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1. Becoming Justice Blackmun : Harry
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2. Even After All This Time : A Story
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3. 25 to Life: The Truth, the Whole
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4. Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story
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5. Chief Justice: A Biography of
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6. A Lawyer's Life
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7. One L : The Turbulent True Story
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9. Letters to a Young Lawyer
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10. Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo
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11. Lazy B : Growing up on a Cattle
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12. Ten Minutes from Normal
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13. Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me
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14. v. Goliath : The Trials of David
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15. CCB : The Life and Century of
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16. Vanishing Point : The Disappearance
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17. The Revolt of the Cockroach People
18. Brennan & Democracy
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19. My Life and an Era: The Autobiography
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20. Courting Justice: From New York

1. Becoming Justice Blackmun : Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey
by Linda Greenhouse
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080507791X
Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
Publisher: Times Books
Sales Rank: 539
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent with unprecedented access to the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court chronicles the personal transformation of a legendary justice

From 1970 to 1994, Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) wrote numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade, and participated in the most contentious debates of his era-all behind closed doors. In Becoming Justice Blackmun, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government and reveals the backstage story of the Supreme Court through the eyes and writings of this extraordinary justice.

Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to Blackmun's extensive archive and his private and public papers. From this trove she has crafted a compelling narrative of Blackmun's years on the Court, showing how he never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases and how he was not afraid to question his own views on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination. Greenhouse also tells the story of how Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger withered in the crucible of life on the nation's highest court, revealing how political differences became personal, even for the country's most respected jurists.

Becoming Justice Blackmun, written by America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, offers a rare and wonderfully vivid portrait of the nation's highest court, including insights into many of the current justices. It is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.
... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Blackmun maximized the product and so has Greenhouse
Blackmun was clearly a man who maximized the product.Linda Greenhouse doesn't quite explain how this rather unprepossessing figure achieved such high office.He was bright and industrious, to be sure, but so were many others.He was not a strong personality or even particularly personable or outgoing.But in one respect at least, Blackmun seems to have been truly extraordinary--his penchant from an early age for recording the events of his life and collecting almost every note, letter or document which related to it--as if he knew and were determined to become someone of substance.Indeed, Greenhouse tells us that Blackmun's collection comprises more than one and a half million items, is contained in some 1585 boxes, and takes up more than 600 feet of shelf space in the Library of Congress.

Greenhouse makes wonderful use of this massive collection, writing a remarkably spare yet elegant narrative of what she quite rightly calls "a consequential life," one that spanned the twentieth century and left its mark not only on the law but on American society.Blackmun's bookish reticence may not make him very attractive or interesting to the general reader, but for those seeking a better understanding of the modern Supreme Court and some of its Justices, this volume is as invaluable as it is fascinating.We see Blackmun increasingly determined to do justice as much as to apply the law, with Greenhouse focusing on his opinions having to do with abortion, capital punishment, and sex discrimination.We see Blackmun grow totally estranged from Chief Justice Warren Burger, his closest childhood friend at whose wedding he served as best man.We see Blackmun relate more closely to his young law clerks, some of whom seem to have authored the most memorable lines in his opinions.

Someone else will have to research and interview more widely to write the definitive, full-length biography and survey Blackmun's entire judicial career.But we owe much to Greenhouse for this wonderful and most timely introduction.

5-0 out of 5 stars The evolution of a great justice
Linda Greenhouse has written an extraordinary book about the life and career of one of the great Supreme Court justices of our time, Harry A. Blackmun. In doing so she has given us, in "Becoming Justice Blackmun", a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at not only Blackmun but the interaction among the justices of the court. She succeeds brilliantly.

Blackmun's encounter with destiny was certainly not in the cards early on for this man from Minnesota. Greenhouse explores Blackmun's early career and most notably his longtime friendship with Warren E. Burger, with whom he would serve on the Supreme Court for sixteen years. Their friendship is a central theme in her book...a friendship that would falter and eventually dissolve. At every turn the author's narrative flows warmly and vividly as she paints a most impressive picture of the man who would become the center of controversy in Roe v. Wade. Greenhouse reflects accurately on Blackmun, a shy, soft-spoken man, whose studious manner often led to agonizing decisions. Nonetheless, those decisions were carefully crafted and always thoughtful.

This could have been a dry effort on Greenhouse's part but she spices it up with tales of humor. Like kids at school, the justices passed amusing notes back and forth among themselves and even had a betting pool for the 1992 presidential election. It has always been rumored that the court closely follows presidential elections but I had no idea that they took it this far!

What emerges finally is the author's extensive research and knowledge of not only the court but Blackmun, especially. Through detailed accounts of some of the most important court cases (effectively explained for those of us who are not accustomed to the law) she connects those cases with Blackmun's personal reflections about them and how he dealt with other justices. Blackmun was unflappable at times but willing to make changes in his own arguments when necessary. Greenhouse covers all of this with obvious admiration for her subject but with an objectivity that lends itself to an impartial overall view of Harry Blackmun.

"Becoming Justice Blackmun" is a tour de force. There are few opportunities to have such a look at the Supreme Court and its inner workings and having been granted an opportunity to write this book, Linda Greenhouse has made a significant contribution to our nation's history.

5-0 out of 5 stars A marvelously insightful synthesis
In this compact and beautifully written book, Linda Greenhouse traces the evolution and growth of Justice Blackmun through the development of several crucial lines of Supreme Court cases.Featuring seldom revealed behind the scenes events drawn from the Justice's private papers, the reader is treated to a tremendously interesting, yet easy to follow, history of the progression of various areas of constitutional law, intertwined with the fascinating disintegration of the life-long relationship between Justice Blackmun and Chief Justice Warren Burger.This book clearly merits the excellent reviews it has received.

2-0 out of 5 stars History attempted by Journalists is always disappointing
Linda Greenhouse has done careful research, and as she herself notes, her 264-page treatise on Harry Blackmun chooses certain foci and not others. She makes no claim to exhaustiveness.

This notwithstanding, with the exception of a beginning that tells us rather matter-of-factly about some of young Harry's experiences, the book reads like a chronological laundy list of Blackmun's approach to issues he faced on the 8th Circuit COurt of Appeals and then on the Supreme Court. Greenhouse tries to spice it up a little by adding her take on the genuinely compelling story of the breakup of the friendship between Blackmun and his lifelong compatriot Chief Justice Burger. Even here, though, she doesn't follow any leads, doesn't bring compelling psychological realism to the page, and maintains a monotone narrative. It is a journalist trying to report rather than a historian or biographer reporting and analyzing that gives this tome it's horribly dry flavor.

Greenhouse's book does provide useful information and is instructive, but more so to the armchair Supreme Court scholar than to any serious scholar or anyone looking for a good read. What a wonderful subject, what a compelling title, and what a mediocre disappointing little book that could have been so much better. Greenhouse should stick to reporting on the Supreme Court and stay away from longer narratives. Nina Totenberg would have done so much better!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Changed Man
This is a remarkable books in so many ways.As other reviews have indicated this is not intended to be a complete biography but rather information gleaned from a review of the archives of Justice Blackmun

LInda Greenhouse focused mainly on three topic.The first is the ending of a friendship between Justice Blackmun and Chief Justice Burger.The two men grew up together.Burger was the leader bringing Justice Blackmun with him. When Justice Blackmun arrived at the Supreme Court he slowly became his own man and the friendship falls apart.In her reliance on the Blackmun papers only we can only see one side of the fissure but even that shows when old friends go their own way it often is done by small slights that in each detail is irrelevant but together are significant.

The second theme is the change in Blackmun"sattitude toward the death penalty. In small steps the responsibilities of the Court required Blackmun to more fully understand the implications of the penalty until finally he no longer could support it.Again the change is beautifully detailed and we feel from his writing as portrayed by Ms Greenhouse the depth of the change.In this portion of the book we learn how difficult it is to predict how sitting on the Court will change people.As we see the selection process for a new justices begin we should remember that people do grow with responsibilities and not to be to quick to characterize a nominee.

The last focus and the most detailed portion of the book is the identification of Justice Blackmun with the Roe decision which he wrote. Starting from the beginning of the research at Mayo Clinic the focus of the decision was the protection of doctors.As Blackmun developed his view he became more concerned about the rights of woman.Roe became his legacy and he worked hard and even stayed on the Court longer to be sure the case was not reversed.

The book also provides a wonderful insight on how the Court operates.Justices that have different views are friendly.The letters and the notes between the justices are fascinating.

The theme is the change in Blackmum as he served.The lesson is that as we watch the Court we forget that the justices can change and that there is enormous pride in the institution.

In summary this is a wonderful book by an author who obviously respects her subject ... Read more

2. Even After All This Time : A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran
by Afschineh Latifi
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060745339
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 15896
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story with Several Lessons
I see this book as two or perhaps three in one.

On the one hand it is the story of a family torn apart by the execution of the father (convicted of commiting murder on the day he was in a hospital far away). The author was a young girl of ten at that time. This is the story of her life after her fathers arrest and execution. Obviously well to do at the time, the two daughters were sent to school in Austria, and finally to an uncle in America.

As part of this, I am reminded that when people move to the United States, they often become the best, most capable citizens we have. In this family of four children there are two doctors and two lawyers. Often, usually, the people who leave a country are the best people that that country has. Our country is benefitted by their being here.

Finally, this is the story of how an Islamic government moving into power. At one time the author's mother is showing hospital records to the jailer, and is told that it doesn't matter what proof she has, the decision stands and he will be executed. Not too different, I guess, than the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, but a pretty rough way to life. And this is what people say they want???

1-0 out of 5 stars Little Princess Cries,....... Again!
Cheio de Gases must be addicted to fiction and romance novels! He/she certainly lacks appreciation for and understanding of history. It appears to me that Az Kayhan, the other reviewer, hits it on the nose: This book is yet another sob story written by a former little princess who can't be one anymore. Read it as fiction and you'll be fine. Placing any significant amount of factual value on it is like taking the National Inquirer as a legitimate source of news.
Unfortunately, this is yet another book in a series of a dozen or so which very similarly chronicle the life story of children who were forced to leave Iran when the revolution hit and are now grown up to write their own "memoirs" with amazing recollection of the events of 26 years ago, when they were mere children. How detailed and accurate are our recollections of our childhoods? Fiction it is, fine literary work? I'm afraid it it is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blame Game
Another reviewer savagely and unfairly attacks this quietly powerful book by saying that everyone suffered in the Iranian revolution and therefore the book author must learn to deal with her tragedy.Strangely, this bitter reviewer does not mention that the author's father was executed and that this regime is by far more cruel and inhumane than what the Shah was ever even accused of being. The reviewer's bizarre obsession with the CIA-supported coup in the 1950's shows an unhealthy complex of reality avoidance.Get over it--what happened 50 years ago has little to do with Mullah's trampling of human rights today.Talk about weird nostalgia--if one were to accept the reviewer's tortured argument, then every execution in Iran is preceded by a salute to Mossadegh's unattractive portrait.

The simple reality is that political simpletons such as the CIA-obsessed reviewer were naive participants in a revolution that succeeded in killing innocent Iranians, and destroying a generation of hopes with war, religious fanaticism and repression. Now that the simpletons have seen their mistake, they revert to the old favorite of blaming the CIA!You might as well blame the Mongols too---no one ever fully recovered from their rampage and they were possibly under the direct control of the CIA Ulan Bator station.

