist attack.
In this book, Dr. Wecht also brings his considerable scientific expertise and insight to the re-examination of two highly publicized deaths of the 20th century—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the death of Marilyn Monroe.
Passionate and tenacious in his search for the truth, Dr. Wecht has long been known for drawing conclusions based on the most careful and meticulous examination of forensic evidence. Tales from the Morgue is a most interesting look into his forensic findings.
Tales from the Morgue is published by Prometheus Books.
Forensic Aspects of Chemical and Biological Terrorism
Edited by Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., (LAW ’62)
Cyril Wecht, one of the world’s leading medical examiners, has compiled a comprehensive reference tool that explains the medical science involved in chemical and biological terrorism.
Essential reading for first-line responders and public health experts, Forensic Aspects of Chemical and Biological Terrorism features an impressive roster of medical and public health experts from around the world discussing the effects of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) on the human body.
This text provides a comprehensive, albeit chilling, overview of the numerous nerve agents, toxins and viruses that could be used as weapons, while also presenting several discussions on the diagnosis and treatment from exposure to these materials as well as information on how to best contain the effects of a CBW attack.
According to Sen. Arlen Specter, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dr. Wecht “has provided a comprehensive roadmap on identifying and responding to chemical and biological terrorism. This book would be useful at any time, but it’s vital today.”
Dr. Wecht is also the author of Crime Scene Investigation and Mortal Evidence, among other titles. Forensic Aspects of Chemical and Biological Terrorism is published by Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc.