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Book reviews for "Thomas,_Clarence" sorted by average review score:

Clarence Thomas : A Biography
Published in Hardcover by Encounter Books (2002)
Author: Andrew Peyton Thomas
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Buy this book in spite of the biased review Amazon provides
It is quite simply a masterpiece. Justice Thomas is portrayed as a real human being who has survived the castigation of the far Left... with a dignity that speaks loud and clear above the wailing of the extreme left Liberals who cannot believe a man of color exists who they cannot control. Read how this man of incredible intellect and courage overcomes all odds to become the first black intellectual to occupy the bench. Unlike Thurgood Marshall who knew political correctness before it became the defacto "law of the land", this biography portrays a true independent thinker and voice for judicial freedom that will not be silenced. The depths to which the Left will sink in its outrage when anyone escapes from the plantation is well documented. The viciousness of the Left and NOW during the Hill debacle is nicely contrasted with their mute impotent silence during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. It is well written and well researched, and most importantly unbiased unlike other competing biographies. Somehow this bio was allowed to be published. Do not forgo the opportunity to read and own your own copy.

At first I was worried that I would not be able to get through Thomas' early life to get to his Supreme Court years, by about 75 pages in, I wondered how the Supreme Court years could be as good as the first part of the book was turning out to be. This book is great and, amazingly, a quick read, not to mention well researched and very unbiased. The author takes Thomas to task for his occational self-indulgence, and yet paints a picture of Thomas that leaves me hoping I just read a biography of the next Chief Justice.

A Profile in Courage
This biography of Justice Thomas is outstanding. It encompasses time from pre-civil war slavery to the decision of Bush v. Gore. Although the author's treatment of Justice Thomas is evenhanded, it would be difficult to complete this work without having a greater appreciation for Justice Thomas' independence and intelligence.

Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power : Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality
Published in Paperback by Pantheon Books (1992)
Authors: Toni Morrison, Nellie Y. McKay, and Michael Thelwell
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Issues just as important today as they were then.
Take one overwhelmingly male-centered and predominantly white society, add huge portions of power, racism, sexism, a misinformed public and gross displays of injustice, and you've got a recipe for the American way. This collection of essays written at the time of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings holds every bit of relevance now as it did nine years ago. Highlighting earlier civil rights legal battles and connecting their influence to the hearings themselves, each essayist examines in progressive detail just how pervasive--indeed, how dangerously latent--racism and sexism are in our society. How the volatile and often avoided issue of race can blind the equally volative and often dismissed issue of sexism in any race. In these essays, we are given a shockingly clear image of the circus that was the mishandling of the hearings. Explosive, revealling, and thought-provoking, this book yanks the proverbial rose-colored glasses from our collective American conscience and dares us to think for ourselves.

Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas
Published in Paperback by Plume (1995)
Authors: Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson
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A triumph of Ambition.
Strange Justice tells the story of the strange choice of Clarence Thomas as supreme court justice, and the strange from of justice that Anita Hill encountered when she tried to tell what she knew about him.

The book is well written and seems to be thoroughly researched. There are copious end notes detailing the sources the authors used, and the interviews they were granted. The authors leave no doubt that they believe that Anita Hill was sexually harassed. They also believe that Clarence Thomas should not be a supreme court justice. Perhaps someone better informed than I would be less easily persuaded, but I found their arguments convincing. That however is not the reason to read this book.

This book is worth reading for the amazing story of how aggressive and well organized the Republicans were, and how inept and naive the Democrats were. The Republicans spared no effort in organizing a national campaign to get their nominee approved, despite the fact that his only qualification was ambition. The cynicism is astounding. The Democrats on the other hand had no idea what was going on till it was too late. Even when Anita Hill presented them with an opportunity to derail the nomination of the reactionary Thomas they were too timid and passive to take advantage of it. The result was that the unqualified Thomas is now a supreme court justice, and Hill was savaged in the hearings.

