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Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Becoming Justice Blackmun....written by the New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, is no conventional biography. Instead, it is an engaging journalistic examination of the paper trail left behind by a person who always seemed to be jotting something down." Warren Richey, the Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun's lifelong connection with Chief Justice Warren Burger — beginning in kindergarten in St. Paul, Minn., and culminating in 16 years together on the Supreme Court — supplies Greenhouse with one of her main organizing themes in this illuminating study of Blackmun's life and intellectual history. Once the closest of friends, Blackmun (1908 — 1999) and Burger diverged personally and ideologically, beginning in 1973, when Burger assigned Blackmun to write the Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade. Greenhouse, the New York Times's veteran Supreme Court watcher, draws primarily on Blackmun's massive personal archive to show how his authorship of the majority opinion in Roe (7 — 2) propelled him down several unexpected paths. Blackmun embraced equal protection for women and came to reject capital punishment. A Nixon appointee, Blackmun became the Supreme Court's most liberal justice after the retirement of William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall. The personality that emerges in Greenhouse's portrayal is that of a self-effacing and scholarly judge, devoid of partisanship, willing to follow his ideas wherever they led him. Making no pretense at being definitive or comprehensive, Greenhouse sets a high standard in offering an intimate look both at the man and at the development of his judicial thought. B&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

"A fascinating book. In clear and forceful prose, Becoming Justice Blackmun tells a judicial Horatio Alger story and a tale of a remarkable transformation . . . A page-turner."--The New York Times Book Review

In this acclaimed biography, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government, the Supreme Court. Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to the extensive archives of Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-99), the man behind numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade.

Through the lens of Blackmun's private and public papers, Greenhouse crafts a compelling portrait of a man who, from 1970 to 1994, ruled on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination yet never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases. Greenhouse also paints the arc of Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, revealing how political differences became personal, even for two of the country's most respected jurists.

From America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, this is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.

Synopsis:

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.

Linda Greenhouse has covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times since 1978 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her coverage of the Court. She appears regularly on the PBS program Washington Week and lectures frequently on the Supreme Court at colleges and law schools. She graduated from Radcliffe College and holds a master of studies in law from Yale Law School. She lives outside Washington, D.C.

A New York Times Notable Book
 
Coming in paperback in April 2006
 
From 1970 to 1994, Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) wrote numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe vs. Wade, and participated in the most contentious debates of his eraall 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 writing of this extraordinary justice.

Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to Harry Blackmun's extensive archive and private and public papers, and from this trove she has crafted a compelling narrative of Blackmun's life and of his 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 in such controversial issues as abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, and sex discrimination. She shows us the Court as a human institution, where nine very smart and very opinionated lawyers seek to make decisions and bring others around to their point of view, especially during Blackmun's twenty-four years on the bench, as the justices repeatedly tussled with one another over the contentious casesthe Pentagon Papers, Roe v. Wade, the Nixon tapes, Bakke v. Regents of the University of California, Planned Parenthood v. Caseythat came their way. And most affectingly of all, Greenhouse recounts the story of how Harry Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger withered in the crucible of life on the high 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.

"Ms. Greenhouse's achievement in her meticulous narrative history is to provide new ammunition for Justice Blackmun's critics as well as his admirers. And readers who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the court could not hope for a more engrossing introduction."Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times

"This is a wonderful, a thrilling book. Linda Greenhouse has given us both the touching story of a man's transformation and a rare insight into the way the Supreme Court works. It is born a classic."Anthony Lewis

"In clear and forceful prose, Becoming Justice Blackmun tells a judicial Horatio Alger story and a tale of a remarkable transformation . . . He would appreciate this book. The Blackmun whom Greenhouse paints in this page turner is a modest Minnesotan, who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders."Laura Kalman, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] wonderful book . . . One of the most intimate and revealing portraits of the relationship between two justices ever achieved . . . Based on her immersion in the Blackmun papers, Ms. Greenhouse offers a narrative that is often riveting in its raw glimpses of the insecurities and emotions of Justice Blackmun and his childhood friend, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. Ms. Greenhouse is characteristically fair-minded in her determination to present Justice Blackmun, Chief Justice Burger, and the other justices in context and in their own words . . . Ms. Greenhouse's achievement in her meticulous narrative history is to provide new ammunition for Justice Blackmun's critics as well as his admirers. And readers who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the court could not hope for a more engrossing introduction."Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times

