Book Reviews

The Fall of the house of Zeus Book Review

THE FALL of the HOUSE of ZEUS

By

Curtis Willkie

 

I recently ploughed my way through The Fall of the House of Zeus, Curtis Willkie’s 372 page apologia in defense of the convicted felon, Richard (Dickie) Scruggs. I want to be clear about my personal feelings in this matter; I grew up in Sunflower County and my grandfather was an early supporter of Senator James Eastland. I went to high school with Joe Colingo and worked in the Democratic Party with Danny Cupit. Ed Peters was my attorney when I started my first business. I understand politics in Mississippi. I am a Mississippi State graduate and have no motive, other than simple fairness, to defend Ole Miss.

 

When one reads a book, there is generally something that one would take away from the experience. My take-away from Willkie’s tome was an overwhelming sense that Ole Miss was a den of vipers and miscreants, some sort of Parchman prep school. The Ole Miss Law School would seem to spawn entire generations of greed driven sociopaths, and the Sigma Nu’s don’t have a chapter on campus, but rather a coven.

 

Willkie went to great trouble to portray Senator Eastland as some incarnation of Darth Vader and his supporters as members of some evil cabal called “The Force”. He feels compelled to tie Dr. Robert Khayat to this evil brotherhood through his father, implying that in some sense the very highest levels of the Ole Miss administration were part of this evil conspiracy to discredit a great barrister and “America’s most powerful trial lawyer”.

 

I find it difficult to fathom why any of the institutions that were benefiting from Scruggs’s financial success would have an interest in his destruction. He gave generously to Ole Miss. He supported political candidates of both parties. He repeatedly called on the remnants of the Eastland organization for help and support and apparently was very generous to them in return. What would be their motive to bring him down?

 

I suggest that his own arrogance, greed and hubris, coupled with an alleged serious addiction to prescription drugs, destroyed Dickie Scruggs and as such, he did not need any help doing it. Scruggs is an admitted felon and is serving a much deserved, and probably too light, sentence in a federal prison. He has retained his fortune and will be a wealthy man upon his release. Sounds like he got off easy to me.

 

In the meantime, Ole Miss continues to educate young men and women of distinction. The medical school and the law school graduate well-trained professionals, many of whom make their home in Mississippi. With graduates like Curtis Willkie, Ole Miss doesn’t need enemies. On the last page of his book, Willkie laments that Ed Peters and P.L. Blake remain free men and are going unpunished for their alleged involvement.

 

Well guess what Curtis. They have neither admitted to, nor have they been convicted of, any crimes. That’s the difference between Dickie Scruggs and his supposed tormentors.

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