The changes in the perception of sexual harassment as a result of these events are only briefly discussed. I would have liked to see more discussion of the after effects, and less of Thomas record at the EEOC.

a littel biase
hi i love this book i am 13 years old and love this book
i may be a littel biase becouse Jill Abramson was the first person to hold me after my mother and Jill Abramson is one of my moms best freinds but i like this book

Hypocracy, cynicism, and raw political muscle
I was prompted to read "Stange Justice" after reading the press about David Brock's recent confession disavowing his slander of Anita Hill in "The Real Anita Hill". Interestingly, the interim between the Thomas Supreme Court justice hearings and the present make this study more interesting. Since the president who manipulated Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court is the current president's father, many of those involved in the lobbying and selling of Clarence Thomas are operatives in the present presidential administration. After reading this account readers will find this particularly discouraging, as clearly they have had no accountability for the many miscarriages of justice which are documented.

This chronicle of the Thomas nomination places the Bush and Reagan administratons in an extremely unattractive light. However, as the two authors are senior editors with the "Wall Street Journal" this cannot be dismissed as a one sided liberal diatribe. "Strange Justice" is fair and balanced, and gives appropriate "credit" to the democrats for their timidity in failing to respond to the many opportunities to prevent Thomas's confirmation. There was bittersweet justice in that many of the "moderate" democrats who negotiated with the Bush administration due to imminent relection concerns ultimately ended up being defeated by constituents disgusted by their acquiescence in having allowed Thomas's approval.

"Strange Justice" does engage in a bit of pop psychology, drawing conclusions regarding how Thomas's childhood and career have molded his political philosophy. In summary, they describe an unhappy childhood resulting in a bitter, warped man with an immense chip on his shoulder. However, the Republicans made his origins fair game by selling Thomas on the basis of his noble, modest origins and "remarkable" success story. The authors are considerably more generous to Anita Hill, whose questionable judgement they attribute to naiviete. However, they also make a convincing case regarding an understandable reticience to respond to sexual harassment, as evidenced by the shameful way she was slandered by machinery of the Bush administration.

This is an important and chilling book. Unfortunately, it only leaves you more cynical about the machinations of our government.

First Principles: The Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas
Published in Hardcover by New York University Press (1999)
Author: Scott Douglas Gerber
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A fair and balanced portrait of Justice Clarence Thomas.
In writing "First Principles," Scott Douglas Gerber has done something that few, if any, members of the media or legal cognoscenti have even contemplated: giving Justice Thomas a "fair shake."

Mr. Gerber should be commended for presenting a balanced portrait of Justice Thomas's jurisprudence. Gerber dispells the myth that Justice Thomas is merely Justice Scalia's second vote.

Mr. Gerber also does a good job of exposing the intellectual dishonesty of Thomas's critics. The picture he paints is clear: the current civil rights movement hates Thomas because he fails to tow the liberal, collectivist line. He actually thinks for himself. How remarkable!

After reading this book there can be no doubt that Thomas is his own man. Of course those of us who have taken the time out to actually READ HIS OPINIONS already knew this to be the case.

The only fault that I can find with this book is Mr. Gerber's mischaracterization of originalism. On page 183 of his book Gerber writes that conservative originalism is a flawed method of constitutional interpretation, musing "Why that document? Why that framer?"

Originalism is not that simple. As noted by Justice Scalia is his recent book, A Matter of Interpretation, "It is curious that most of those who insist that the drafter's intent gives meaning to a statute reject the drafter's intent as the criterion for interpretation of the Constitution. I reject it for both. I will consult the writings of some men who happened to be delegates to the Constitutional Convention--Hamilton's and Madison's writings in The Federalist for example. I do so, however, not because they were Framers and therefore their intent is authoritative and must be law; but rather because their writings, like those of other intelligent and informed people of the time, display how the text of the Constitution was originally understood. Thus I give equal weight to Jay's pieces in The Federalist, and to Jefferson's writings, even though neither of them was a Framer. What I look for in the Constitution is precisely what I look for in a statute: the original meaning of the text, not what the original draftsmen intended." (see page 38)

It is interesting to note that Gerber's definition of "originalism" closely parallels the above-referenced quote by Justice Scalia. In a footnote on page 47, Gerber defines "conservative originalism" as maintaining that "the Constitution should be interpreted as the Framers themselves would have interpreted it."

