Coming Soon!
John Thomas Scopes
A Biography
by Randy Moore
July 2023, 218pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-8054-4
$68, £53, 60€, A94
Available for purchase 30 days prior to publication.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-8055-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

John Scopes is famous for his stand for academic freedom at his 1925 trial in Dayton, Tennessee—but how did the trial shape the rest of his life?

This is the first comprehensive, annotated biography of John Scopes, the famed defendant in the Scopes Monkey Trial. This biography uses new, never-before-published sources, photographs, and stories from untapped sources—John Scopes's family and friends.

In 1967, John Scopes published his memoirs, which focused overwhelmingly on his eight-day trial and not on the rest of his life, ignoring several important events, such as his divorce and remarriage, his run for the U.S. Congress, and his challenges with his family. This volume is the first complete, annotated biography of John Scopes. It details his entire life and, where appropriate, those of his parents, siblings, wife, and children, all supported by hundreds of cited sources, quotations, and family stories.

Ideal for readers with an interest in academic freedom, free speech, or the evolution-creationism controversy, this book uses never-before-published sources, photography, and stories to uncover the facts of Scopes’ post-trial life, including the challenges that Scopes faced in his personal life, his conversion from a socialist to a political conservative, and his final years and death. Readers will be surprised to learn that John Scopes’ life differed significantly from what has often been presented in the media.


  • Includes never-before-published interviews with John Scopes's family and friends
  • Features images from throughout Scopes's life
  • Unearths the overlooked story of Scopes and his life before and after his trial
  • Provides context for today's ongoing controversies about who controls the curricula of public schools
Randy Moore, PhD, is professor of biology and H.T. Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He studies evolution, is an honorary lifetime member of the Rhea County Historical and Genealogical Society, and has published a variety of books about the evolution-creationism controversy, including More Than Darwin: An Encyclopedia of the People and Places of the Evolution-Creationism Controversy (with Mark D. Decker) and Chronology of the Evolution-Creationism Controversy (with Mark D. Decker and Sehoya Cotner). Moore's books about the Scopes Trial include The Scopes Monkey Trial (with William F. McComas and Tom Davis) and A Field Guide to the Scopes Trial.


"At the age of 24, he was the defendant in Tennessee v.Scopes, a pivotal moment in what would become a century-long struggle over the teaching of evolution in America's public schools. But who was John Thomas Scopes really? The product of a quarter century of diligent research, Randy Moore's book is the only biography of Scopes that any reader will ever need."—Glenn Branch, Deputy Director, National Center for Science Education

""Idealized," "vilified," or "ignored" might best describe the popular view of John T. Scopes, defendant in "The World's Most Famous Court Trial." Randy Moore, however, has dug deep into the life of this private man, finding him to be the kind of guy you would like for a next-door neighbor. From previously unavailable family records and well-documented public sources, we have a fuller picture of the life, triumphs, and struggles of this "'Man of Courage."'—Tom Davis, Past President, Rhea County (TN) Historical & Genealogical Society

"World famous and controversial at 24, John Scopes spent most of his years dodging a relentless limelight. Now indefatigable researcher Randy Moore tells us what it was like off-stage during Scopes' lifelong quest for a "normal" life while continuing to advocate for the freedoms he personified in his 1925 "trial of the century." Result: a book for everyone." —James Presley, Ph.D., Historian, co-author, Center of the Storm: Memoirs of John T. Scopes
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