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The Great Dissenter: The Story of John…

The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2021; vuoden 2022 painos)

Tekijä: Peter S. Canellos (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1154241,547 (4.33)1
"The definitive, sweeping biography of an American hero who stood against all the forces of Gilded Age America to fight for civil rights and economic freedom: Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan"--
Teoksen nimi:The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero
Kirjailijat:Peter S. Canellos (Tekijä)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2022), 624 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero (tekijä: Peter S. Canellos) (2021)

History (87)

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näyttää 4/4
(Available as Print: ©6/8/2021; PAGES: 624; Unabridged.)
(Available as Digital: Yes)
*This version: Audio : ©6/8/2021; (ISBN 9781797124896) DURATION: 19:23:00; Unabridged
Other media: I don’t think so—not yet at least.

The well told primary story here is John Marshall Harlan’s, but there are multiple substories that are also very interesting and important.
Justice Harlan is well known in the legal community for such lone dissents as Plessy vs. Ferguson, but while many of us know something of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a fellow Justice; not as many know much of Justice Harlan. This book quite admirably seeks to rectify that.
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021 award winner, though lengthy; this book is well worth reading.

Peter S. Canellos. From the author’s website, peterscanellos.com, “Peter S. Canellos is the author of The Great Dissenter: The story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero, the profound tale of how a former slave owner – with the help of a once-enslaved man who grew up alongside him and was believed to be his half-brother – changed American law. A current editor at POLITICO, former editorial page editor of The Boston Globe, and editor of the New York Times bestseller Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, Peter has harbored an interest in Harlan since his days at Columbia Law School three decades ago.
The Great Dissenter captures a huge swath of history, from aristocratic pre-Civil War Kentucky, to Cincinnati at the height of the Underground Railroad, to the famed horse-racing grounds of Europe, to the velvet chambers of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. It gives readers a front-row seat for some of the greatest legal battles of all time – as Americans fight for civil rights and economic justice in the Gilded Age. And it shows how one man’s willingness to stand up to his colleagues reverberated for a century until his dissenting views – not those of the court’s majority – became the law of the land.”

Arthur Morey. According to arthurmoreyvoice.com, “Arthur Morey is a Golden Voice narrator. He grew up in Oregon, attended Harvard College and the University of Chicago. He has written and ghostwritten scripts, lyrics, and fiction. Several of his plays were produced in New York and Chicago. He toured northern Italy with the Piccolo Teatro di Milano as a singer-songwriter.
He was literary manager at Chicago’s Body Politic Theatre and taught writing, English and Comp Lit at Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago. At N.U Press he edited and revised Viola Spolin’s seminal books on improvisational theatre before working as a narrator he was managing editor of Renaissance Books in Los Angeles.
He has won over 25 AudioFile earphones awards and has worked on nine titles that were nominated for Audies.”
According to English-voice-over.fandom.com, other works that Arthur has done are:

“Audio Drama
Ender's Game: Alive (2013) - Dr. Lineberry, John Paul Wiggin
A Headache in the Pelvis (2018) - Narration
Don't Know Much About the American Presidents (2012) - Narration
Ellison Wonderland (2015) - Narration
Fault Lines in the Constitution (2017) - Narration
First Sight (2013) - Narration
Good Trouble (2018) - Narration
Guardian Angels & Other Monsters (2018) - Narration
Legacy (2010) - Narration
Magic for Beginners (2014) - Narration
Mouthful of Birds (2019) - Narration
My Morning Routine (2018) - Narration
On Heaven and Earth (2013) - Narration
Our Father (2018) - Narration
Secret Ingredients (2007) - Narration
The Book of Swords (2017) - Narration
The Divorce Papers (2014) - Narration
The Hidden History of America at War (2015) - Narration
The Inquisitor's Tale (2016) - Narration
The Sea Beast Takes a Lover (2018) - Narration
The Tale of Tales (2016) - Narration
The Whore's Child (2011) - Narration
Vampires in the Lemon Grove (2013) - Narration
West of Eden (2016) - Narration
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (2012) - Narration
Your Own, Sylvia (2009) – Narration”

Initially, I was slightly troubled by inexact annunciation and diagnosed dental repairs that were interfering, but in a very short time it was the great intonations and overall good delivery that had my attention and only a very few times throughout the rest of the narration did I struggle with trying to work out what word had been said.

Non-Fiction; Biography; History

Supreme Court; Justices; Civil Rights; Abolition; Dissenting Opinions; historical figures; civil war; slavery; law; United States

“For my mother and father”

SAMPLE QUOTATION: From Chapter One: “A Father’s Prophecy”
“John Marshall Harlan was born on the precipice; on the very hinge of a society splitting in half.
To the north of his hometown of Danville, Kentucky, an abolitionist wind was blowing after shocking reports of dozens of men, women, and children hacked and bludgeoned to death in the infamous Nat Turner slave rebellion less than two summers before Harlan’s birth on June 1, 1833.1 To the south, feelings were hardening in the opposite direction. Overseers wielded whips and chains to keep enslaved men and women in line, while statesmen moved to preserve and expand their states’ legal rights to handle their property in any way they deemed fit.
In Kentucky, all these views were stirring uneasily, making the state a crucible of the nation’s growing divide over slavery. All sides had stakes in Kentucky. It had large plantations surrounded by log slave cabins, but also many smaller farms with just and handful of enslaved men and women living in close contact with their masters. It had farms with no slaves, just hardworking families, and also, at the bottom of its social strata, a growing population of free Black laborers.2
Kentucky’s most admired political leader, Henry Clay, was silky of dress and smooth of voice. He was a wealthy slave owner who nonetheless supported clear limits on an institution he disliked but never disavowed.3 Clays views fit his state, if not his country. Ever since Kentucky had broken off from its aristocratic parent, Virginia, four decades earlier, the new state had cultivated it’s own distinct sense of pride and gentry, with original families like the Clays and the Harlans building nirvana in the bluegrass that they called “the Athens of the West.”4 A dispute over slavery wouldn’t just put Kentucky at odds with it neighbors but also with itself, casting its economic and social differences in a sharp and deadly relief. A national furor over slavery was poison to Kentucky’s marrow. That’s why Henry Clay dedicated his formidable political talent—the best of his generation, everyone agreed—to forging the compromises necessary to tamp down tensions within the state and across the nation.”