The documents and Framers consulted by judges, or legal scholars, to interpret the Constitution are ONLY IMPORTANT to the degree that they shed light on how the words used in the text of the Constitution were understood by the men who drafted and ratified it. Originalism is not perfect, and it does not answer all constitutional questions or inquiries. But this method of constitutional interpretation works 95% of the time. The problem is that most judges are NOT looking for the answer to a constitutional question, they are looking for a way to justify their agenda. After writing this book and evaluating the superficial jurisprudence of other Supreme Court Justices (e.g. Stevens, Souter, etc.), I have a feeling that Mr. Gerber understands this reality all to well.

With that small criticism noted, I highly recommend this book. A job well done!

An exceptional book
This is an exceptional book. What Gerber has done is to avoid the political panderings of both the left and right wing and given us an objective, unbiased consideration of Justice Thomas'opinions. What a pleasure to read a book based in data not political philosophy. Plus the book is very well written. Kudos to Mr Gerber

a remarkably intelligent-and courageous-study.
While it is true to say that Clarence Thomas is one of the most vilified men to sit on the Supreme Court, it must also besaid that he has also often suffered from having the wrong kind of defenders. With the lonely exception of Senator John Danforth, practically none of Thomases defenders has taken the time to understand his thought or character. Finally, an inteeligent book has been written about Thomas, by someone who comes neither to glorify or condemn Clarence Thomas, but to UNDERSTAND him. Scot Gerber is one of the fastest rising stars in American constitutional thought.In this fine study, he analyzes Thomases opinions, and concludes that Thomas is not simply a tail to Antonin Scalias intellectual kite. Instead, Clarence Thomas ins a thoughtful, highly principled jurist, with a much deeper undrstanding of our Constitution and its foundations than many of his colleagues on the Court,(And the entire Democratic membership of the Senate Judiciary commitee, for that matter.)While Gerber is critical of many of Thomas' opinions,he is never crudely dismissive. Instead, he shows just how scholarly and intelligent this very misunderstood justice is.Why do I call this book 'courageous'.For one reason, and one reason alone. As I have already said, Scott Gerber is a rising star of constitutional theory.He is also a Liberal, in the classical, libertarian sense. However, in defending Thomas, he has risked prevoking the wrath of some very influential people. He has several hair -raising anecdotes in this book about how reputable law reviews have refused to print anything favorable to Clarence Thomas, and it is indeed doubtful that this fine book will meet with the respect it deserves.Even now, it has only been reviewed in 'conservative' magazines, while such organs of "liberalism" as The New Republic ,The New York Review of Books,and The New York Times have greeted it with silence.One can only hope that Americas leading law reviews will not follow in their footsteps,and instead show the same maturity and courage as Scott Gerber.Both he and Justice Thomas deserve respect.

Unsinkable Titanic Thompson
Published in Paperback by Eakin Publications (1982)
Author: Carlton Stowers
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Fun read, but overly romanticized
An overly romanticized biography of the "world's greatest hustler". The book is fun and often quite humorous, but ultimately lets Thompson off the hook. The author glorifies Thompson's fun-loving, harmless nature, but chooses to side-step the naked truth - that he was really a liar, cheat, and a swindler who got what he deserved when he died in destitution.

An amazing man whose prowess is well documented
I loved the stories and I was captivated by the man. A must read for golf enthusiasts and bio fans alike.

Stranger than fiction!
Some of the things that Thompson did are unbelieveable. You can never put it down because you always want to see what he did next.

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary
Published in Hardcover by F A Davis Co (01 June, 2001)
Authors: Donald Venes, Clayton L. Thomas, and Clarence Wilbur Taber
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I just want to say this book has been the best help. I am a student of medical terminolgy and it has helped me so much. I recommend this book very highly. Thank you Kim

Loved It!!
I used this book while in school for Medical Assisting and it was so helpful. I still use it to this day when someone in my family tells me what the doctor said in Medical Words and translate it into everyday language for them. It is a hady book to have even if you are not in a profession to need it.