This book is a personal story with facts that are sadly so true. Let the author tell her story in dignity and give her the respect that she has earned.Her tragic history in Iran is no less real than what she ways.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious, Counter-productive nagging and nostalgia
Another book added to the slew offemale Iranian exile Fifth Generation bleeding heart nostalgic over the "lost glory" books of the same genre that have sprouted like mushrooms in the last 5 years or so.Which begs the question:Who is encouraging and supporting these mostly women exiled "writers" to write these mostly fictional accounts and "auto-biographies"?These books are basically a written transcript of a Persian tea visit to a friend:full of delusional and vague memories, gossip, and exaggerations.
The photo album is cracked open and published, and the authors who are still "after all this time" still suffering from the "Persian Privileged Princess Syndrome" are culturally frustrated and emotionally depressed for having to live outside Iran are reaching out to the public as their potential therapists or saviors.Like all people who are confused about their identity living outside the land they grew up in as kids and teenagers, only worse!

These so-called authors are women who were teenagers in the 60s and 70s under the Shah's regime, and who were (and are) mostly brats from privileged and affluent families who consumed the cream off the top of the food chain in Iran and lived really nice lives even with American standards.Now they have lost it all and are like lost Persian kittens in a land they feel estranged in culturally.So, they regurgitate "old glory" stories.The truth is that most of those sweet juvenile memories are exaggerated.Furthermore, for most Iranian people who lived under the old Shah's un-Democratic and Dictatorial regime deprived and persecuted, and without any nuance of social or political freedoms, these books sound hollow, indeed.

The Shah was put back in power in 1953 via a CIA coup d'etats which overthrew the Democratic nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh, and replaced him with the ruthless General Zahedi who was on the CIA payroll.And so began the un-popular and un-Democratic regime these writers fret over with such longing and pain in their books.None of these books mention these historic truths.None mention SAVAK, the Shah's secret political police, who arrested and killed many free-thinkers and students in the 60s and the 70s.Instead, the authors choose only to depict the pretty, sweet tea parties of their cushiony past that they choose to remember.

Tens of thousands of people lost their lives in the 1979 uprising to correct that historic faux pas committed by US and Britain intelligence services.It was a reaction by a frustrated people who were deprived of the most fundamental freedoms, and deeply resented the foreign-installed monarchy and the atmosphere of fear, corruption, persecution, and social injustice that was created later.Not all who lost their lives were officers in Shah's army.Soldiers accept certain risks when they become soldiers.That is what happens in Revolutions, people die.And Revolutions happen because there is injustice, or at least perceived injustice.The original intent of that uprising was to regain the social justice and freedoms lost under the Shah.But since the Shah and his SAVAK had all but destroyed all viable Democratic opposition in Iran, the mantra of the Revolution was snatched and its path derailed, distorting a genuine movement into a totalitarian theocracy.So does that mean that anyone who was part of the illegitimate rule of the Shah has anything to be proud of now?History has been, and will continue to be the judge of that.But one thing is for certain: no amount of "how sweet it was" tales by Persian Marie Antoinette "Wanna Be"s can alter that judgment.

Besides, there is hardly any Iranian family who was not adversely affected during those times, and even to this day.Iranian ex-patriot hard luck stories are dime a dozen.Everyone has one, but most who were affected do not claim any special mantra because of that loss, nor do they write books to gain financially from that loss, and nor live in the relative comfort, wealth, and social status that most of these women authors writing these kinds of books enjoy outside of Iran.

Feminism is good when it talks about gaining expanded and equal rights for women, but when it becomes a tool for self-propagation, self-righteousness, buying vindication due to real or imaginary loss, or trying to legitimize or create sympathy for an illegitimate and corrupt regime, it becomes pure non-sense.

For effective and Democratic changes to take place anywhere, we should all first stop nagging and crying over the fake Garden of Eden that we think we had.To be effective for creating a Democracy again, we must first and foremost have a vision of history, something that these dreamy and mystified so-called authors sorely lack.We must also be forward-looking and hopeful, instead of being reactionary dreamers of the past.And most of all, please, no moroseness, fretting, sulking, or sad violin playing, and no hiding behind the shield of being a woman from a country where women are oppressed.And one more thing: keep your family photo album to yourselves (That's why they call it "family" album), we all have "look what I was" pictures from our past, no one is impressed.And guess what:no one cares.
As a famous contemporary Persian poet said in a poem:" there is nothing in the past but a dusty, old window shutter".

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST-READ!OPRAH'SLIST should include this Best Seller!
Afschineh Latifi's touching tribute to her loving, devoted parents touched me in so many ways.I could not put it down.Ms. Latifi is a terrific role model who demonstrates that the power of strong morals beliefs, high personal goals, perseverance and family values can lead not only to professional success but also to inner peace.

The true saga of a young father's execution by barbaric terrorists a mere 25 years ago was very tragic, especially when heard through the voice of the victim's young daughter.The story continues with tales of two innocent little girls who were thrust into the world to fend for themselves without the guidance of a mother or father for many of their formative years.

While reading the book I found myself crying one moment and laughing the next. The author's frankness in sharing the experiences and inner thoughts of a child growing into her own were honest, pure, and often hysterical!

"The wife and daughters of a soldier," as they proudly refer to themselves, Afschineh, her sister, Afsaneh, and their mother, Fatemeh, did what was required to provide for their family through very difficult times. They overcame great obstacles and persevered together to achieve great success in their lives emotionally and professionally.An impressive collection of family photos dispersed throughout the book makes their life story really come to life.I found this book to be extremely inspirational and I would recommend it to anyone, including my 4 children.

... Read more

3. 25 to Life: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice, Tom Shachtman, Leslie Crocker Snyder, Tom Schactman
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446530204
Catlog: Book (2002-09-23)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 189175
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She has presided over some of America's most complex and violent cases ranging fromnarcotics to sex crimes to headline-making murder and mob trials. Her toughness in court is legendary and she is known for frequently imposingmaximum sentences (120 years each for five young drug lords). As a result, she must have round-the-clock security as her life has been marked with repeated threats from criminals she put behind bars. Now, Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder has written a riveting account of her years on the bench taking readers behind the scenes and into a courtroom whose trials and rulings have placed a permanent stamp on our legal system. Her true story will inspire and influence many more. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Woman!
This book is more than meets the eye. I found it so intriguing that I read it non-stop over the weekend. Snyder chronicles the steps she took to get to where she is today. Her position of priviledge and honour weren't handed to her on a silver plate. She earned it, with a combination of grace, dignity, intelligence, and tenacity. Given her relatively low salary, especially in comparison to the defense attorneys in private practice, it is a wonder that she continues to work in such a demanding, yet thankless job, especially so when she and her family find their lives constantly threatened by the thugs that she protects society from. It is a gripping tale of how criminals run rampant and destroy the lives of innocent bystanders, and how Snyder does more than her part in ending their tyranny. You might expect a book about law to be dry. Think again! 25 TO LIFE is a gripping outline of Snyder's exciting career. I would compare this woman to Rudolph Guiliani in her leadership abilities. She is a role model to all, especially young women. (It's too bad she practices in NY. We could definately use somebody of her calibre here in Canada, to clean up the urban crime). Great book from a fabulous member of society.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bell-Ringer
This is such an incredible story, I could not put the book down... how could any one person take on the mob, the druggies, and some of the most vicious murderers ever seen in New York City? And while, much of the time, under death threat to her self and family by these creeps who had been getting away with their murders for years... To label her just a Conservative is ridiculous -- she is also liberal, feminist, family, but above all, AMERICAN. New York City and State, and America, owe her a tremendous debt. However, as I neared the end of her incredible odyssey, I wondered why she did not give a solution for the overall "War on Drugs," obviously a losing proposition. But she does! There are hidden powers in high places that should be doing everything possible to save America from this Drug Hell that has engulfed the nation. Time to wake up, folks...

1-0 out of 5 stars not exactly enlightening
The best biographies (and autobiographies) are those that do more than catalog their subjects' achievements -- they chronicle some inner struggle that makes the story interesting on a human level. Reading this book, you wonder why it was written. There seems to be no personal revelation, nothing below the surface. The author sees everything in black and white, and there doesn't seem to be anything more going on than a chronicling of local legal issues that have little relevance to anyone but a few insiders. Snyder's "interior" struggle seems to be her understanding that other people are bad. I guess she has always been perfect. This may be true, and if so I congratulate her, but it just doesn't make for interesting reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a "must read"
It's too bad that the title "In the Belly of the Beast" was already taken because that would have been an appropriate tag for this page turner. Having spent 25 years as a narcotics agent in New York City, I am humbled by the personal danger encountered by Judge Snyder.Courage and intellect such as hers are very rare commodities in this city.The insight that this book provides into the NYC criminal justice system has been previously kept as a dark secret. She is one of the reasons that one can feel safe walking the streets of Manhattan at midnight and we all owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers forget the grafitti ridden days of the 70's and 80's when the judiciary was rife with "Cut em loose Bruces". Watch a re-run of New Jack City to refresh your recollection!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Woman and An Impressive Book
A well written book which goes into the life of a woman who should be the role model for us all. Facing down vicious drug dealers, writing date rape laws, the first woman to prosecute homocide cases in New York, just on her credentials alone, this book is worth a read.

But Snyder goes further and gives us a very personal and interesting glimpse into her life. At times humorous, at times feisty, but always without varnish, we get a real glimpse into the backroom happenings of a major part of our criminal justice system and into someone who seems to be a major player.

Having read the reviews and heard the term "real-life law and order" invoked several times, I can only agree. I would be honored to serve on Judge Snyder's jury and, in my opinion, we need more people like her.

If this helps Snyder to launch a political career, BRAVO, I, for one, would love to have her helping to put more bad guys away!

Well Done Judge Snyder. You are a Class Act. ... Read more

4. Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton
by Barbara Olson
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895262746
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 81976
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Hell to Pay is yet another book on Hillary Rodham Clinton, this time from a conservative lawyer who served as the Republican chief counsel for the congressional committee investigating the Clintons' involvement in "Travelgate" and "Filegate." Barbara Olson traces the now familiar biographies of the president and first lady, contending that Mrs. Clinton is someone with dangerously liberal, even radical, political beliefs who "now seeks to foment revolutionary changes from the uniform of a pink suit." (Olson plays the theme heavily: each chapter of Hell to Pay begins with quotes from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, which influenced the young Hillary Rodham.)

There are some interesting new tidbits scattered throughout the book, like the fact that after law school Hillary Rodham tried to become a Marine Corps officer but was turned down; or that she told her high school paper her ambition after high school was "to marry a senator and settle down in Georgetown." Olson, attempting to dissect the mystery of the Clinton partnership, writes, "Most self-respecting women would have left" after Clinton's repeated infidelities. "Hillary chose to stay. She behaves as both a desperate lover, and like a frantic campaign manager protecting a flawed candidate.... Hillary, it seems, long ago accepted Bill Clinton as someone who could advance her goals, as a necessary complement to her intellectual cold-blooded pursuit of power." As the Clinton presidency draws to a close, that pursuit has taken her beyond the White House toward a bid for her own U.S. Senate seat. Olson predicts the Senate won't be enough, just the next step toward becoming the first woman president: "Hillary Clinton seeks nothing less than an office that will give her a platform from which to exercise real power and real world leadership." While Olson admits that "Bill Clinton has always excited the greatest passion not among his supporters, but among his detractors," the same could certainly be said of his wife--whose supporters will probably consider Hell to Pay a rehash of a too-familiar story, but whose detractors will no doubt savor every page. --Linda Killian ... Read more

Reviews (162)

Not being an American, it may be a little easier to look at Hillary Clinton in a completely objective manner. Based on my knowledge and experience in psychology and considering what has been publicized in the media throughout the "Clinton affair", I must agree with what Barbara Olson has written in this book. One could watch the television and see Hillary and Bill standing side by side, all smiles for the benefit of the media and easily see they were superficial. At times, the lack of emotion and stilted conversation reminded me of two Barbie dolls - Ken and Barbie at their finest.

