Synopses & Reviews
A masterful biography of the legendary chief justice of the United States and chairman of the Warren Commission by an award-winning journalist, using previously unavailable government documents and scores of new interviews that cast new light on this crucial figure in U.S. history.
Earl Warren played a key role in nearly every defining political moment in American history in the latter half of the twentieth century. He began as an aggressive county prosecutor offended by graft and vice, then rose through California politics. As attorney general and governor, he led the country's fastest-growing state during a time of enormous change, his support for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II one of the few blemishes on an otherwise progressive record. From his historic governorship to his pivotal years as chief justice to his role as chairman of the commission that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Warren traversed the Depression and the Cold War, the struggles to defend America against foreign enemies, and the emergence of a muscular commitment to individual liberty.
As chief justice from 1953 to 1969, Warren refashioned the place of the Supreme Court in American life, overseeing cases that desegregated schools (Brown v. Board of Education), established a constitutional right of privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut), outlawed prayer in public schools (Engel v. Vitale), created a right to counsel in state trials (Gideon v. Wainwright), codified voting rights (Baker v. Carr), and revolutionized police procedure (Miranda v. Arizona). Through those cases, Warren became a target for conservative ideologues, but he also carved a place for himself as one of the Court's most respected justices and reconstructed American society into the institutions and values it upholds today.
James S. Newton brings readers the first truly complete consideration of Earl Warren, taking advantage of unprecedented access to governmental, academic, and private documents pertaining to Warren's life, as well as the extensive cooperation of Warren's living children and associates. Newton illuminates both the public and the private Warren, the father of six whose own father was murdered, the stoic leader of the Masons who was touched by the difficulties of children, the sturdy yet prickly man. The result is a monumental biography of a complicated and principled figure that will become a seminal work of twentieth-century American history.
"Los Angeles Times editor and reporter Newton delivers the definitive biography of Earl Warren (1891 1974) for this generation. Newton's masterful narrative synthesizes Warren in all his contradictory guises: the dynamic and outsized California prosecutor and attorney general whose own father's mysterious murder perhaps derived from that ambitious career; the man of great liberal instinct who (as a three-term Republican governor of California) insisted on the internment of Japanese-Americans following Pearl Harbor; and the hard-driving Supreme Court chief justice (1953 1969) who'd never sat on a bench anywhere, but nevertheless shepherded such historic decisions as that in Brown v. Board of Education. It was also under Warren that the Court articulated the constitutional right to privacy, abolished prayer in public schools, clarified and guaranteed voting rights for minorities and created a right to counsel in state criminal trials. As well, Warren served as head of the commission bearing his name and charged with examining the Kennedy assassination an exercise Newton reveals as to have been part investigation, part experiment in public relations and damage control. In the course of his research, Newton has garnered extensive interviews with Warren's surviving colleagues and children, and uncovered significant new archival sources, all of which he marshals to great effect. For the first time, Newton portrays an intricately complex Warren who though liberal in his interpretations of the Constitution and progressive in his agenda for America remained far from radical in other respects. Using testimony of insiders who knew the man well, Newton brilliantly depicts the many-sided Warren as ferociously ambitious, smartly calculating in advancing his career, prickly and contrary when challenged and eminently attracted to both wealth and power. As Newton shows, the ardent judicial defender of the dispossessed summered at California's Bohemian Grove and made a point of dying a rich man. Warren, writes Newton, 'was no Eldridge Cleaver,' despite rhetoric by contemporary conservatives who routinely invoke him as the poster boy for 'bad behavior' in the form of liberal judicial activism." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Using previously unavailable government documents and scores of new interviews, this masterful biography of the legendary chief justice of the United States and chairman of the Warren Commission is by an award-winning journalist. 8-page photo insert.
In Justice for All, Jim Newton, an award-winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times, brings readers the first truly comprehensive consideration of Earl Warren, the politician-turned-Chief Justice who refashioned the place of the court in American life through landmark Supreme Court cases whose names have entered the common parlance -- Brown v. Board of Education, Griswold v. Connecticut, Miranda v. Arizona, to name just a few. Drawing on unmatched access to government, academic, and private documents pertaining to Warren's life and career, Newton explores a fascinating angle of U.S. Supreme Court history while illuminating both the public and the private Warren. One of the most acclaimed and best political biographies of its time, Justice for All is a monumental work dedicated to a complicated and principled figure that will become a seminal work of twentieth-century U.S. history.
About the Author
Jim Newton has written hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories and is the recipient of numerous awards. He shared in the Pulitzer prizes awarded to the Los Angeles Times for coverage of the 1992 riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.