The Second Medical Book I Ever Bought
In 1974 I took a class in medical technique for medical assistants. The teacher had a text to teach yourself medical terminology. I went to Pitt Medical book store while in Oakland and bought this book. I loved it and it came in quite handy as I was hired the same day by a surgeon to manage his office when I went for an appointment. The book is very portable and needs to be revised often as medical advances and new terms come into being. It is very easy to understand, as my degree was to work with children, not manage a doctor's office for which I had five days to learn how to do, and work with terms of a General Surgeon's world. I managed the office quite successfully, never having any experience in the field and I needed to work with medical terms handed to me to record the doctor's work correctly and file insurance forms accurately, a one person operation. This book was very helpful to understand exactly what the surgery was that the doctor did and I learned so much from this book to help me with a job I was little prepared for in advance. I loved my job and I became very interested in medicine, as the doctor embellished anything I wanted more information on that he did. I love this book. Mrs. Symmington

Clarence Darrow's Cross-Examination of William Jennings Bryan in Tennessee Vs. John Thomas Scopes
Published in Spiral-bound by Professional Education Group (01 June, 1988)
Author: Irving, Younger
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The Agnostic -vs- the Know Nothing
In his preface to this book, Irving Younger applauds Darrow's systematic annihilation of poor, befuddled Bryan. "Analysis of this kind of drama is irrelevant. One can only smile, admire, and wonder," he says. Although Younger declined to analyze Darrow's examination of Bryan, the contemporary press (most of whom staunchly supported teaching evolution) were not so reticent to judge. Edward J. Larsen, in the Pultizer Prize winning history of the trial, "Summer for the Gods," summed it up thus: "[T]he nation's press initially saw little of lasting significance in the trial [whose centerpiece was Darrow's examination of Bryan] beyond its having exposed Bryan's empty head and Darrow's mean spirit." p. 202.

Some quotes from contemporary sources found on page 207 of Larsen's book: Walter Lippman of the "New York World": "Now that the chuckling and giggling over the heckling of Bryan by Darrow has subsided it is dawning upon the friends of evolution that science was rendered a wretched service by that exhibition." The New Orleans "Times Picayune": "Mr. Darrow, with his sneering 'I object to prayer!' and with his ill-natured and arrogant cross-examination of Bryan on the witness stand, has done more to stimulate 'anti-evolution' legislation in the United States than Mr. Bryan and his fellow literalists, left alone, could have hoped for." The Vanderbilt University humanist and champion of evolution, Edwin Mims: "When Clarence Darrow is put forth as the champion of the forces of enlightenment to fight the battle for scientific knowledge, one feels almost persuaded to become a Fundamentalist."

As Larsen explains in "Summer for the Gods," Darrow's examination assumed the status of a legendary victory only after the release of the McCarthy-era morality play "Inherit the Wind," which took great dramatic license in depicting the examination as having "won" the Scopes Trial.

When a lawyer performs as mean-spirited an examination as Darrow did of Bryan, the lawyer's rabid fans are enthralled, his enemies are enraged, and those on the fence are encouraged to join the enemy. Darrow's examination of Bryan should be studied as a fine example of how not to perform a cross examination.

What really happened between Darrow at Bryan at Dayton
The public recollection of what happened when Darrow questioned Bryan in the case of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes is a mixture of topics and outbursts. Most accounts of the trial, as well as the fictionalized version in "Inherit the Wind," include the discussion of the Bible Stories of Jonah being swallowed by the whale/big fish and Joshua making the sun stand still. The crucial point of the exchange comes when Darrow forced Bryan to admit the days of creation in Genesis were not 24-hour days, thereby forcing Bryan to deny the Fundamentalist's literal interpretation of the Bible. Scopes himself called it the "great shock that Darrow had been laboring for all afternoon." However, the actual exchange does not support such an interpretation. Darrow specifically asked about the number of days involved in creation. A fuller examination of the transcript, which this volume provides, indicates Darrow was trying to get at not only the length of creation but the DATE as well, intending to get Bryan to endorse Bishop Usher's infamous calculation the earth was less than six thousand years old in order to confront Bryan with evidence of civilizations considerably older. The key to the exchange is that Bryan gives a preemptive answer, declaring the days of creation were not 24-hour days BEFORE Darrow asked the specific question, in order to avoid agreeing to Usher's flawed calculations. More importantly, Bryan volunteered the information twice, each time cutting Darrow off from a particular line of question.