"A graceful account, filled with well-chosen quotations, apt observations, and elegant legal summaries."Akhil Reed Amar, The Washington Post Book World

 
"Blackmun left a prodigious amount of documentary material, and Greenhouse has used it with rare intelligence. She excavates a flesh-and-blood character from Blackmun's published opinions, a lengthy oral interview, case files, correspondence, and fragmentary notes that amply reveal his personality and the workings of his mind. Greenhouse offers us a nuanced account of the impact of Roe v. Wade within the Court and a clear understanding of Blackmun's long journey to the rejection of the death penalty . . . Greenhouse's work with Blackmun's papers . . . reveals a man charting and always in command of his own direction throughout his tenure."Stanley I. Kutler, The American Prospect
 
"Should inform anyone with an interest in the law and how the court operates . . . I imagine that Blackmun, a precise writer and exacting editor, would approve."Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
  
"An engaging journalistic examination . . . It provides new details on how Roe v. Wade became the law of the land."Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor
  
"This is a wonderful, a thrilling book. Linda Greenhouse has given us both the touching story of a man's transformation and a rare insight into the way the Supreme Court works. It is born a classic."Anthony Lew

About the Author

Linda Greenhouse has covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times since 1978 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her coverage of the Court. She appears regularly on the PBS program Washington Week in Review and lectures frequently on the Supreme Court at colleges and law schools. She graduated from Radcliffe College and holds a master of studies in law from Yale Law School.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805077919
Subtitle:
Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey
Publisher:
Times Books
Author:
Greenhouse, Linda
Author:
Linda, Greenhouse
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Judges
Subject:
Lawyers & Judges
Subject:
Government - Judicial Branch
Subject:
POL040030
Subject:
American Government/Judicial Branch
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20050502
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 photographs
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 x 1.00 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Lawyers and Judges
History and Social Science » Law » Biographies and Memoirs

Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Times Books - English 9780805077919 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun's lifelong connection with Chief Justice Warren Burger — beginning in kindergarten in St. Paul, Minn., and culminating in 16 years together on the Supreme Court — supplies Greenhouse with one of her main organizing themes in this illuminating study of Blackmun's life and intellectual history. Once the closest of friends, Blackmun (1908 — 1999) and Burger diverged personally and ideologically, beginning in 1973, when Burger assigned Blackmun to write the Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade. Greenhouse, the New York Times's veteran Supreme Court watcher, draws primarily on Blackmun's massive personal archive to show how his authorship of the majority opinion in Roe (7 — 2) propelled him down several unexpected paths. Blackmun embraced equal protection for women and came to reject capital punishment. A Nixon appointee, Blackmun became the Supreme Court's most liberal justice after the retirement of William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall. The personality that emerges in Greenhouse's portrayal is that of a self-effacing and scholarly judge, devoid of partisanship, willing to follow his ideas wherever they led him. Making no pretense at being definitive or comprehensive, Greenhouse sets a high standard in offering an intimate look both at the man and at the development of his judicial thought. B&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Becoming Justice Blackmun....written by the New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, is no conventional biography. Instead, it is an engaging journalistic examination of the paper trail left behind by a person who always seemed to be jotting something down." (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
"Synopsis" by ,
"A fascinating book. In clear and forceful prose, Becoming Justice Blackmun tells a judicial Horatio Alger story and a tale of a remarkable transformation . . . A page-turner."--The New York Times Book Review

In this acclaimed biography, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government, the Supreme Court. Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to the extensive archives of Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-99), the man behind numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade.

