RaveChristian Science MonitorVogel tells the remarkable story of her improbable legal victory against the federal government ... Anyone seeking a dispassionate history of the case should look elsewhere. This is an advocate’s tale of fighting callous bureaucrats and cold-hearted prosecutors, while struggling to keep the lights on in her own home ... Vogel went on to serve as North Dakota’s agriculture commissioner, the first woman elected to the office in any state. This book is a testament to what was an even greater achievement.
Peter S. Canellos
MixedChristian Science MonitorA sympathetic and well-written new biography ... Canellos portrays Harlan as a man of principle often standing alone against some of the worst-ever Supreme Court decisions ... In explaining Harlan’s willingness to stand alone on race, Canellos credits his religious faith, reverence for the Constitution, and close ties to an enslaved man named Robert, whom Canellos says the Harlans treated like a member of the family. Robert may have been a blood relative, resulting from a relationship between Harlan’s father and an enslaved woman ... Some of the ink devoted to Robert might have been better spent further exploring the Harlans’ complex and often paternalistic attitude towards the family’s other enslaved workers. Canellos leaves out unflattering details noted by earlier biographers that implicate Harlan more directly as a slaveholder ... Canellos acknowledges criticism directed at Harlan by modern legal scholars for joining the majority in rulings, including ones detrimental to Black public education and problematic for Chinese immigrants. But he puts the best possible gloss on court opinions readers today might think Harlan got wrong. This biography focuses more on making the case for Harlan’s greatness than harping on the occasional inconsistency or shortcoming.
PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor... [an] equally impressive followup ... Hinton, who began work on this book long before the summer of 2020, serves up a timely repudiation of that approach. Lawmakers would surely benefit from reading what she’s produced.
PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor... engaging ... [Metz\'s] straightforward writing perfectly translates industry jargon for technologically un-savvy readers (like me) who might be unfamiliar with what it means for a machine to engage in \'deep learning\' or master tasks through its own experiences ... Metz’s description of Hinton and the many graduate students he trained at the University of Toronto is a window into the work of a genius.
MixedThe Christian Science MonitorLepore devotes the first third of her book to introducing a cast of fascinating characters central to the Simulmatics ... Unfortunately, too much of the book is focused on introducing the cast, like a heist movie where the portion of the film devoted to assembling the team to pull off the job gets more screen time than the crime itself. The book is also weighed down by Lepore’s efforts to use Simulmatics to tell the entire history of the 1960s—from Kennedy’s Camelot era through the anti-war movement. Simulmatics was largely a bit player in most of these events, and the general history often reads like filler. Lepore, to put it mildly, doesn’t buy into data analytics’ hype. As a historian, she is understandably dismissive of Big Tech’s obsession with predicting the future at the expense of the past.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorCohen’s ambitious, well-written book makes a convincing case that the court has contributed to growing inequality through its rulings on everything from election law and education to corporate law and crime ... This is not news ... Cohen, a former New York Times editorial writer, still deserves credit for tying the threads together. He has a particular knack for writing about the court’s impact on society’s most vulnerable people.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorI’m not spoiling anything by saying he doesn’t solve one of the greatest mysteries in American history, a puzzle that’s eluded two generations of FBI agents and countless amateur sleuths. Others can decide whether Goldsmith has unearthed anything new about Hoffa’s disappearance. Regardless, Goldsmith has produced a wonderful book about the complicated relationship between a deeply flawed stepfather and the adopted son he loved deeply and forgave unconditionally for casting him aside ... Goldsmith pulls no punches, portraying O’Brien as a tragic although not entirely sympathetic figure.
Bruce Cannon Gibney
PositiveThe Washington Post...Gibney] critiques everything — and I mean everything — wrong with the legal system, starting with how it educates new lawyers ... Gibney says he set out to write a plain-English \'wide-angle critique\' of the legal system. The result is ambitious in scope if not necessarily groundbreaking, particularly for anyone deeply immersed in the legal system ... He includes enough interesting tidbits that even those with backgrounds in law and policy will probably learn at least something ... If only every serious book about law was this enjoyable ... He’s less successful when examining Washington’s dysfunctional lawmaking process ... Non-lawyers and many attorneys, too, will certainly have a better sense of what ails our justice system after reading this book, even if they’re no closer to fixing it.