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The Supreme Court: An Essential History

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  10 ratings  ·  5 reviews
For more than two centuries, the U.S. Supreme Court has provided a battleground for nearly every controversial issue in our nation's history. Now a veteran team of talented historians-including the editors of the acclaimed Landmark Law Cases and American Society series-have produced the most readable, astute, and up-to-date single-volume history of this venerated instituti ...more
Hardcover, 491 pages
Published September 6th 2007 by University Press of Kansas
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Oliver Bateman
Hoffer, Hoffer, and Hull—an estimable team of historians who collaborated on Abortion Rights Controversy in American History: A Legal Reader—now offer The Supreme Court: An Essential History. There are many fine books already available on this subject, ranging from Lucas Powe’s recent, idiosyncratic The Supreme Court and the American Elite to the comprehensive, Kermit Hall-edited Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States and Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions. ...more
It took me a while to get into the rhythm of this one, but I persevered, eventually taking this hardcover tome to the gym and my sickbed in order to finish it.

The authors admit that there are issues about a work with the ambitions of this one: a lot of historical context is lost, present-day context applied, and it's organized by chief justice, which means they sometimes reach for a trend that doesn't exist while other justices come and go.

No doubt many of these cases are deserving of their own
Nov 02, 2008 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Someone with a true interest in the major Supreme Court decisions since it was created.
Whew! Finally finished this one.

This book took a while to read just because of the detail. There is sometimes a great deal of information to absorb in just two or three pages, so this is not a fast read.

The book is a great history of the Court, and it's divided by the Chief Justice that presided over each period. Every period has its own tenor and a pretty good bio of each Justice is presented as they come into the Court.

No major decision is left unanalyzed from the early establishment of the
This book is either poorly written or the cases it discusses are incredibly dense- though I think it's the former. The authors also provide very little historical context to both the biographies of the justices and the cases themselves.
B. Hallward
A very good introductory survey of the history of the supreme court. Fair-minded, not distorted by polemics and highly readable.
Hany Kalash
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