Moral of the Story: When there are primary documents available, such as this volume which provides the entire transcript of the trial as taking from the stenographers record, you are better served by reading them rather than secondary sources that tend to privilege a play/movie rather than what really happened.

A Classic Case
Finally, you don't have to hear someone else's take on one of the most spectacular court cases this country has ever seen. Decide for yourself who outwitted who in this battle of the courtroom titans. This book includes only the exact words from the cross-examination of William Jennings Bryan by Clarence Darrow. A must read for all those who wish to know how the cross-examination really ran.

Utopia: Thomas More
Published in Hardcover by Yale Univ Pr (01 March, 2001)
Authors: Thomas More and Clarence H. Miller
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A Classical Masterpiece
Utopia is a classic masterpiece that conveys More's vivid imagination of the Island of Utopia. Although most of the characters are fictional, it is intriguing to learn about the true values of European societies during the 16th century, when More actually wrote the book (although many scholars believe that the exact year was 1515). Truthfully, the book is quite easy to understand. All More tries to do is convey his own views of how society should be through Raphael. Moreover, the use of imagery in Book I is quite fascinating, including the constant references to Roman and Greek myths and beliefs. It is also quite remarkable to see that the story begins to be more and more interesting after More and Giles come back from dinner. To make a long story short, I think it is a great book because of the actual time it was written in since most pieces of literature written at that time were either lost or destroyed.

"In no place"
As a social critique of Enlgish and European society, this book is very effective. It is also beautifully written. But it should not be read as the depiction of what society should be like. Thomas More, a wise and brave man executed by orders of Henry VIII, knew that Utopia shouldn't be taken very seriously, and that is exactly why he used the word Utopia to name his famous island. Utopia, in latin, means "in no place", that what can not exist. The problem is that this simple fact was not understood by many. And so, "utopianism" was born. The preposterous belief that there is a universal and definitive form of organization for human societies led to disasters like Nazism and Communism. By organizing everything perfectly (according to who?), these systems become the negation of the very essence of the human being: its innate imperfection and its need to be constantly changing, always on the move. It is simply impossible that some political, economic and social system resolves once and for all the troubles of humanity. Problems are exactly what make humans progress and reform constantly. Besides, the State has proven indispensable for survival, but also limited in what it can accomplish (in Utopia, the State provides everything for everybody). Stagnant societies degenerate and disappear, or remain to live from the charity of dynamic societies. Closed, perennial social systems, simply don't work: there is abundant proof in history, ancient or recent. "Utopia" is an excellent account of human shortcomings and a good tale, but it is not, nor was intended to be, a recipe with solutions for the world. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell have shown us what might happen in a supposed Utopia. The Communist world was worse. And Anthony Burgess clearly shows us in "A Clockwork Orange", that in "perfect" societies, the only way to practice freedom is violence. Let's not be perfect.

A Different Take
It's unfortunate that it seems as if most of these reviews were written by people whose only knowledge of More has come from the (mostly incorrect) opinions they have formed after reading this book. I don't think one can truly understand its import until he or she understands where Moore is at this point in his life and what he previously wrote ("Life of Pico", for example) and what he wrote later (while in prison, perhaps). No, he wasn't expressing his views through Raphael. In fact, it's clear that Raphael is an opinionated fibber (i.e., he discovered Utopia after Vespucci's fourth voyage? There were only three and Morus knows it...) and his account is purposefully filled with contradictions. There's more to it! More is raising issues, trying to make the careful reader think (and shame on some of the other reviewers for not being careful readers). And once you've read this book, read enough More (ha!) to understand what was going on in the bigger scheme of things, such as More's relationship with the other Renaissance humanists of his time and Henry VIII.