While Ms. Clinton may have stayed with her husband out of love and loyalty, the real reason appears it was to feather her own nest for a political career - at any cost! I give the woman credit for pursuing her own dreams, goals and desires, but most women would have placed their own self-respect at the top of the list. A woman might choose to forgive one spousal indiscretion out of love and family, but how one could love someone who was continually unfaithful is another matter. Were there perhaps more skeletons in Ms. Clinton's own personal closet that have not become public? Ms. Clinton does not appear to be a woman lacking self-confidence or emotional security; therefore, one is left to question whether her true reasons for staying were for self-serving purposes, that is, to further her own political ambitions.

Barbara Olson obviously spent an enormous amount of time and energy in researching the facts in this book and has given readers a bird's-eye view of what makes Ms. Clinton tick and what does not. Whether the reader agrees with Olson's portrayal of Ms. Clinton is a matter of personal opinion. This is a compelling and straight-forward book that cuts no corners and definitely deserving of a five-star rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Dangerous Woman
This was one of the most educational books I have read in my life. Olson writes a compelling story about Hillary Clinton, starting with her middle-class upbringing in suburban Illinois. Growing up with a house full of men, Hillary felt she had to excel at everything in order to win her father's approval, which she never seemed to get. This was the only time I felt any empathy for this woman.
We've all heard the blatherings about the Clintons' scandals via the media. But the media never came close to telling us the truth, especially concerning their dealings with the Chinese government, who now has possession of our nuclear secrets. Barbara Olson not only illustrates their involvement but gives an unsettling picture of how Hillary Rodham Clinton's mind works. She is a megalomaniac who wants nothing more than absolute power over the American people, especially our children. Olson also gives us the scoop about Whitewater, the Lewinsky fiasco, and scores of other calamaties and injustices that went on inside the White House during their double-term. Basically, the Clintons perfected the Nixonian technique for covering their tracks, destroying a countless number of lies both figuratively and literally.
I would have liked to have read what really happened to Vincent Foster, Ron Brown, and several other officials who met untimely deaths. Olson barely skimmed this issue, but told how Vince Foster was Hillary's lawyer and possible lover. I can understand why Olson couldn't touch that issue, given her position in the Justice Department. But she portrays the Clintons for who they really are, slick criminals who will use anyone and any means to secure their agenda.
I recommend this book to every American citizen, whether they were (or are still) pro-Clinton or not. Hell to Pay is loaded with facts that we cannot ignore.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Hillary.
And it's not pretty, but we already knew that. Barbara Olson wrote a top flight biography with "Hell to Pay." I, for one, definitely miss her presence in the field of non-fiction and am sorry she is no longer with us. Many people may not realize that R. Emmett Tyrrell's book, "Madame Hillary," was heavily influenced by this work. Olson exposes the hidden, radical nature of Hillary's worldview. Her thought is far closer to Saul Alinsky than John Jay or Thomas Paine. In the wake of the 2000 election recount, when she came out against the electoral college, who could doubt that she cares little about the institutions or traditions that embody this country. She hides her radicalism behind a bourgeois veneer but Olson allows her true traits to become visible through "Hell to Pay."

3-0 out of 5 stars A lot of good details that you don't hear
I have to say that I enjoyed this review of Ms. Clinton or should I say Ms. Rodham. I don't know how much of this is true but it told a lot of facts that I was unaware.

I did not know that she got her leftist views from a socialist pastor. At least that was the way he came across to me. I thought it was pretty strange that she didn't wear any make up or shave her legs until Bills run for second term as Governor.

The book pretty much takes for granted that everyone knew Bill was a philanderer and does not make much of an issue of it. This is what I like about this book it goes in and tells you all the details of the spending to keep the Clintons in nice homes and have a nanny paid for by the tax payer dollars. I guess politicians are expected to do that.

The interesting parts were about the cops getting Bill girls in Washington, travelgate which they could have avoided completely if they just said they wanted their own people in; filegate was the weirdest after the diatribe Hillary gave about Nixon's enemies list.

An interesting part I thought was her relationship to Vince Foster. How the author got all the information is beyond me.

It showed how Hillary was an absolute perfectionist and could never be criticized. She was very clever in getting her husband off the hook all the time and especially in the impeachment by making them focus on the adultery and then threatening to expose all the congress for their indiscretions.

The more I read the more I felt this woman's hands in my pockets.

If most of this is true, I can not see how she got elected to the Senate, I guess all candidates steal from the cookie jar. I never understood why this woman thought she had a right to rule over everybody else. She was just a tyrant.

I would recommend this book to people want to know more details about all the scandals. If you are a Clinton lover you'll probably say it is all lies.

The right does not go after the Clintons because Bill lied about Monica Lewinsky. They go after them because they think they may have ordered the murder of Vince Foster. They go after them because kids were murdered on railroad tracks in Mena, Arkansas because they may have witnessed their drug-running operation there in the 1980s. They go after them because there is a list of between 50 and 100 people mysteriously killed, all of whom knew the Clintons and had knowledge of their activities. These people were generally young and in good health. Did they all die by accident? To quote Shakespeare, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than can be dreamt of in your philosophy." In other words, it is possible they all were killed by means other than the Clintons' ordering their deaths, but it is so far from possible as to be very close to being, for all practical purposes, that with which is impossible. Bodyguards, witneses, drug buddies, state troopers, kids, etc. Dead. If the Clintons are responsible for some or all of their deaths, they got away with all of it. THAT is why the right goes after the Clintons. If I go missing, look in Ft. Marcy Park.

(...) ... Read more

5. Chief Justice: A Biography of Earl Warren
by Ed Cray
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684808528
Catlog: Book (1997-06-03)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 97269
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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A former prosecutor and moderate Republican governor of California when appointed to the Supreme Court in 1953, Earl Warren (1891-1974) surprised everyone by leading it in an increasingly liberal direction. Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, and other key decisions bolstered the rights of individuals and committed the federal government to acting in support of them. Journalist/historian Ed Cray's detailed account depicts an admirable, self-assured man who arrived slowly at positions, driven not by ideology but by an old-fashioned sense of morality that asked, "Is it fair?" ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars The best biography of the most controversial chief justice
For those who have even heard of Earl Warren he is solely identified as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Ed Cray's wonderful biography clearly shows that he was much more than simply a judge, he was a seminal political figure during the mid-20th century. Cray presents Warren's rise to political stardom in clear and lively terms. Warren represented the progressive wing of the Republican party and was so popular as Govenor of California that he defeated FDR's son after the war and was even the nominee of both parties in one of his elections. Beyond his service in California, Cray also demonstrates just how close Warren came to the oval office when he ran as VP with Thomas Dewey, who would likely have won the election had he followed Warren's advice.

Cray does a more than adequate job in detailing how Warren got on the Court through a back room deal with Eisenhower. Warren was hardly a great judge in the sense of a brilliant legal mind, he typically decided cases based upon what was fair and left it up to his law clerks to come up with the technical theories to support it. But Warren was a great chief justice in a time when the Court needed a brilliant politician to heal the deep divisions that existed between different members of the Court. In the end Warren lead the Court through its single most creative period and it is amazing, regardless of your opinion on the outcome of this period, just how much this liberal Court accomplished.

Cray's work is hardly ground breaking, it presents no significant new additions to our knowledge of Warren, but he does present a huge life in a relatively concise work. This is a book that is well worth reading if you are interested in either the Court or American political culture in the mid-20th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great biography that does him justice
Earl Warren was one of the greatest Americans of the 20th Century, and Cray's biography does justice for him. Warren led the Supreme Court from 1953-1969, perhaps the most turbulent period in American history outside the Civil War. His rulings have shaped modern jurisprudence and, despite their controversial nature when they were issued, have repeatedly shown their wisdom since. The author also spends a lot of time on Warren's early political career as a District Attorney, Governor of California and failed Vice Presidential candidate in 1948. Overall, this is a fascinating and well-written biography.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good overall, but some unanswered questions
This is probably the best book out there on Earl Warren, covering his life in politics and at the Supreme Court. Ed Cray does a good job explaining the roots of Warren's political beliefs and how he used his political background to exert such a strong influence on the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, Ed Cray doesn't follow up on at least two issues: Warren's friendships with J. Edgar Hoover and William Knowland. According to the book, when Warren was in California state government he became such good friends with J. Edgar Hoover that he called Hoover "Jay"- yet it seems hard to imagine that Warren's friendship with Hoover survived some of his court decisions. Perhaps it did, but Cray doesn't address the issue. Similarly, it seems that Warren's liberal court decisions would have impacted his friendship with conservative Senator William Knowland, but the book doesn't talk about this, either.

4-0 out of 5 stars Compact book on a voluminous subject
To write a comprehensive book on the life of Earl Warren and include the numerous controversial court decisions would produce a volume so thick, reading it would be exhaustive-and probably boring. Ed Cray has successfully limited this biography to the details of Warren's life without dragging the reader through the typical grandparent and parent's life stories. His overview of the major court decisions, their impact on society and some of the Court's inner battles have been successfully handled.

The reader should know however, that this is not an unbiased book. Cray worships Warren and is very reluctant to criticize him. (The author takes Warren to task over Warren's support of Japanese internment in WWII but I suspect this criticism early on in the book is due to Warren later regret in his involvement.) Among the dedications, is "To Civil Libertarians All"-while there is nothing wrong with that, it points out the author's political bias that is so evident in his writing. Conservatives on the court and in Warren's earlier political life come across badly (especially Felix Frankfurter) and by the end of the book I was cynical as to why Cray constantly referred to Hugo Black as the Alabaman. (Isn't it Alabamian?) None of the other justices were so oft named by the State's origin.

If you love Warren, you'll love this book. If you want an objective and critical look into Warren's life, you might end up frustrated at the author's attempt to over-glorify his subject. Nevertheless, it's still an excellent book.

5-0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This book is really two completely distinctive stories. The first was about Earl Warren's youth and political career as District Attorney in Alameda County, Governor of California, and finally Republican Vice Presidential candidate. Then, half way through the book, Earl Warren is appointed Chief Justice and the story moves from California to Washington with a completely different cast of characters. The first part of the book was interesting; the second part was wonderful. The discussions about Supreme Court procedure and protocol, the history of the court, intermixed with the political climate of the 50's and 60's, and the various personalities and backgrounds of the justices were all fascinating. And the descriptions of the monumental decisions of the Warren Court were stirring.

The book is not overtly dramatic. Earl Warren was a carefully guarded man performing a duty that required a non-partisan appearance. And some of the cases required several readings before I could really understand them. The writing was lucid, but the cases are complicated - at least for my limited mind. (The state law says this, legal precedent suggests that, the amendment applies to federal law, not the state, but only if it's a felony. Warren, Black, Douglas signed the majority opinion. Frankfurter wrote a dissenting opinion. Brennan wrote a concurring opinion agreeing with the decision but opposing the reasoning behind it. Then they all agreed to narrow the decision, but to remand it to state court. Hmmm.)

