I enjoyed reading this book about the supreme court. It gave a personal look at the judges and how that effects their votes.
I'd heard good things about this book, but it's even better than I thought it would be. The author closely examines the history of the contemporary Court, and provides a lot of insight into the personalities and motivations of the justices, as well as those of the presidents who appointed them. His style is that of an animated storyteller, and he's certainly done his homework. Listening to this book is almost as good as sitting next to a guest at a dinner party who has the most marvelous stories and insights. Not for a minute was I bored.
The narrator is excellent.
I teach Business, Economics, and English at a university in Tokyo. My interests are in politics, economics, and philosophy. I hold a BA in English Literature, and an MA in Political Science.
This was an excellent book with loads of information. The major problem I have is that it's not really organized very well. I was happy to see that the politics were kept largely to the side...though it's clear the writer doesn't like the Right.
The book slightly touches on Alito and Robert's appointments, but spends more time on the previous nine. This book is full of Supreme Court history and lore, but the author struggled with perspectives. The perspective of precedents in the court's history or the perspective of the judges and their appointments.
I would get this book again if I had too...even if it were a few hours longer, I enjoyed it that much. I would recommend it as reading before next year's primaries.
Well, as advertised "The Nine" is in fact exciting, even riveting and insightful, but what is not advertised is that the author's strong left wing bias is barely concealed. This is sad. The subject matter is of great importance, and the author obviously put a great deal of sweat into into its writing, but unfortunately, it was titled wrong. It would have better been titled "The Nine: A Leftist's View of the Supreme Court". If your leanings are left, you will love this book. If they are right, you will hate it. If, on the other hand you are apolitical as I am, and you read the book to learn more about this major institution of the american government system, you will be saddened and disappointed, bucause the schloarship cannot be trusted.
THis book is well constructed, it is suspenseful and gives enough personal insight in addition to the bare bones of legal issues needed to understand the major areas of dispute in US supreme court rulings over the last fifty years.
THe narrator is strong, the writing draws you in, but ultimately the status of the court is both depressing and disheartening. I saw Justice Scalia swagger across the screen on SIXTY MINUTES last week and almost wept at his arrogant unwillingness to admit he is a political hack with no shame or sense of honor.Leslie Stahl licked his feet. I felt lost in a circus tent. I was glad I had read the book so I could put Scalia's lies into context but I certainly don't feel more hopeful that things will change.
I learned a lot from this book about how the Supreme Court functions. I also really enjoyed the personal stories about the various justices. However, the author's frequent demonization of conservatives often seemed gratuitous and subtracted from the dignity of the subject.
Toobin uses his vast knowledge of the U.S. Supreme Court to sort fact from fiction. His engaging book cuts through the mystery and superstition surrounding the judicial branch to give us a rare portrait of the Supreme Court in all its humanity, nuance, ideology and intelligence. He seems to always take his sources with the grain of objectivity, questioning the subjective motivations of each and working to provide the counter-argument. Similarly, he tries to reserve his own judgement from most every subject except the Bush v. Gore ruling, and the evangelical christian political phenomenon more generally. The books greatest value is that it lays out the information in a readable and engaging way so that we can shape our own opinions and beliefs with care.
The Nine was a very enjoyable listen. Jeffrey Toobin makes the Supreme Court accessible and shows both the best and the worst of the court and its justices. Don Leslie does a tremendous job with the narration.
First off, the narration was excellent.
The scholarship seems on point. There may be a slight liberal bias, but nothing that would be off putting to a moderate. The book is not hard to follow, but sometimes story seems disorganized and scattered.
All in all though, a fascinating book and a great introduction to the personalities on the court up until the end of the bush administration.
Toobin has good material. The research is thorough. However, as in his OJ book, his biases and attempts at analysis undermine the book rather than make it more interesting. I say that even though I share his political and social leanings. His thinking is that of an outsider who misunderstands the perceptions and motivations of those he watches. As someone who spent many years practicing law, my reaction while reading/listening to the book was often that he just didn't "get it." Instead he "gets it" about 50% of the time. It's the writing of someone who is well educated in the law but not in the behavior of the humans in the courts and in cases. Nonetheless, the facts he describes are fascinating, and it's easy enough to separate out and ignore his speculation and opinion.
I think Toobin could write a very good book if he made a conscious effort to write a "neutral" book, with the assistance of an editor that insisted on that principle. He understands the mechanics of the law and our legal system. His writing, in other books, and elsewhere, is clear and easy to read. He's a good reporter who simply does not have good insight about the cases and institutions he covers. The next time he gets an advance to tackle some interesting case or legal institution, he should stick to the facts.