Published in Hardcover by Viking Press (1994)
Author: John C. Danforth
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Excellent Tolstoy novel
Tolstoy's Resurrection is an excellent book about the horrors of life during the late 19th century in Russia. Throughout the book, Tolstoy vividly describes Prince Nekhlyudov's inner soul change. Prince Nekhlyudov, a once miserly aristocrat, realizes his mistakes and tries to atone for them. Tolstoy acutely captures the misery many peasants had to endure under the regime of the malevolent and truculent judges, soldiers, governors, and officers. Although this is the first book by Tolstoy I have read, I found it overall an excellent novel. I wouldn't recommend it to someone wanting a quick read because it isn't at all a laconic book.

A Sombre, Odd Work of Genius
Tolstoy's last major novel differs from his earlier work. While in War and Peace or Anna Karenina the characters came face to face with the imponderable issues of life--the "big questions"--those novels did not dwell exclusively on the problems of evil, salvation and the challenges of redemption in the way that Resurrection does. Resurrection presents us with an intensely introspective, guilt-ridden protagonist hunting that most elusive prize: spiritual salvation, or even its lesser consolation: a little peace of mind. The reader is treated to finely drawn characters and an intense sense of place, of social milieu, and of the dilemma of finding personal justice in a deeply unjust world. Although the work is anything but comic, it has an intensely comic passage about the problem in making reparations to people who cannot imagine that one would give up one's property to do so. If you love the complexity of Tolstoy, and you do not mind a book that looks deeply within a character, you'll love Resurrection. It is interesting to contrast the theme of personal guilt in this work with its treatment in Crime and Punishment, and this book holds particular interest if you wish to compare the worldviews of the novels of Tolstoy with those of Dostoevsky.

The Agony of Redemption.
Tolstoy's last major novel summarizes his personal philosophy. Nekhludov finds himself approaching middle age burdened by guilt. Ten years ago, he seduced the serving girl, Maslova. Maslova's shame degenerated to prostitution. After Maslova is unjustly condemned for murder, Nekhludov decides to intervene on her behalf. He seeks to make amends for his sin and his privileged life by an idealistic binge that manages to miss the point. Through Nekhludov's quest for personal redemption, the reader learns the hypocrisy of Old Russia. Russian society, of course, symbolizes all societies in all eras that wage the eternal struggle. According to Tolstoy, the solution is not idealistic extremes, but the practice of true spiritual love. One on one with the world around us. True religion, as articulated by Christ, that transcends the limited scope of the blatant self-interest of the organized church, political parties, social engineering, and legal maneuvering.

The novel is a grim portrait of the suffering of the poor, in spirit and in fact. Readers who recall the grand historical scope of "War and Peace" and the poignant personal drama of "Anna Karenina" will be struck by the modest presentation of this book. The plot development is minimal, and mainly consists of Nekhludov's interventions on Maslova's behalf with a variety of legal, military, and political persons. This privileged structure, contrasted with the suffering of the prison inmates, leaves a deep impression. Tolstoy's goal is spiritual maturity, and not revolutionary incitement. He writes graphically and realistically of the world. This novel was banned for a time in Edwardian England. It is an eloquent albeit modest summary to Tolstoy's career as a thinker.

Silent Justice: The Clarence Thomas Story
Published in Hardcover by Barricade Books (01 October, 2001)
Author: John Greenya
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Very Disappointing
I decided to read this book after coming across Mr. Greenya giving an informal talk about his book on C-Span in Spring 2002. Listening to Mr. Greenya talk, although he was a rather dull and unorganized speaker, I had hope that his book would be as neutral a biography as possible. Mr. Greenya was very open in acknowledging that the Right and Left are very passionate when it comes to Clarence Thomas and that there is rarely any middle. This is true, but Mr. Greenya made it seem that he may be one of the rare few capable of standing in that middle ground. Sadly, he's not.

The book opens on the very first page with the view of Thomas's confirmation hearings through the perspective of the porn-store owner that alleges to have sold videos to Judge Thomas. Greenya writes that this owner was "excited" that one of "his customers" was being nominated to the Supreme Court. Yeah... I bet.