Through the lens of Blackmun's private and public papers, Greenhouse crafts a compelling portrait of a man who, from 1970 to 1994, ruled on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination yet never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases. Greenhouse also paints the arc of Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, revealing how political differences became personal, even for two of the country's most respected jurists.

From America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, this is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.

"Synopsis" by ,
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.

Linda Greenhouse has covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times since 1978 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her coverage of the Court. She appears regularly on the PBS program Washington Week and lectures frequently on the Supreme Court at colleges and law schools. She graduated from Radcliffe College and holds a master of studies in law from Yale Law School. She lives outside Washington, D.C.

A New York Times Notable Book
 
Coming in paperback in April 2006
 
From 1970 to 1994, Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) wrote numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe vs. Wade, and participated in the most contentious debates of his eraall 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 writing of this extraordinary justice.

Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to Harry Blackmun's extensive archive and private and public papers, and from this trove she has crafted a compelling narrative of Blackmun's life and of his 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 in such controversial issues as abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, and sex discrimination. She shows us the Court as a human institution, where nine very smart and very opinionated lawyers seek to make decisions and bring others around to their point of view, especially during Blackmun's twenty-four years on the bench, as the justices repeatedly tussled with one another over the contentious casesthe Pentagon Papers, Roe v. Wade, the Nixon tapes, Bakke v. Regents of the University of California, Planned Parenthood v. Caseythat came their way. And most affectingly of all, Greenhouse recounts the story of how Harry Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger withered in the crucible of life on the high 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.

"Ms. Greenhouse's achievement in her meticulous narrative history is to provide new ammunition for Justice Blackmun's critics as well as his admirers. And readers who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the court could not hope for a more engrossing introduction."Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times

"This is a wonderful, a thrilling book. Linda Greenhouse has given us both the touching story of a man's transformation and a rare insight into the way the Supreme Court works. It is born a classic."Anthony Lewis

"In clear and forceful prose, Becoming Justice Blackmun tells a judicial Horatio Alger story and a tale of a remarkable transformation . . . He would appreciate this book. The Blackmun whom Greenhouse paints in this page turner is a modest Minnesotan, who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders."Laura Kalman, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] wonderful book . . . One of the most intimate and revealing portraits of the relationship between two justices ever achieved . . . Based on her immersion in the Blackmun papers, Ms. Greenhouse offers a narrative that is often riveting in its raw glimpses of the insecurities and emotions of Justice Blackmun and his childhood friend, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. Ms. Greenhouse is characteristically fair-minded in her determination to present Justice Blackmun, Chief Justice Burger, and the other justices in context and in their own words . . . Ms. Greenhouse's achievement in her meticulous narrative history is to provide new ammunition for Justice Blackmun's critics as well as his admirers. And readers who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the court could not hope for a more engrossing introduction."Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times

"A graceful account, filled with well-chosen quotations, apt observations, and elegant legal summaries."Akhil Reed Amar, The Washington Post Book World

 
"Blackmun left a prodigious amount of documentary material, and Greenhouse has used it with rare intelligence. She excavates a flesh-and-blood character from Blackmun's published opinions, a lengthy oral interview, case files, correspondence, and fragmentary notes that amply reveal his personality and the workings of his mind. Greenhouse offers us a nuanced account of the impact of Roe v. Wade within the Court and a clear understanding of Blackmun's long journey to the rejection of the death penalty . . . Greenhouse's work with Blackmun's papers . . . reveals a man charting and always in command of his own direction throughout his tenure."Stanley I. Kutler, The American Prospect
 
"Should inform anyone with an interest in the law and how the court operates . . . I imagine that Blackmun, a precise writer and exacting editor, would approve."Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
  
"An engaging journalistic examination . . . It provides new details on how Roe v. Wade became the law of the land."Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor
  
"This is a wonderful, a thrilling book. Linda Greenhouse has given us both the touching story of a man's transformation and a rare insight into the way the Supreme Court works. It is born a classic."Anthony Lew

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