I will have two lasting impressions of the book: First, Earl Warren's enormous and endemic sense of fairness. Second, how narrowly many of our civil liberties were won - often by just a 5-4 or 6-3 majority - and how little it would take to overturn those decisions. ... Read more

6. A Lawyer's Life
by Johnnie Cochran, David Fisher
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312278268
Catlog: Book (2002-10-11)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 465273
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Johnnie Cochran had been famed as a folksy oratory in Los Angeles courtrooms since the 1960s, but the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial catapulted him to international fame--a status he gladly acknowledges in this bare-knuckles memoir of his years in court.

Cochran doesn't spend much time revisiting the Simpson case (except to proclaim O.J. innocent). Cochran devotes most of his account to less-celebrated cases that address repeated themes--police negligence and outright perjury; the difficulties minorities face in securing impartial justice; the inherent unfairness of racial profiling. Cochran describes his methods, and explains the reason for his rhyming summations ("If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit"): "Juries enjoyed them, understood them, and, more importantly, remembered them."

Readers may not be won over by Cochran, but his book will be widely enjoyed and remembered. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Defense of the Defense
A lady I worked for was making a snide comment about Johnnie Cochran and Michael Jackson, about how they think they're slick. I lit into her immediately about Michael, his childhood, and what he's done for the community, but I didn't have much to say about Cochran. I didn't know him. I knew about the O.J. trial because I didn't fall off the planet, but I didn't follow it. I do remember this goofy football player I knew standing outside screaming and dancing when he found out Simpson was acquitted of the charges. I shrugged it off. But when that lady called Cochran "Crocodile Cochran" in the same sentence as insulting Jackson, I decided to do my research. I already had an interest in criminal justice and after reading this book, I understand why everyone tries to make me understand that I need to become a lawyer. I loved the fact that he loved to debate, be right, and gave intelligent speeches with a touch of humor. I respect him for standing up for very intense cases (O.J., Puffy, Diallo, Amarou, reparations, etc.) and I will always commend anyone who fights against racial profiling. Needless to say, I got in touch with this critic and pointed out all of the contributions to society that Cochran has made, and told her to get over the O.J. trial. I even offered to buy the book for her. She wasn't convinced but atleast she now was forced to learn some things she originally never knew!

5-0 out of 5 stars
If you need to develop your practice visit

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for White Republicans.
...And I know you well, because I am a Black Republican - far to the Right - libertarian even. This book is not the typical liberal drivel from a neck bone-eatin' preacher. This is a good treatise on recent Black history, and an expose' on the justice system - in my view, the last vestige of true racism.

While I had to hold my nose in reading the very last chapter of the book (where he goes liberal), I could not refute the notion that that I was reading the words of a "wise old man." Such an opportunity should not be ignored, regardless of your race or political persuasion. If you can read this extremely pleasurable book, and still not at least understand the pov of the other side, then you truly don't have a heart.

It is enjoyable reading, unoffensive to all, and a good lesson on life in America from one of its premier insiders. Further, it advances the cause of racial harmony.

BUY THIS BOOK. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A FOOT SOLDIER FOR JUSTICE

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing - Mind Boggling!
I read this book in a short period of time, due the fact that it was so interesting, and more importantly, I was so saddened by the REAL justice system in the United States. I was amazed and disgraced that racial injustices such as those described in this book have remained steady as if it were still the 1950s and 60s. I hope and pray that some day we as a people indeed "WILL OVERCOME."

I applaud Mr. Cochran for standing up for what is right for African Americans in the face of his many critics. I say "keep on keeping on, Johnnie." From the infamous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream Speech," "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back..." This quote may help those who are victims of racial discrimination and is a quote I refer to when times are tough.

This book has only solidified my desire to enter into the field of Law. I can only hope that I make half the progress towards achieving equality and leveling the scales of justice for my people as Mr. Cochran has. ... Read more

7. One L : The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School
by Scott Turow
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446673781
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 9257
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school introduces and a best-seller when it was first published in 1977, has gone on to become a virtual bible for prospective law students. Not only does it introduce with remarkable clarity the ideas and issues that are the stuff of legal education; it brings alive the anxiety and competiveness--with others and, even more, with oneself--that set the tone in this crucible of character building. Turow's multidimensional delving into his protagonists' psyches and his marvelous gift for suspense prefigure the achievements of his celebrated first novel, Presumed Innocent, one of the best-selling and most talked about books of 1987.

Each September, a new crop of students enter Harvard Law School to begin an intense, often grueling, sometimes harrowing year of introduction to the law. Turow's group of One Ls are fresh, bright, ambitious, and more than a little daunting. Even more impressive are the faculty: Perini, the dazzling, combative professor of contracts, who presents himself as the students' antagonist in their struggle to master his subject; Zechman, the reserved professor of torts who seems so indecisive the students fear he cannot teach; and Nicky Morris, a young, appealing man who stressed the humanistic aspects of law.

Will the One Ls survive? Will they excel? Will they make the Law Review, the outward and visible sign of success in this ultra-conservative microcosm? With remarkable insight into both his fellows and himself, Turow leads us through the ups and downs, the small triumphs and tragedies of the year, in an absorbing and throught-provoking narrative that teaches the reader not only about law school and the law but about the human beings who make them what they are.

In the new afterword for this edition of One L, the author looks back on law school from the perspective of ten years' work as a lawyer and offers some suggestions for reforming legal education.
... Read more

Reviews (102)

2-0 out of 5 stars Outdated and melodramatic
As fiction, Turow's book is a decent read. As a portrait of Harvard Law School today, it's a dud. I haven't experienced a moment of the backstabbing competition Turow claims to have found everywhere 30 years ago. I have never heard anyone discussing his or her grades. The class is not ranked. Study aids are freely shared. Turow was simply going to a different law school than the one that exists now.

Bear in mind that Turow arrived at HLS with a contract to write this book. Drama, conflict, and agony are necessary ingredients of any good expose, and he provides them in abundance. My happy One-L year would have made the world's most boring book.

Read it for your own entertainment. It isn't bad literature. But don't let it scare you away from law school, or from Harvard.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good recount of the first year
I thought this book was an interesting portrayal of an Ivy League law school - I read it the summer before I began law school at a Jesuit law school on the West Coast.

Many of the 1L experiences will be the same no matter where one attends - the stress from competition, for example - I liked to characterize it as "the thrill of victory" (to get a cherished A) or the "agony of defeat" (to make an idiot out of yourself in class, which, I am sorry to say, I did on more than one occasion!)

My advice to prospective (and current) law students would be to buy the book, and read it with a grain of salt. I believe that each person has the ability to create their own destiny, and there's a hell of a lot more to learning the law, and succeeding in your chosen profession, than being in the top 5% and on law review - make friends, have fun, and most of all, use your knowledge to help more less fortunate than you, no matter if you went to Harvard or number #176 on U.S. News's list of 177 law schools. That's the key to success as an attorney, and in life, for that matter. Just my $.02!

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential read for pre-laws; still a good read for others.
This is a great book. If you are thinking about Law School, you HAVE to read it. Understand, though, that the Law School experience--and the HLS experience, in specific--has changed a lot since the time this book was written. Still, nothing can give you a better idea of what law school will be like than this book. Today, hundreds of law students keep blogs of their experience--this phenomenon was clearly inspired by this book, which is written like (and, in fact adapted from) Turow's journal.

Even if you're not Law School bound, this is an exciting, engaging book that tells a great story. Turow is, of course, a successful author and an established writer. This book stands on its own as a good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars IT HAS A SPOOKY ATTRACTION
I'm a Brit and I'm not a lawyer, I left University 22 years ago. I have kids and a dog (and a wife). I have never been to the USA and know virtually nothing about Harvard.

So why have i read this book FIVE TIMES !!?

It must be VOODOO because the whole thing about struggling through law school inspired me. Not only have I read it 5 times outright, I find myself even now dipping into it to catch a quick fix.

It is a truly tremendous book, full of humanity, intellectual discussion and it evinces a real love of the law.

It is probably one of, if not thee, best book old ST has written.

3-0 out of 5 stars The book probably does not represent the typical HLS Student
I'm not sure what to make of Turow's book. Here is a guy who goes to Harvard Law School, an institution which has existed in its present form for well over 200 years. As a first year law student, he has the nerve to have all these criticisms of the institution -- that it's hostile, that the law is not warm and fuzzy, that there are clear boundaries in the law, which seem to indicate that he has choosen the wrong field. He seemed to be quite selfish in that he wanted the school to change many of its most cheerished methods of teaching to satisfy one alienated, empty-headed student.

All readers assume that one's first year at Harvard Law School is challenging. Ironically, it does seem as though Harvard may have listened to Mr. Turow's complaints since I have not heard of the difficulty of the institution from other students/graduates. It is possible that they have dumbed-down the curriculum to satisfy those who would prefer to complain than learn.

At the same time, this book certainly opens our perspective in how the law school class is set up, including the Socratic method, to which I was already quite familiar with. I would urge readers not to think that Mr. Turow's experience is at all shared by most at Harvard -- or any other institution. Remember that Mr. Turow just happened to want to write about his experience, but many others who choose not to write probably had drastically different experiences. Maybe they choose to learn and excel rather than to criticize an institution ten times their age.

Mr. Turow's analysis of the other students also appears rather superficial and shallow. The students are essentially grouped into the achievers, the complainers (who think of themselves as "intellectuals," but who, in reality, are no more intellectual than a kindergardener with a crayon), and the professors who "harass" the students. What about the exact types of questions one faces in law school. How are the questions different from undergraduate life? Is law school merely a tarriff to prevent competition in the legal professsion? Also, as with most people who advocate change, Mr. Turow is remarkably short on specifics on how he would change the law school experience. The lack of specifics is common for those who gripe about the present but are unable to explain an alternative system to which they aspire.

This is certainly an interesting book, but I would hesitate to think that it is the Bible of the Law School experience. It is merely one story about one institution in a particular year. ... Read more

by Dennis Hutchinson
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684827948
Catlog: Book (1998-07-12)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 55092
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Justice Byron White had a life that could fill two biographies. As a young man, he was a national celebrity as a student athlete who excelled on both fronts. On the gridiron, he led Colorado to its first bowl game and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting; in the classroom, he earned himself a Rhodes scholarship. But he put off going to Oxford to lead the National Football League in rushing, garnering a record salary along the way.He served in World War II in the Pacific, and returned to earn another degree from Yale Law and clerk for the Supreme Court. After a year in the Kennedy administration, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he served three decades.

White's reputation with the press as a Supreme Court justice suffered because, despite his personal pro-choice views and desire for privacy, he dissented in Roe v. Wade and, 13 years later, wrote the majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, determining that "the Constitution does not confer a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy," even behind closed doors.

Hutchinson argues persuasively that these opinions were the result of a consistent judicial philosophy that refused to view the judiciary as a legislature. In his dissenting opinion in Roe v. Wade, for example, White wrote, "This issue, for the most part, should be left with the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs." And in Bowers v. Hardwick, he commented, "The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution."