After that wonderful introduction, the book truly begins with Thomas's impoverished childhood in Pin Point, Georgia. Mr. Greenya moves quickly through this time period, as well as most of Thomas's young adult and college days. The majority of the 300-page book is taken up by quotes and opinions on Thomas, mostly concerning the Anita Hill ordeal and Thomas's rulings as a Supreme Court Justice. In these cases, the quotes opposing Thomas are without fail longer and preceding the quotes from the far fewer sources Mr. Greenya uses who are on Thomas's side. Mr. Greenya even goes so far as to uncritically reference the words of people such as Nan Aron and Eliot Minceberg of People for the American Way, an ultra-Left lobbyist group.

Mr. Greenya does not seem like a vindictive or vitriolic man, like many (not all, of course) of the people who attack Clarence Thomas for anything he does. But he is clearly slanted to a certain political side not in agreement with Clarence Thomas's views. In prefacing the lengthy passage he uses from Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued the Roe v. Wade case, Mr. Greenya characterizes her as "a fierce protector of the right she worked so hard to win for all American women..." Political opinions aside, it is simple fact that there are tens of millions of American women who do not consider legalized abortion to be any "right" that human beings have, no matter what the law says... rather, they consider it morally appalling. In this simplistic statement Mr. Greenya gives away his political persuasion more than he does at any other point in this book. His explanation of what it means to "bork" a judge is also astoundingly false, according to the widely held understanding of the word, even as defined by Microsoft's Encarta dictionary, for one. Mr. Greenya almost seems to be painfully twisting things to meet an agenda at times.

I give the book 2 stars because Clarence Thomas rejected several requests, rightfully so, by Mr. Greenya to be interviewed for this book. I'm sure Judge Thomas's friends and fellow conservatives also knew what to expect and turned down Mr. Greenya as well, which had to be a major factor, beyond his control, in Mr. Greenya's lack of qualified, pro-Thomas sources throughout the book. But the slant and the errors are simply inexcusable in a purportedly neutral book, and accompanied with a boring narrative, this makes for one of the worst "biographies" I have ever read.

Dull, but Informative
John Greenya sets out to write a biography of Justice Thomas without making a judgement one way or the other. He pretty much manages to do that, however the story seems to lack any emotion at all.

This is an almost impossible task as the early life of Justice Thomas is alive with passion. The hearings against him alive with the same and the voice of his detractors and his defenders alike brim with this emotion.

Greenya doesn't seem to want to make a decision. He lets the participants and the record do most of the talking. His final chapter allows people involved and uninvolved make their cases however he refuses to draw any conclusions. This might be a desision made in order to be fair (and for the most part he shows respect for both sides of the story) but it makes for a less interesting book.

The story of Thomas' early life and the story of the Hearings went fast and read well, they had what most of the book lacked, but that was due to the drama inherant in the facts, not the writers writing.

I would suggest reading this volume first before reading the acolates of the right or the birckbats of the left, in that sense it is a useful book.

This book may deserve a better rating than I gave it. Greenya is not trying to be Bernard Cornwell but I find I just can't do better than what I have.

Silent Justice by John Greenya
Silent Justice is a fascinating account of the personal and political development of a man who now holds one of the most influential positions in our nation, a man about whom people have very strong feelings ranging from admiration and respect to outright disdain. Although I personally disagree with Justice Thomas's positions on many issues, a friend recommended this book because of its keen perceptions of the character of a man who has the potential to influence all of our lives for years to come. As it turned out, I enjoyed the book immensely.

Silent Justice is an unusually unbiased account compared with much that has been written about Thomas. Although the book allowed me to draw my own conclusions, I found John Greenya's treatment of the ways in which Thomas's opinions and style changed from his college days and throughout his years at the Equal Employment Opportunities commission and on the Federal bench to be particularly interesting. In addition, the description of Thomas's early life and the culture he grew up in provides a necessary backdrop for understanding his later life. The skillful blending of Thomas's professional and personal struggles, as well as the author's insights into the special challenges inherent in being a black man functioning at the upper levels of society and government is part of what makes this book so interesting.

I would definitely recommend Silent Justice to anyone who wants to understand what makes Thomas tick or who wants a greater perspective on the various ways people achieve power and prestige in American government and society.

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