5 stars. Well written and narrated.

1/25/2022 – 2/24/2022 ( )
  TraSea | May 3, 2024 |
After Congress passes the Civil Rights amendments, the Supreme Court immediately started emasculating them. Judge John Marshall Harlan dissented in almost all of the rulings. A true profile in courage. ( )
  spounds | Jan 8, 2024 |
5756. The Great Dissenter The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero, by Peter S. Canellos (read 12 Sep 2021) This biography, published in 2021, is carefully researched and tells, with adulation, the life of Harlan, who was born in Kentucky on 1 June 1833, appointed in 1877 to the U. S. Supreme Court, and served thereon till his death on 14 Oct 1911. The book tells of his great dissents in Plessy v. Ferguson and other cases--which dissents eventually came, years later, to be accepted as good law. I found the early part of the book not too gripping but once he was on the Supreme Court the book became absorbing--even telling me some things I had never heard of, such as te case of U.S, . Sipp, which is the only case ever tried in the first instance in the Supreme Court itself--which I thought Marbury v. Madison made impossible, since I thought Marbury said the Supreme Court was a court of appellate jurisdiction except as the Constitution said otherwise. Though I don't think the author of the book is a lawyer, he does a good job telling of the cases Harlan dissented in. ( )
  Schmerguls | Sep 12, 2021 |
Author and journalist Peter Canellos has chosen an excellent moment for a biography of the Supreme Court jurist John Marshall Harlan, whose intellectual evolution and eventual dedication to civil rights is not only inspirational, but more relevant than ever.

The author’s aim is to describe how Harlan went from being a slave-owner in Kentucky to one of the greatest advocates of minority rights of all time during his service on the U.S. Supreme Court. As the author writes:

“Among powerful white officials, one person’s voice rang out. He reminded the nation that the post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution promised equal protection under the law. He advocated eloquently for Black rights, along with the health and safety of immigrant industrial workers and the rights of people in places such as Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines, which were ruled by the United States in a time of imperialism.”

One relatively unknown aspect of Harlan’s background is the fact that a Black man and former slave, Robert Harlan, was brought up in Harlan’s house and treated like a brother. There is speculation that Robert was in fact a half-brother of John Marshall Harlan. Robert’s story is also covered by this book, with the author weaving back and forth between the lives of the two men.

Harlan served on the Supreme Court for thirty-four years, from 1877 to 1911. He was appointed to the court by President Rutherford B. Hayes “as a kind of human olive branch to the South,” since the rest of the court was made up of privileged Northerners. Harlan was the only one of the court to have graduated from law school. He was also, as mentioned above, a former slave owner, notwithstanding the unusual status afforded to Robert Harlan.

Thus it is most interesting to see how Harlan come to occupy his position as a liberal bastion among his peers. Notable were his dissents on three infamous civil liberties cases that came before the Court: Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Lochner v. New York (1905), and The Civil Rights Cases (1883).

The author writes: “In case after case, he laid out a framework for what would become the twentieth-century civil rights movement.”

Canellos evinces a fine understanding of the legal issues at stake, which he explains clearly for lay readers. But Harlan’s own words, quoted liberally within the book, are also clear as well as inspirational:

For example, in “The Civil Rights Cases of 1883,” Harlan wrote:

“I cannot resist the conclusion that the substance and spirit of the recent amendments to the Constitution [the 13th, 14th, and 15th] have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenious verbal criticism. It is not the words of the law but the internal sense of it that makes the law; the letter of the law is the body; the sense and reason of the law are the soul.”

Thus, he argued that the majority of the Court was ignoring the plain meaning and intent of the newest amendments, and that their position revealed racial double standards.

[Here one can clearly see the echoes of his criticism when contemplating the opinion by Chief Justice Roberts when striking down an important section of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder (2013).]

The country however, now, after Shelby, and in Harlan’s time, as the author writes, looked to the Court’s majority who gave them security in and protection for their right to discriminate.

Frederick Douglass later wrote of Harlan:

“…I was wont to console myself with what seemed to many a transcendental idea, that one man with God is a majority; that if such a man does not represent what is, he does represent what ought to be, and what ultimately will be.”

This is an excellent description of the importance of John Marshall Harlan, his moral integrity, and of his continuing relevance today.

This double biography - of John and Robert Harlan - will introduce to most readers two unique characters whose stories are fascinating, and representative of the state of the union at the time. It is a book well worth reading! ( )
1 ääni nbmars | Apr 5, 2021 |
näyttää 4/4
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu


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For my mother and father
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(Introduction) There are silences in American History.
(Prologue) New York's Grand Opera-house was in the midst of a triumphant four-week run of performances by Edwin Booth, the greatest Hamlet of his generation, that Saturday in 1879 when twenty-six-year-old William R . Davis Jr. and his companion approached the huge doors of the heavily marbled theater.
John Marshall Harlan was born on the precipice; on the very hinge of a society splitting in half.
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