Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recent Reading (Books #4-6)

Since I last wrote (on Watchmen), I have finished reading...

Book #4: The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin: Excellent overview of important cases and profiles of justices by CNN's senior legal analyst. Predominantly focused on the Rehnquist court (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, O'Connor, Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer, Stevens) but also hits important justices from the past, as well as briefly looking at the nominations and confirmations of current Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Highly recommend this one for anyone curious about the Supreme Court. Timely, given the current focus what role Sotomayor might play on the court.

Book #5: Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson by Andrew Cohen: Short but well done little biography of one of Canada's most famous prime ministers. A bit slanted but not noticeably, and very engagingly written. The author is interesting too- an occasional columnist for Canadian newspapers like the Ottawa Citizen who has a great style. Quick read, and interesting subject.

Book #6: All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone by Myra MacPherson: I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with this biography. It caught my attention in Barnes & Noble one day-- it's a very catchy title and a bright red cover, hard to miss-- and was expecting a well-written and at least nominally balanced book...especially seeing as it won several biography awards. It was an interesting book, mostly for its subject matter-- I.F. Stone is anything but boring-- but I found it overtly biased, slamming the FBI, CIA, Congress, and presidents in ways that Stone himself might have done. I'm not saying that's not fair, I simply was not looking for that level of slant in a biography. At times the writing style also grated on me. I finished it, partly because I had bought the book and partly because Stone himself fascinated me, but I can't say it was always easy to get through. Disappointing, considering that the author is a writer for my favorite newspaper, the Washington Post.

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