Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Inherently Unequal” as Want to Read:
Inherently Unequal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Inherently Unequal

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A potent and original examination of how the Supreme Court subverted justice and empowered the Jim Crow era.

In the following years following the Civil War, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery; the 14th conferred citizenship and equal protection under the law to white and black; and the 15th gave black American males the right to vote. In 1875, the most comprehensive civil
ebook, 0 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Walker Books Ltd
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Inherently Unequal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Inherently Unequal

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 09, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted so much more from this book. The Supreme Court’s complicity towards racism in the 19th Century is covered – albeit in less detail – in law school, but the book never ventures beyond hinting at an elevated legal and political analysis of the subject. If anything, the book strikes me as a survey intended for a general audience – except that the style and tone are more suited to a legal audience. I relied on my own study of the law to fill in some of the blanks in the analysis, and I have ...more
Mar 10, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, kindle
The period after the Civil War was supposed to usher in some semblance of equality for just-freed African-Americans. Three constitutional amendments, a republican majority in a very strong federal government and an occupied South should have combined to guarantee this equality. Instead, the US Supreme Court gutted the amendments, legalized Jim Crow laws, gave us "equal but separate" (as it was first called), and shifted the rights of the three amendments to corporations - they're the guys we nee ...more
Mar 20, 2011 Deane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started to rate this book a 3. After all, Goldstone is a writer, not a professional historian. And, I was going to say that its treatment of the subject was too surface, not deep enough.

As I finished the book, I thought what's not to like? It's an engaging treatment of a subject that could be dry, an overall look at a period of American history of which I knew little, with enough detail on case law (all I wanted), and includes a review of social issues that influenced American thought and acti
Robert Owen
“Inherently Unequal” is a guided tour through the Supreme Court decisions in the latter half of the 19th century that legitimated the Jim Crow racial oppression that characterized America in the first 2/3 of the 20th century. Yet in that Lawrence Goldstone takes the time to place these decisions in their appropriate post-Civil War political and social context, his book is much more than simply a compendium of key court rulings – it is a discussion of our past that makes much of our present compr ...more
Peter Spencer
Aug 25, 2015 Peter Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The descent of the United States into enforced segregation, into a nation where human beings could be tortured and horribly murdered without trial, is a story profoundly tragic and profoundly American. And the Supreme Court was a central player in the tale.
If the Court's complicity in the subversion of equal rights had been due to rogue justices, or was an aberration of jurisprudence, Americans of the current day might merely shake their heads, deplore a shameful episode in their history, and c
Ariel Castellon
Oct 13, 2011 Ariel Castellon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book about the aftermath of the civil war according to the 14th and 15th amendments of the Constitution. They mainly dealt with voting right and how they should not be infringed upon according the your race; Native Americans though were not counted as a race but as a conquered peoples. (another subject altogether)

The book basically tells the story about how the country and its supreme court judges were just not ready for the full integration of African Americans in the political and
Apr 05, 2013 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although a DENSE read, I found this to be a really enlightening description of the Court's reaction to public sentiment, political competition with the legislature, and personal prejudices during the time between the ratification of the Reconstruction Amendments and the rise of Jim Crow laws. I won't lie, it's clear that the author has a definite liberal slant- but looking beyond that is a pretty vivid discussion of federal versus state rights, and what happens when states cross a pretty major m ...more
Rick Fonda
Aug 02, 2016 Rick Fonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1869 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed : "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude" yet by the early 20th century Jim Crow laws in the South prevented all but a tiny fraction of African-Americans from voting. How could and did this happen? Hint: the Supreme Court had a lot to do with it...
Avery Dresser
A revealing look at the dark past of institutional racism that we still haven't put behind us. Goldstone effectively weaves together historical anecdotes, biography, and analysis of the legal proceedings of the civil war, reconstruction, and post-reconstruction era supreme court, that altogether make it clear exactly how and why Jim Crow racism came to enjoy legal protection and institutional dominance in the American South.
Jun 07, 2014 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. Historical context is great, but a lot of his language is hyperbolic, and his analysis of the opinions, statutes, and arguments is fuzzy. Agree with other reviewers who said they expected/wanted more.
Mar 12, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting history of a little talked about period in American history. Very effective at making the case against "activist judges."
Meryl Nesbit
I listened on Audible and I felt that the writer showed bias toward the Supreme Court. More research may have been needed on my part to grasp this part of history.
Jun 30, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing and intense look into the legal system after the Civil War. Detailed looked at all the cases that lead up to Plessy. Loved this book!
Stephanie rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2016
Michelle Atwell
Michelle Atwell rated it really liked it
Jun 06, 2012
Alisha rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2013
Kenneth Knox
Kenneth Knox rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2016
Blake Maddux
Blake Maddux rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2011
Tony Krause
Tony Krause rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2013
Thomas rated it liked it
Oct 05, 2014
Kevin Triskett
Kevin Triskett rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2012
David S
David S rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2016
Megan rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2011
David rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2016
Julia rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2016
Brandy rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2012
Corey Martin
Corey Martin rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2013
Al West
Al West rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2013
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells
  • Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008
  • The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America
  • Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights: 1919-1950
  • Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy
  • Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams
  • The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights
  • A People's History of the Civil War: Struggles for the Meaning of Freedom
  • The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War
  • Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1970
  • The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction
  • The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America
  • Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage
  • Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War
  • The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches By Malcolm X
  • Writings
  • Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform
  • Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC
Lawrence Goldstone is the author of fourteen books of both fiction and non-fiction. Six of those books were co-authored with his wife, Nancy, but they now write separately to save what is left of their dishes.
Goldstone's articles, reviews, and opinion pieces have appeared in, among other publications, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Hartford Courant, and Berkshi
More about Lawrence Goldstone...

Share This Book

“Constitutional Law is merely politics made incomprehensible to the common man.” 0 likes
More quotes…