This volume covers Boswell's first years as a "true adult", having recently been married to Margaret Montgomerie, and having estalished himself as an advocate in his native Edinburgh. In the words of co-editor William Wimsatt, "[i]t gives us in succession the model young husband and professional man, the adventurer returning to literary associations and the ways of the southern metropolis, and then the Scots advocate in a summer session. Energetic conversationalist, steady drinker, and anguished pleader of a desperate cause. We have, in short, Boswell the "Benedict," Boswell at the Club, Boswell Agonistes."
The 1989 play Boswell of the Defence starring Leo McKern, which is planned to be adapted into a movie starring Steve Coogan in 2015, does not have anything to do with this volume of Boswell's journals, rather it is a fictionalised account of Boswell taking place in 1793, based on his defence of convict Mary Bryant.
Boswell for the Defence was published simltaneously by William Heinemann Ltd. (UK) and McGraw-Hill (US) in 1960, and was released in two editions, a standard edition and a limited deluxe edition in 350 numbered copies.