Based on exclusive interviews with the justices themselves, The Nine tells the story of the Court through personalities, from Anthony Kennedy's overwhelming sense of self-importance to Clarence Thomas' well-tended grievances against his critics to David Souter's odd 19th-century lifestyle. There is also, for the first time, the full behind-the-scenes story of Bush v. Gore and Sandra Day O'Connor's fateful breach with George W. Bush, the president she helped place in office.
The Nine is the book best-selling author Jeffrey Toobin was born to write. A CNN senior legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer, no one is more superbly qualified to profile the nine justices.
©2007 Jeffrey Toobin; (P)2007 Books on Tape
"A major achievement, lucid and probing." (Bob Woodward)
"Absorbing....[Toobin's] savvy account puts the supposedly cloistered Court right in the thick of American life." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a remarkable, riveting book. So great are Toobin's narrative skills that both the justices and their inner world are brought vividly to life." (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
I had hoped to find insight into the workings and personalities of the Court. Instead I found a diatribe.
The book was poorly written and badly disorganized. Worse, the author had an obvious axe to grind. I realize that Roe v Wade is important and divisive, but it is not the only decision worth discussing, nor does it inform all of US law. Toobin, however, cannot seem to get past it; it is as if abortion was the only thing on the minds of the Justices.
Even more frustrating is Toobin’s arrogance. As a legal analyst for CNN, Toobin seems to believe that he is better able to decide legality and constitutionality than the 9 justices who sit on the Court. His long criticism of decisions is the height of folly.
As has been noted in other places, this work comes off as one (overly) long warning of the dangers of Republicans. Without giving reason or evidence for it, Toobin warns against the impending disaster of a conservative Court. Why it would be a disaster must be assumed as the author never tells us. This is typical of modern social/political writing; assume the truth of what you are saying and hammer ahead. I can’t help thinking of the professor in Lewis’ Narnia series “What are they teaching our children in school these days?”
This book is a waste of time and it is embarrassing that it has received honors. Woodward’s approval isn’t surprising, but I am surprised that Doris Kearns Goodwin isn’t more discerning than to give acclaim.
Finally, I must give praise to the narrator. Don Leslie gave an excellent reading and was probable the only reason I bothered listening all the way through.
Toobin spends the whole book forcing his view down your throat instead of recording meaningful debates among justices over serious and very controversial points of law. As opposed to giving you the reasoning for differing opinions of different Justices from different walks of life, he resorts to name calling and derogatory adjectives to describe Justices who view the law differently from him. I am an attorney with a moderate political viewpoint and I was disappointed with what could have been a good book.
Re-title the book: "What if I Got To Make The Law"
depends on the author. Good reader.
I would never read another Toobin Book.
Most good books, whether fiction or non-fiction, define their time frame. This book doesn't, so there is only a modicum of historic reference to the court, and then some People Magazine-style vignettes about the justices themselves. The narrative jumps back and forth between the 50's and now, with no obvious structure.
The writing, however, is good, and there are some things to be learned about the Court in this book. If I had it to do again, considering all there is to read in the world, I would have skipped this one for something more substantial.
The authors insight into the make-up of the members of our Suprime Court is amazing. He has done his homework. Bush/Gore and Fl, just one of the interesting topics covered. If you are curious about the cout you will enjoy this read.
Shame on me for thinking we would get an insightful inside view of the Supreme Court. Wasn't expecting a piece of crap along the lines of Franken, Coulter, Limbaugh, and Marr. At least with those folks, you can discount it accordingly and are at least slightly amused during parts of the book. Seems like he had a great opportunity to provide an inside view of Supreme Court interplay. Sadly, that opportunity was squandered. Is this really what our country is now about? A bunch of hateful political hacks? Posing as journalists?
A book like this is precious. It comes at a very important time in our history. The Author's insight is especially rewarding Our country is headed in one direction & our courts should be mindful of the changes.
This is a well researched and captivating read. Mr. Tobin really pulled together a host of information about the individual justices, their relationships with each other, key historical rulings, and the feeder system that allowed them to happen. The language is easy for the layperson to understand, and provides a host of insight into the political workings of the Bush administration. Ought to be required reading for political science majors, or those interested in politics!
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