Dennis Hutchinson, a former clerk for White and a University of Chicago Law professor, has written a smooth-reading biography of White, although it suffers from some gaps in coverage caused by his subject's passive lack of cooperation. Although clearly sympathetic to his subject, he writes in a neutral tone that provides a thorough overview of the justice's press coverage and Supreme Court work, helped in the latter by interviews with several dozen clerks (and, no doubt, Hutchinson's own experience). A remarkable book about a remarkable man. --Ted Frank ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A New Deal liberal from the Rocky Mountain front range.
Byron White began his long judicial career in dissent, resisting the rising tide of criminal procedure liberalism of the Warren Court, and ended it as the balance wheel of Rehnquist Court. In his 31 years on the Supreme Court, from 1962 to 1993, he was in the majority in 807 five-to-four decisions, more than any other justice in history, except for the wily William Brennan who served on the court for 34 years. White also has the signal distinction of being the only Democratic appointee to the Supreme Court since the end of World War II who profoundly disappointed his erstwhile partisan allies. Beyond the fact that White refused to "grow" his jurisprudence from its New Deal origins to accommodate the latest cultural avant-garde enthusiasms of the juridical left, little is known about White and his jurisprudence is widely misunderstood.

The litany of White's accomplishments and his early rise to the court serve to obscure the lines of his jurisprudence, which he never made an attempt to clarify. Hutchinson's principal accomplishment is to discern from the mass of White's opinions a sound jurisprudential framework obscured by bulk of White's output (1,275 opinions in 31 years), and in doing so refute the assertion that White was unpredictable.

Although White was popularly described as a conservative jurist, this confounds the term as it is used to describe a specific interpretive philosophy with the judicial tradition which White came to exemplify. Today judicial conservatism is virtually synonymous with "original meaning," the method of constitutional interpretation that holds that the Constitution means only what it was understood to mean by those whose assent made it law. This has certain implications, among them that the Congress's powers are limited to those enumerated, that the three branches of federal government and their powers are strictly separated, and that the states retain inviolable spheres of sovereignty. In this sense, White was not a conservative at all. Where, say, Justice Antonin Scalia would subscribe to these general notions, White would not. For instance, while Scalia believes that the law permitting the appointment of Independent Counsels violates the separation of powers doctrine (Morrison v. Olson), White sees it as a permissible experimentation with the form of government. And though Scalia believes that the powers of Congress are, however tangentially, limited (Lopez v. United States) and that the states retain areas of discretion where the Congress may not intrude (Printz v. United States), White views the powers of the Congress as essentially unlimited (Katzenbach v. McClung) and the states as retaining no sovereignty that the Congress is obliged to respect (Garcia v. San Antonio Metro. Transit Authority). Although Hutchinson views "New Deal liberal" and "pragmatist" as imperfect labels, his carefully wrought and insightful analysis of White's jurisprudence nonetheless establishes that they are fair and roughly approximate descriptions of Justice White.

In it's judicial aspect the New Deal generally sought to eliminate restrictions on the exercise of federal power. These breaks on government power were exemplified early in this century by an activist libertarian Supreme Court's invocation of natural rights and non-textual notions of substantive due process to strike economic regulation. Lochner v. New York, where the court struck down regulations on the working hours of bakers as a violation of their liberty to contract their labor, is perhaps the most famous bugbear of New Dealers. But restrictions also came in the form of the enumerated powers doctrine and in the form of early criminal procedure cases which, as Professor Akhil Reed Amar of Yale has noted, invoked natural law and private property rights, and thus restricted the government's policing powers. All of these, in one way or another, restricted federal action. Judges of New Deal era, then, had a distinctly negative ambition: To remove the restrictions on the exercise of federal power so that the Congress, acting with the Executive, could enact social reform.

The ambition of liberal judges changed, of course, with the rise of "the real Warren Court," which historian David P. Currie of the University of Chicago dates to the replacement of Justice Frankfurter by Arthur Goldberg late in 1962. "Willful judges," as Justice Scalia describes them, were no longer content with deferring to the overtly political branches, but were now eager to enact social reform themselves. The criminal procedure cases of the Warren Court were animated by the ideas that policing by the states was institutionally racist and that crime was a manifestation of disease, not evil, and should be addressed as a public health concern. Steeped in the New Deal idea of the judicial function, however, White largely dissented from Warren Court's innovations. He dissented from Miranda v Arizona, which mandated the now famous warnings to criminal suspects; prefiguring contemporary arguments, he wrote "there will not be a gain, but a loss, in human dignity" because under Miranda some criminals will be returned to the street to repeat their crimes.. White would also labor to limit the scope of rule excluding from trial illegally obtained evidence, and would dissent from Robinson v. California, where the court struck down a California statute criminalizing narcotics addiction. The court said that the state could not punish a person's "status" as an addict, only his conduct; White, sensibly enough, pointed out that addiction accrues through continuous willful behavior.

White was a pragmatist. He didn't believe that the provisions of the Bill of Rights had a "single meaning" or that constitutional provisions could be measured like the provisions of a deed, in "metes and bounds," but he was insistent that constitutional innovations be small and slow, and linked in a rational process. His father taught him that "You can't just stand on your rights all the time in a small town," and White had a lifetime aversion to "the angels of fashionable opinion," as Hutchinson memorably calls ideologues of various stripe. But White's contempt for philosophy could lead him astray. In Reitman v. Mulkey, White wrote the opinion of the court holding that California could not repeal a fair housing law because the repeal was motivated by animus toward minorities. In time, the case was precedent for the current Supreme Court's invalidation, in Romer v. Evans, of Colorado's attempt to deny homosexuals privileged legal status, and for a lower federal court to stay the implementation of California's Proposition 209, barring racial and sexual discrimination in state services. Pragmatism unguided by a philosophy lead White to judgments the long-term ill consequences of which he was not equipped to foresee.

However, White's small-step pragmatism and disdain for ideological enthusiasms kept him from joining most of the Warren and Burger Court's radical social agenda. Although he was willing to recognize, in Griswold v. Connecticut, a non-textual right to privacy permitting married couples access to contraception and even was willing to extend the right to non-married couples in Eisenstadt v. Baird, White famously and vigorously dissented from Roe v. Wade, privately telling people that he thought it was the only illegitimate decision the court made during his tenure. Perhaps just as upsetting to the votaries of judicial activism was White's majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, which held that Georgia could constitutionally prohibit homosexual sodomy. White briskly dismissed the argument that homosexual activity was constitutionally protected: "[T]o claim that a right to engage in such conduct is 'deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition' or 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty' is, at best, facetious."

In an sense, White was precisely the type of conservative -- one who slows progress, but does not reverse it; one who ratifies the past, whatever its content -- that liberals claim they want. Except for Roe, White would later vote to reaffirm precedent, on the basis of stare decisis, with which he had earlier disagreed. And yet, few modern justices -- except, perhaps, Justice Clarence Thomas -- have been the object of so much vitriol as White. When White retired in 1993, Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic called White "a perfect cipher" and a "mediocrity," Bruce Ackerman of Yale said he was "out of his depth," and the New York Times' Tom Wicker called him the "bitterest legacy of the Kennedy Administration." The best Calvin Trillin, writing in The Nation, could say of White was "We count his loyalty to team a boon/The other side might well select a loon" -- this in backhanded praise that White retired during a Democratic administration. These facile slurs betray the mercurial enthusiasms of the age more than they carefully trace the lineaments of Justice White's jurisprudence and are therefore more reflective of their authors than White's jurisprudence.

In many ways White is entirely alien to today's culture, popular and lega

5-0 out of 5 stars A Colorful Portrait Of A Man Named White
Hutchinson has written a fascinating contemporary biography of Justice White who is almost unique in his continued insistence on his privacy and personal dignity. Although the author eschews speculation as to White's family or personal life, one still gets a good sense of the man--his intelligence, tenacity, and just plain decency. At least as interesting are the times he lived in, and few lawyers or judges have shared the action and passion of their times more fully than Justice White--first on the gridiron, then in the classroom, in the world of affairs, and on the court. White had his shortcomings as a communicator and legal theorist, as Hutchinson aptly illustrates with the oral and written record. But would that our society had more such self-effacing, dedicated and excellent lawyers and public servants!

2-0 out of 5 stars This book did not include enough analysis.
This book was a disappointment. I think that with the recent comprehensive late 20th Century biographies, such as the recent ones about Rockefeller and Lindbergh and Nigel Hamilton's Reckless Youth, we have come to expect the biographer to do a thorough investigation and analysis of the circumstances that impacted the subject. While I do not expect a Freudian approach in every case (and would probably object to it if done expressly), I welcome gentle suggestions that link early events in the subject's life with the later, more well known, events. This analysis was missing from Whizzer (with the exception of the origins of his hatred for the press). The book reads as if it is a collection of on-line newspapers searches, ones that I could have done myself if NEXIS had newspapers dating back to the 30s. Didn't anybody keep a diary? Didn't anybody write letters? Didn't anybody have any introspective thoughts? To those who say that this type of analysis is not necessary for a judicial biography, I direct them to John Jeffrey's book about Powell, which I thought was very well done, and a good model for what a judicial biography can be.

3-0 out of 5 stars Insightful analysis of a very private man
Generally the book is good, but I would have liked to see less excessive detail about the football days -- college and professional. Half the book is devoted to this, including vital statistics of key games. (But if your interested in the earliest days of professional football this is a must read.) The scope of White's responsibilities with the Kennedy Justice department focused nearly exclusively on civil rights -- wasn't there more to his role and contributions? The author used three Supreme Court terms (out of 30+) to explore and elucidate White's jurisprudence. I would have like to see 2/3 less sports and 2/3 more Supreme Court. In the end, White's tightly focused and methodical approach has a value that I hope more Justices and judges adopt. Although he wasn't poetic or espoused ground-shaking social changes, his substantive value to the American legal system is widely misunderstood and underestimated, as Hutchison clearly documents. Lastly, we learn how much White disapproved of his nickname. It's a shame that the primary title had to force the name again on this proud man.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting book about a great Supreme Court Justice.
This is the first full-scale book about the most interesting Supreme Court Justice of the 20th Century. This book, which I just received from Amazon, provides a wonderful picture of a man whose accomplishments, on and off the bench, are truly amazing. A must read for anyone interested in the law, politics, American history or the Supreme Court. ... Read more

9. Letters to a Young Lawyer
by Alan Dershowitz
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465016316
Catlog: Book (2001-10)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 33481
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With wit, humor, and decades of personal experiences from which to draw, Alan Dershowitz dispenses advice on career, law, and life in a book aimed at those just starting out in the legal profession.

As defender of both the righteous and the questionable, Alan Dershowitz has become perhaps the most famous and outspoken attorney in the land. Whether or not they agree with his legal tactics, most people would agree that he possesses a powerful and profound sense of justice. In this meditation on his profession, Dershowitz writes about life, law, and the opportunities that young lawyers have to do good and do well at the same time.

We live in an age of growing dissatisfaction with law as a career, which ironically comes at a time of unprecedented wealth for many lawyers. Dershowitz addresses this paradox, as well as the uncomfortable reality of working hard for clients who are often without many redeeming qualities. He writes about the lure of money, fame, and power, as well as about the seduction of success.

