Sun 13 Sep 2009
David Kaiser reviews the latest book by James MacGregor Burns ’39:
I want to turn to a new book covering the whole sweep of American history, one of the more remarkable that I have read recently–Packing the Court, by the political scientist James MacGregor Burns, whom I got to know during my year at Williams College. Because Burns has an encyclopedic knowledge of American history and because he has, as I mentioned last week, remained faithful to some of the beliefs of his youth in the 1930s, the book’s 259 pages come from a unique perspective and make a unique contribution. It must certainly be one of the half-dozen best books ever written by anyone in their tenth decade and is therefore quite an inspiration to yours truly. And although its conclusion will be a hard one for younger liberals to accept, they should certainly do some thinking about it.
Coincidentally, I was just in a Barnes and Noble today looking for a book on the Supreme Court in general or John C. Marshall in particular. Unable to find anything on either topic in the store, I left empty handed (they did have several acres of Twilight books, along with Twilight boardgames, Twilight t-shirts, and Twilight action figures).
I’ve now ordered the Burns book from Amazon and would welcome additional recommendations for books on Supreme Court history.
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