In the process, he conveys some of the "tricks of the trade" that have helped him win cases and become successful at the art and practice of "lawyering." ... Read more

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone
Although some parts of this book contain useful advice, I am somewhat disappointed in it. First, Dershowitz too often uses this book as a sound board to express his political views about topics such as.. defense lawyers, judges, politics, etc. He comes off sounding arrogant and wastes the time of a reader who, like me, was looking for practical advice and lessons based upon his vast experience as an attorney, rather than his defense of his personal views of politics, law, and life in general. Second, this book is largely geared towards criminal law. I understand that this is what Dershowitz has spent his career practicing, but far too many chapters only apply to those who are interested in pursuing careers in criminal law. The book would be more aptly titled "Letters To A Young Criminal Lawyer." That is why I believe this book is not appropriate for everyone. There must be books written by well-known attorneys that dispense far better advice than this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed with Knowledge!
This is an excellent book - well written, cogent and persuasive - the perfect launch of the new Art of Mentoring series. Alan M. Dershowitz, an impassioned and outspoken attorney, is keenly aware of the risks and pitfalls of legal practice. He squarely confronts the fact that lawyers often find themselves having to make moral or ethical choices in ambiguous circumstances in which the lesser of two evils is the only possible choice because there is no clear good - and yet, no clearly lesser evil. The book does not pretend to be objective. It is a compilation of advice, great courtroom war stories, practical tips and philosophical conclusions. Dershowitz is a fighter who chose his side long ago and has no intention of deserting it. Some of his more liberal positions will seem wrong-headed or ill-considered to those who disagree. Well, not ill-considered; he is a thoughtful man who takes lawyering seriously. We recommend this book to you whether or not you intend to study or practice law. It is valuable for an audience far broader than only young lawyers, including those who hire them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but also see Common Sense Rules of Advocacy
Dershowitz's book is excellent, but another excellent book for new and young lawyers is "Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers" by Keith Evans, which is also a wonderful book for 3Ls who want to learn how to be effective advocates. Includes Roland Boyd's famous letter to his 3L son, "How to Succeed as a Lawyer".

What others have said about Evans book:

"Valuable review for the old timers and an excellent primer for those who are starting the climb."
-- Jacob A. Stein, Stein, Mitchell & Mezines, Washington, DC

"Superb how-to book ...that is refreshingly readable."
-- Karl Tegland, author, "Courtroom Handbook on Washington Evidence"

"A wonderful 'Bible' for the trial lawyer who wants to win. If only we had had this in law school!"
-- Browne Greene, Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, Santa Monica, CA

"Even the most experienced trial lawyer can pick up some new techniques here."
-- Frederick C. Moss, Professor, Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University

"Valuable insights and practical lessons for anyone who advocates for a living."
-- Steve Clymer, J.D., mediator, arbitrator, and facilitator with ACCORD Dispute Resolution Services, Inc.

"Remarkable compendium of useful advice."
-- Roxanne Barton Conlin, Roxanne Conlin & Associates, Des Moines, IA (first woman President of Association of Trial Lawyers of America)

"Great introduction for the new lawyer and a wonderful learning tool for the advocate with experience."
-- Sherman L. Cohn, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center (first national President of American Inns of Court)

"Terrific guidebook."
-- Philip H. Corboy, Corboy & Demetrio, Chicago, IL

You can see more testimonials and more information about Evans' book at Or search Amazon for ISBN 1587330059.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it
I'll keep this short and sweet. Please don't hold that against me. I LOVED this book. I am starting my first semester of law school soon, and I found this book to be enlightening and inspiring. Dershowitz is a gem among lawyers and of all his books I have read, this is the ONE that I would recommend for all law students.
Happy reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Down to earth, a good place to star with the law.
Candid, real world view of "the system," from a very personal place. Objections to the Dersh's political views miss the point. They are absurd really, as if New Journalism never was.

If you are in the law, here is a chance to see things through the eyes of a Seasoned, Old salt. Don't pass it up because you you may not agree with everything he says.

He does not appear to be trying to brainwash anyone. ... Read more

10. Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679722130
Catlog: Book (1989-07-17)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 56950
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Immensely readable...A Chicano Manchild in the Promised Land."

-- Publishers Weekly

Before his mysterious disappearance and probable death in 1971, Oscar Zeta Acosta was famous as a Robin Hood Chicano layer and notorious as the real-life model for Hunter S. Thompson's "Dr. Gonzo," a fat, pugnacious attorney with a gargantuan appetite for food, drugs, and life on the edge.

Written with uninhibited candor and manic energy, this book is Acosta's own account of coming of age as a Chicano in the psychedelic sixties, of taking on impossible cases while breaking all tile rules of courtroom conduct, and of scrambling headlong in search of a personal and cultural identity. It is a landmark of contemporary Hispanic-American literature, at once ribald, surreal, and unmistakably authentic.

"Acosta has entered counterculture folklore. This is the life story of a man whose pain is made real, whose roots are in question, and whose society seems to be fragmenting around him."

-- Saturday Review of Literature ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars wallowing in the trough of excess
Once one gets past the multiple occurences of multi-hued vomit and the daily self-love in the shower... As autobiography, one would do well to read this with some skepticism; Acosta makes himself into an icon of the 60s and 70s, and less a faithful recorder of that time. However, the book can also function as a wonderful novel read in the tradition of pulp novels of the 70s such as Valley of the Dolls. The last chapter shifts from the searching bravado and life on the edge quality into a moving testimony of who Acosta is, and what he is. The book has become one of the important books in the growing recognition of Chicano literature, and Oscar's papers are in a collection open to the public at the University of California. There's a 60 minute videotape of him, 10 of which are Acosta reading from this book. I wonder if his virtual voice is as wild and rich as the voice of the author in print?

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Brown Buffalo is basically a road story about a Mexican-American looking for his identity in a time before the Civil Rights movement. The narrative focuses on Oscar Acosta and his semi-autobiographical account of his life story. The hero of this novel is what makes it so good. Acosta's detailed storytelling keeps the reader interested throughout.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good story at heart
It is easy to dismiss this book. The hallucinations and drug-induced rants become a little exaggerated and tedious. Although, his friend and partner in crime, Hunter S. Thompson, would detail similar bizarre experiences in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, their intent seemed different. Whereas HST played with fantasy in social satire as a form of comic relief, OZA seems to want you to believe it to be fact...or at least for you to trust that he believed it.
With that said, the story is one of the most self-deprecating, odd, and entertaining autobiographies I have ever read. It can easily stand alone as study of a Mexican-American struggle for the American Dream, as well as companion book to Hunter S. Thompson enthusiasts. Regardless of your intent on picking this book up, OZA will amuse, disgust, and surprise you...making this a worthwhile read.

On a sidenote: This book truly makes you wonder, when HST and OZA joined up, who influenced who more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overhyped, Formless And Dull
Strong writing in places, but Acosta's style is sometimes hard to follow. Overall, I found the book to be meandering, formless, and kind of dull. The "Chicano in search of his identity" stuff is pure marketing hype. "A Chicano in search of beer, chicks and drugs" would be more like it--but there isn't much of that here, either, in case you're looking for a story of epic debauchery by Hunter Thompson's Samoan attorney. Acosta comes off as a fairly conservative character--he was a Christian missionary in Panama at one time--and basically apolitical at this point in his life. He wanders around the country, goes to bars, tries peyote, smokes some weed, drinks a lot of beer, but it's all pretty low key and, personally, I never thought this kind of thing was very interesting to begin with. Still, Acosta is a fairly sympathetic character and he's a better writer than most. This isn't a bad book, but it isn't that great, either--read Hunter Thompson instead

5-0 out of 5 stars A superb book
This book is one of the most memorable I have read in many years. Oscar lived an incredible life, and his ability to render it in this book is consistently amazing. I've read this book about three times, and I reflect on the trajectory of Oscar's life often. ... Read more

11. Lazy B : Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812966732
Catlog: Book (2003-04-08)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 39835
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now, for the first time in paperback, here is the remarkable story of Sandra Day O’Connor’s family and early life, her journey to adulthood in the American Southwest that helped make her the woman she is today—the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and one of the most powerful women in America. In this illuminating and unusual book, Sandra Day O’Connor tells, with her brother, Alan, the story of the Day family, and of growing up on the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B ranch in Arizona.

Laced throughout these stories about three generations of the Day family, and everyday life on the Lazy B, are the lessons Sandra and Alan learned about the world, self-reliance, and survival, and how the land, people, and values of the Lazy B shaped them. This fascinating glimpse of life in the Southwest in the last century recounts an important time in American history, and provides an enduring portrait of an independent young woman on the brink of becoming one of the most prominent figures in America.
... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beatifully captures a bygone era of the American Southwest
I loved reading this beautiful, gritty account of the remote Arizona cattle ranch where O'Connor and her brother grew up. The book is a portrait of the Lazy B ranch and the family and cowboys who created and sustained it for over a century. O'Connor's account is unromantized and yet touching, and it succeeds in vividly revealing a bygone way of life from the old West.

We see the the daily rhythms and activities of ranch life, the ongoing struggles of the Day family to keep the ranch afloat, and portraits of the colorful, rugged cowboys who worked at the Lazy B for most of their lives. And we hear the perspectives and fond recollections of the young girl (O'Connor) and her brother who grew up there.

If you are drawn to the West, you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Memoir
Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor and her brother, H. Alan Day, tell the story of growing up in the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B Ranch in Arizona. The book is organized as a series of vignettes ranging from character sketches of the cowboys who spent their lives on the ranch to rain to the BLM.

I loved this book. I first became aware of it during a trip to southern Arizona. The authors describe a way of life -- on an isolated cattle ranch -- that is almost extinct. I knew that water was important in such a land, but I didn't know that the majority of the time of the owners and employees of the ranch was spent in maintaining the wells, windmills and pumps that provided that water.

I also enjoyed comparing the book to Jimmy Carter's An Hour Before Daybreak, his memoir of his childhood in rural south Georgia during a similar time period.

2-0 out of 5 stars Semi-BORING
This book seemed politically written. The "right" word took center-stage over the substance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only the B was Lazy
Growing up in a city, I always wondered during car trips through ranchland how the people there lived. Was it a hard life? Lonely? Were they like us in the city?

I knew from movies and TV that calves in pastures were grown into large steers through a gradual process of fistfighting and gunslinging, with the cowboys taking frequent breaks to drink whiskey and play poker. But that was only part of the story. What role did the women and children play? Why the windmills? Who provided basic services?

All these questions and more have now been answered by a Supreme Court Justice, of all things. Lazy B is Sandra Day O'Connor's memoir of her girlhood on a ranch in the desert Southwest. The simple unaffected style of her writing is just right to convey the power of the story: a family living on a desolate ranch for 113 years--a happy family, a resourceful and persistent family.

The Day ranch had already been operating for 50 years when Sandra was born in 1930, and was still going strong when she was appointed to the high court 51 years later. The Days didn't have hot running water until 1937, but when they did it was from a solar heater designed by Sandra's father--40 years ahead of the solar energy craze of the 1970s.

That sort of self reliance and innovation is one of the main themes of the book: when they needed more water they built windmills to bring it up out of the ground. When the windmills broke, they fixed them. Before the windmills and solar heater, the limited hot water for bathing was used in sequence: first Sandra's mother, then her father, then the children, then the ranch hands, if they had any interest in the water that remained. Not a cushy life, but several of the cowboys liked it enough to stay at Lazy B for over 50 years.

The self-reliance in the area of first aid is even more striking: Sandra's father successfully mending the uterus of a cow with a wine bottle and some stitches; one of the cowhands giving himself a root canal with red hot baling wire, or taping his broken finger to a nail so he could keep working.

And while all of them--Mom,Dad,kids,cowhands--did whatever they had to do to keep working, O'Connor's memories are overwhelmingly happy ones of card games and wild animal pets and riding through the desert and, more than anything else, conversations. One gets the impression that no one ever had a better childhood.

O'Connor may or may not be a great justice--I don't know much about the law--but it seems to me that she was a part of something great long before she ever got a law degree. A happy family and a solvent ranch are two things which are hard to maintain for more than a dozen years. The Days did it for a dozen plus a year and a century. Looking at the picture on page 257, I see the very bedrock of the country.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Facinating Portrail of a Time Gone...By a Facinating Woman
Sandra Day O'Connor is simply one of the most impressive women to have lived in the 20th Century. I've only very recently reached this opinion, primarily based on listening to her read 'Lazy B'. Her childhood was remarkable, and it is indeed a testament to her character. Her voice is distinct and understated. Yet, one can tell that she is at once humble and proud. I highly recommend listening to her reading of the book, and I believe that you will come away with a strong impression of this distinguished lady. ... Read more

12. Ten Minutes from Normal
by Karen Hughes
list price: $25.95
our price: $10.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033057
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Viking Press
Sales Rank: 4974
Average Customer Review: 2.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Karen Hughes has worked beside President George W. Bush since, as she says, "the motorcade was only one car and he was sometimes the one driving it." As counselor to the president, she brought the working mom’s perspective to the White House, often asking of President Bush’s policies, "What does this mean for the average person?"

Yet the move from Texas to Washington was hard on her family, and in a controversial, headline-making decision that reverberated across America, she chose to place family first and quit the nation’s capital to return to Austin. There, Hughes continues to advise the president, where the kitchen wall calendar marks the State of the Union message side by side with her son’s orthodontist appointments.

In this disarmingly down-to-earth, warm, often funny, and frank book, Hughes looks at her unique career in George W. Bush’s inner circle and the universal concerns of balancing work and family. Ten Minutes from Normal—the title comes from the campaign trail––is a remarkable blend of the story of a "normal" woman who rose to great heights and an insightful look at American politics and America’s forty-third president.

This is a book for the legions of women and men everywhere who are seeking new inspiration for how to remember their priorities and achieve balance in their lives. Most important, in a post-9/11 world, Hughes redefines the very notion of what is "normal" as something special and precious, never to be taken for granted in America again. ... Read more

Reviews (107)

1-0 out of 5 stars Watch what she does ...
As you might expect from a former communications director, Karen Hughes' book "Ten minutes from Normal" is all spin. She writes with total conviction, but her observations are often at odds with the observations of other administration officials who have written books. For example, Hughes says that George Bush "asked questions that went right to the heart of the matter" and had a "laserlike ability to distill an issue to it's core." In contrast, Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill (as told to Ron Suskind) said he was clueless and disinterested.

Hughes' choices of what to include and what to omit from the book are sometimes curious. There are only a couple of lines that obliquely hint about how her conservative mother influenced her future political leanings. She describes a pineapple dish she served at a dinner party 15 years earlier and names scores of people she's met in her career but most of us have never heard of (who cares who was in her exercise and Bible-study groups). At the same time, she mentions nothing about what most readers would consider important issues that might have been discussed by top administration officials before September 11, 2001, such as terrorism and Al-Qaeda. You'd think Condi would have mentioned it many times during her briefings at the mandatory morning Senior Staff meetings. She also doesn't say much about the 2000 election considering how unique it was in the history of the country. She mentions the process of recounting the votes (which she calls "re-creating") but says nothing about the thousands of black voters who were unfairly purged from the rolls by Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris.

There are no new revelations in the book that might be of interest to a follower of politics. Hughes says she has no knowledge of who was responsible for the smear campaign against John McCain in the South Carolina primary, or who exposed Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover agent. She does confirm that Condoleeza Rice talked to Bush after the first plane struck the twin towers but doesn't mention if the discussion involved Osama bin Laden or "My Pet Goat." She does concede that Bush needs two days to prepare for a major speech whereas Clinton would make changes right up to the minute he gave the speech.

Hughes admits she can't sing but doesn't seem to realize she also has no sense of humor. This is clear from several instances in which Hughes says people didn't "get her jokes," such as "message ADD." When she characterizes Bush's selection in the 2000 election as "a resounding 49 percent victory," you're not sure she meant it as a joke or whether she's somehow serious. Even her son Robert has this figured out in his diary inserts (the only honest and genuine parts of the book). One unintentionally amusing piece of the book is the juxtaposition of the eight and ninth pictures that show Hughes wearing the same blouse and pant suit in photos taken a year apart. Fashion aside, it's surprising how someone who is so detail oriented and careful in the selection of words didn't notice the similarities in the two pictures.

Hughes grouses because Democrats characterized Bush as inarticulate and inexperienced during the 2000 election. Then she describes how hard her staff worked to characterize Al Gore as a flip-flopper who would do anything to win the election. Later, she says the Bush administration staffs were "remarkably collegial" (obviously Rumsfeld and Powell didn't get the word). She's angry because the terrorists aren't "constrained by the facts" and because they "hate everyone who doesn't think like them." Karen, please ... look in a mirror.

This book reaffirms the old adage, "don't pay any attention to what politicians say, watch what they do." You'll get more satisfaction from reading "My Pet Goat" than "Ten Minutes from Normal."

2-0 out of 5 stars Karen Loves Herself
I read a review that said whether or not you are a Bush person would decide if you like this book or not. Well, I am a huge supporter of the president and I have to say, this book falls short. I found it hard to swallow how highly this woman thinks of herself. I do think she was a good communications advisor to the president and I guess that is why I was expecting more. For the money, you are much better off with David Frum's The Right Man. If you can pick this up at the library, it might be worth your time, but if you are spending money, I recommend looking in another direction.

4-0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes at the White House
I sat next to Karen Hughes at a breakfast during the time she was working on this book, and gave her an old Lauren Bacall autobiography I had just finished, insisting that she not trouble herself with returning it to me. She did, of course. I liked her at the time, and her book only reinforces the impression. She is a very forthright and intense person, yet in a very winningly feminine way. She is also a deeply religious person, and not shy about letting you know it from time to time, but to my mind she strikes just the right balance.

She deals with several topics of wide interest here. She began as a reporter and migrated to politics, as the communications chief for George W. Bush, so the interface between government and the press is a constant theme. The whole book is also a study in women in politics, not only because of Hughes herself but because Condoleeza Rice is her good friend and probably appears more often than anyone outside Hughes's family or Bush himself. (I am thinking of the ways in which Rice and Hughes actually influence our nation's governance throughout this story, and also the issue, for Hughes, of balancing family life with an all-consuming job-not just a women's issue of course.) The style and personality of the president is another overriding theme.

There are two other themes that are important but not so continual: the 2000 presidential campaign and the events after 9/11.

I mention all of this because I think the cover might narrow one's expectations: "Karen Hughes, Counselor to the President, Wife and Mother. The Woman who left the White House to put family first, and moved back home to Texas." Yes, the family is key, but there is so much more. I might add that her government ranking was equivalent to that of a three-star general. She is no lightweight.

Here's a nugget on the hard core side: "Ironically, the reluctance of nations such as France and Germany to join us in challenging Saddam probably emboldened him [Bush] and made war more likely, not less."

More personally, she lofts a great quote from Martin Luther King: "Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve."

This is not high literature, and doesn't pretend to be, but it's an important book for anyone who would like to understand a little bit of the background of our times and see a more personal side of the current administration.

3-0 out of 5 stars I like Karen Hughes, but this book falls short.
Karen Hughes is a role model for a lot of women trying to balance career and family. She is a genuinely good person, and this book just exudes pleasantness. I would recommend it highly for women. I think she had women in mind when writing it. She was speaking to them.

So, as a man, it was not my favorite book, but it had some very admirable points. I think it gives a great insider perspective and insight into some moments of recent importance in American history, including the 2000 campaign, the Florida recounts, and September 11, 2001.

I like Karen Hughes, but I found some of her more autobiographical passages from growing up to be somewhat boring. I could have done without those, personally. Some people will definitely enjoy them, however.

I do give her points for her candid discussion of her faith. It takes courage as a national public figure to go on record like that.

While this book didn't quite win me over, the world definitely needs more people like Karen Hughes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ten Minutes From Normal
An inspiring read that gives one an idea what it is like to be in the White House and next to power. The difference is Ms Hughes gives it a much more personal flavor with humorous stories and her personal philosophy. It should be a must read for " Bush Bashers" as at least they can get a first hand understanding of the character of the President rather than base their judgement on spin and often times data that lacks supportive facts. I closed the last page and thought that it was an unsual woman who could balance family, faith, friendship and still survive and be at the top of the players in the jungles of Washington. Additionally, some lagniappe is her faith that weaves through the book and gave me food for thought and the realization that we have some people of excellent character in the White House. It is an easy fun and informative read. ... Read more

13. Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining: America's Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out
by Judy Sheindlin, Josh Getlin
list price: $12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060927941
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 21013
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Can we get some reality in here?" asks Judy Sheindlin, former supervising judge for Manhattan Family Court. For twenty-four years she has laid down the law as she understands it:

  • If you want to eat, you have to work.

  • If you have children, you'd better support them.

  • If you break the law, you have to pay.

  • If you tap the public purse, you'd better be accountable.

Now she abandons all judicial restraint in a scathing critique of the system--filled with realistic hard-nosed alternatives to our bloated welfare bureaucracy and our soft-on-crime laws. ... Read more

Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars You Go Judy!
I'm so happy Judge Judy came out with this book. Not only does it offer excellent pointers for our lacky government, she gives tips for new lawyers and judges. I'm in college waiting to go to law school, and this book should be required for every class. We can all learn from Judy on what's needed in our judicial system that other judges are lacking. Her suggestions to improve our system make a lot of sense. For example, she believes that once a foster care home is financially stable that we should cut off the money limit we send them. Instead of wasting tax payers money with counselors that aren't needed, let's make sure the housing situation is fine and then stop using our money for waste. If Judge Judy runs for president, she has my vote! YOU GO JUDY YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Judge Judy for President!
Judge Judy, once again, tells it like it is. If you've seen her on TV then you know exactly that she's no pushover. A lot of "bleeding hearts" would never agree with her statements, but I was pleased to read that someone has the courage to stand up and say that things need to change. Being a family court judge, she's seen it all. Women abusing the welfare system by having numerous kids, men hiding from paying child support, people on welfare refusing to work on the basis that it is "below them" and so many other mini case studies fill this book.
I say "Judge Judy for President!!"

3-0 out of 5 stars Careful or you'll besot the robe!
With all due respect, maybe Her Honor keeps getting urine on her leg because she sticks her foot where it doesn't belong?

4-0 out of 5 stars Whatever You Do, Don't Mess With This Lady!
I don't normally read books that are ghostwritten. This one, however, was not only informative but wildly entertaining. See Judge Judy skewer self-proclaimed victims, lazy attorneys, callous bureaucrats, unwed teen mothers, craven foster parents, and in general anyone who while serving themselves degrades the lives we all lead in this land of ours.

The only negative I can think of is that, too often, points that need more detail end up as truncated sound bites. By making her points as succinctly as possible, Judge Judy has justifiably won for herself quite a following -- although the book's trenchant style is not dissimilar to her TV appearances, so I can't blame the ghost writer. I guess I'm just too much of a detail wonk to feel comfortable with short shrift on major subjects. Give me facts, footnotes, and all those other scholarly trappings that take me beyond the level of the merely anecdotal.

But this book is not meant for people like me, though I can enjoy it as much as anyone. Judge Judy's elevation of COMMON SENSE to a principle of jurisprudence is guaranteed to make you think, even if it doesn't satisfy all bases.

4-0 out of 5 stars Draconic and Laconic
"Judge Judy" Sheindlin is the sort of woman who commands respect. To her fans, she's a bastion of common sense, intent on restoring order to a system out of control. To her detractors, she is a menace to civil rights who would turn back the clock on family law. Both her regimen and her reputation are reminiscent of Maggie Thatcher's. Both women came from run-a-day, middle-class backgrounds. Both entered their careers at a time when women faced immense up-hill struggles. Both compensated by becoming "iron ladies," tougher than their male counterparts. Both write and speak clearly and effectively. Their messages are also similar: regress is progress. To improve the system, we've got to go "back to the future."

As an avid fan of her TV program, I was a little disappointed by the format of the book. The writing style is that of a U.S.A. Today editorial. That aside, I could not agree more with her agenda. However, it is crucial that readers understand how sharply her sentiments diverge from contemporary practice... and why.

Needless to say, criminal- and family-law professors are basically the exact opposite of Judge Judy. Most lawyers receive their training from left-wing defense attorneys obsessed with defendants' rights. Even conservative attorneys have been inculcated with a strong distaste for the 1950s justice system. So let me assure readers that the ideas in this book are NOT going to be well received by law's guiding voices. Of course, academics are not the audience this book intends to reach. Sheindlin wants to reach the masses of people who are fed up with a system that prefers the sensitive and the expensive over the draconic and the laconic.

So what are Judge Judy's proposals? Among other things, she recommends:

- Maximum sentences for first-time juvenile offenders. Judy is not afraid to send 14-year-olds to adult prisons. "You're no less dead if your murderer is fifteen or fifty."

- Punitive rather than therapeutic interventions. No more therapy for people who deserve punishment.

- A vast reduction in "handouts" such as welfare, social security disability, foster care grants, or just plain charity. "They are picking our pockets," says Sheindlin.

- If a middle class kid drops out of school, the $2,000 tax break their parents claim should be eliminated.

- Overturn confidentiality laws. Convicted rapists and child sex-offenders should be forced to get HIV-tested. Currently, courts do not have the power to side step the rapists' precious civil rights. Often these become plea-bargaining tools for defense lawyers. Essentially, the defendant agrees to consent to testing if his jail time is lessened. That's just wrong.

- Dead-beat dads should be forced not only to pay up... but also to work.

- Convicted prisoners should either be forced to forfeit their right to free speech, or else personally pay the costs of litigating their complaints. That would unclog the frivolous and often bizarre litigations they bring - like the gang leader who sued the prison over his right to display his "colors" in jail.

- Juvenile delinquents should be photographed and fingerprinted. Their records should not be held confidentially. That is currently illegal in order protect minors.

- The seemingly admirable goal of placing children with their mothers should be abandoned. Group homes show better results for troubled kids from dysfunctional homes and communities.

- Mothers who fraudulently claim that their estranged boyfriends and husbands committed child-abuse should lose their custody. If there's no evidence, it's likely a cooked-up story. Dad, not mom, should get the kids in such cases.

- America needs a national curfew for kids under eighteen. Sheindlin recommends 9 p.m. on weeknights and 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

- There should be a total elimination of the parole system. In its place, the rule should be one weekly check-in / drug-test at the nearest police precinct. Those who fail to meet this requirement go back to jail. No ifs, ands, or buts. The warrant should go out five minutes after the "parolee" failed to be there.

- Do away with Public Defenders. Everyone should have to pay. There should be no free rides. The day the defendant starts working is the day the government starts deducting his attorney's cost from his pay.

- Parents should pay the cost of juvenile delinquents' jail times. Why should society pay for their mistakes? Perhaps parents will take criminal delinquency more seriously when their purse is being hit.

- Juvenile courts should not be shielded from public scrutiny. If a judge keeps putting little monsters back on the street, the press should be available to complain about it.

However welcome these reforms might look to the average reader, be assured that there is army of contentious lawyers out there prepared to hack them to bits. To them, Sheindlin's smorgasbord of fixes are really just the fantasies of a harsh disciplinarian. It's important that readers see how unlikely all of her proposals are. Take getting rid of public defenders. I can already hear the chorus of ACLU lawyers chomping at the bit: What about the innocent? What about the poor? What about making sure we get paid on the public dollar - rather than having to collect from these deadbeats?

But don't despair, all you Judge Judy fans out there. It might happen someday... especially if the system keep's going the way it's been going. Keep your fingers crossed. Who knows? Things can always change. ... Read more

14. v. Goliath : The Trials of David Boies
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 0375421130
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 877551
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15. CCB : The Life and Century of Charles C. Burlingham, New York's First Citizen, 1858-1959
by George Martin
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
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Asin: 080907317X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-15)
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Sales Rank: 293045
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The exemplary life of an extraordinary politician and reformer.

Though he held no elected or appointed office, the New York City lawyer Charles C. Burlingham had great influence with those who did, and used it in unusual ways. George Martin's surprising biography shows how one citizen, working quietly behind the scenes, became a power broker who transformed his country's civic life.

Growing up after the Civil War, CCB--as everyone called him--was enthralled by America's dynamism of his city but shocked by the social costs of modernization, and he deplored the endemic corruption of city politics; eventually he let his law practice take a backseat to civil reform work. His second career in "meddling," as he called it, helped to put great judges on the bench (among them Benjamin Cardozo) and climaxed when he arranged the Fusion reform ticket on which Fiorello La Guardia swept to victory in 1933. Nor does Martin neglect Burlingham's private life--his eccentric wife, tragically afflicted son, and daughter-in-law Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham, who took CCB's grandchildren off to Vienna to be analyzed, as she was, by Sigmund and Anna Freud.

This adroit, engaging account of a high-spirited, good-hearted, talented man, chronicling his witty, effective commitment to social betterment, vividly documents a century of change in the ways Americans lived, their cities were governed, and their nation fought wars.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Disovered Treasure
Mr. Burlingham deserves the serious and engaging review of his contributions to American society so adroitly recounted by George Martin. This book is absolutely terrific. And the question we must ask is are there any CCB's to be found in the future of America? We need them. ... Read more

16. Vanishing Point : The Disappearance of Judge Crater, and the New York He Left Behind
by Richard J. Tofel
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
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Asin: 1566636051
Catlog: Book (2004-08)
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
Sales Rank: 43940
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Book Description

The sudden disappearance of Judge Joseph Crater nearly 75 years ago led to perhaps the most famous missing persons case of the twentieth century.Within days, questions arose about his finances, and his liaison with numerous women. A revealing look at New York as the Jazz Age gave way to the Depression, and one of the most intriguing stories in the annals of uran America ... Read more

17. The Revolt of the Cockroach People
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0679722122
Catlog: Book (1989-08-28)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 130082
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The further adventures of "Dr. Gonzo" as he defends the "cucarachas" -- the Chicanos of East Los Angeles.

Before his mysterious disappearance and probable death in 1971, Oscar Zeta Acosta was famous as a Robin Hood Chicano lawyer and notorious as the real-life model for Hunter S. Thompson's "Dr. Gonzo" a fat, pugnacious attorney with a gargantuan appetite for food, drugs, and life on the edge.

In this exhilarating sequel to The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, Acosta takes us behind the front lines of the militant Chicano movement of the late sixties and early seventies, a movement he served both in the courtroom and on the barricades. Here are the brazen games of "chicken" Acosta played against the Anglo legal establishment; battles fought with bombs as well as writs; and a reluctant hero who faces danger not only from the police but from the vatos locos he champions. What emerges is at once an important political document of a genuine popular uprising and a revealing, hilarious, and moving personal saga.

"Acosta has entered counterculture folklore:"

-- Saturday Review of Literature ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kansas
Re-Saturday Review of Literature
Oscar Acosta disappeared in Mexico in 1974, not 1971 (the year of his trip to Las Vegas with Dr. Thompson).

5-0 out of 5 stars Correction
Re-Saturday Review of Literature
Oscar Acosta disappeared in Mexico in 1974, not 1971 (the year of his trip to Las Vegas with Dr. Thompson).

5-0 out of 5 stars First Impressions
This is the most realistic book I have ever seen about Mexican American hippies in Aztlan, the Chicanos of the 1960's neo-freedom movements. It will surely become a collector's item worth saving in this era of gung-ho Americanism which does not know the kind of objectivity Acosta displays with regard to how we think and why we believe as we do. Hunter S. Thompson described the author better than I can in his introduction to the book, highlighting his uniqueness while lamenting his untimely passing. I will write more after I give the book a more thorough second reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs, and Politics
I read this book after finding out that Oscar Zeta Acosta was the fat Samoan lawyer from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Acosta's style is similar, with a lot of drugs and sex with minors. The differences are that Acosta isn't tripping the whole time and he has time to incite political rallies. I love when they protest the Catholic church, or when he pleasures himself with some nubile young high schoolers under a blanket during a sit-in.... For those interested in the turbulent times that was the 60s, this is a must-read.

4-0 out of 5 stars An awareness that should be taught to todays young Chicanos
After reading this book, and actually living through those turbulent times of the 60's and 70' s , it was refreshing to read and feel the burning frustration and love that this man was experiencing and the way he expressed his anger against the machine. This type of awareness has been lost , due to us the forefathers of the Chicano Movement, to teach our own and other's children of how important those actions were, so that we may emphasize education, political power and family values. We have implemented a course in Chicano Studies in schools, we now have political representation in our governments, and many more success stories that are due to the work of such people as Cesar Chavez, Ruben Salazar and Corky Gonzales. Oscar Zeta was a man amongst his own that was afraid of nothing and no one.My thanks to him for fighting the powers that be and for creating an example for all of us, regardless of race. You have to stand up for what you believe and Acosta is atrue testament to that. ... Read more

18. Brennan & Democracy
by Frank I. Michelman
list price: $17.95
our price: $17.95
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Asin: 0691122490
Catlog: Book (2005-01-14)
Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
Sales Rank: 433723
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19. My Life and an Era: The Autobiography Buck Colbert Franklin
by Buck Colbert Franklin, John Hope Franklin, John Whittington Franklin
list price: $36.95
our price: $36.95
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Asin: 0807122130
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Sales Rank: 851729
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20. Courting Justice: From New York Yankees vs. Major League Baseball to Bush vs. Gore, 1997-2000
by David Boies
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0786868384
Catlog: Book (2004-10-13)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 718
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David Boies's memoir should be a bestseller for two simple reasons. First, his spectacular legal career, representing clients as diverse as Al Gore, George Steinbrenner, the U.S. Justice Department, and Calvin Klein, provides ample material for a compelling exploration of the practice of law in its most high-profile glory. And secondly, the book seems bound to sell well simply because most enterprises Boies gets himself involved with, from lawsuits to Las Vegas gambling, tend to pay off big. In Courting Justice, Boies traces the intricacies of numerous cases, such as Bush v. Gore in the hotly contested 2000 Florida recount, Steinbrenner's action against Major League Baseball, and the U.S. Government's antitrust litigation against Microsoft. At the same time he sheds light on the legal profession itself, exploring the politics of the profession and the power plays endemic to it. As though presenting his cases to a jury, Boies lays out the framework and issues of each case in a patient, step-by-step manner that illuminates the nature of the litigation and Boies's strategy while also supporting the narrative arc of the story he's trying to tell. As with many top lawyers, there is more than a dollop of ego and pride in Boies's accounts. Throughout Courting Justice Boies portrays himself as the voice of reason, possessed of a shrewd sagacity that his rivals and peers can only admire with slack-jawed amazement. Then again, when you look at the numerous legal triumphs and precedent-setting cases he was involved in, especially during the late 1990s, his arrogance is perhaps well earned. Regardless, it lends confidence to his outstanding ability to turn a phrase and tell a story, which, combined with the numerous stories he has to tell, makes David Boies's latest effort a success once again. --John Moe ... Read more

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