Time for another round of Bookshelf Traveling in Insane Times which was created by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness and is currently hosted by Katrina at Pining for the West. The idea is to share one of your neglected bookshelves or perhaps a new pile of books.David McCullough. My parents heard him speak at Roxbury Latin and asked him to autograph John Adams (2001) for me. I remember my friend Duncan read Truman (1992) aloud to his newborn when it first came out and that baby just got engaged! I listened to the audio of Mornings on Horseback (1981)(about Theodore Roosevelt) as I drove to Quebec a year ago. I also really liked The Wright Brothers (2015) but do not own that one. Next is Down with the Old Canoe, A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster (1996) by Steven Biel. I have a separate section for books about the Titanic so this book is in the wrong place! I think I got it mixed up with Tippecanoe and Tyler too, the 1840 campaign song my father told me about long ago. Megan Marshall is a talented historian who went to Radcliffe. I have heard her speak often so both these books are autographed. At one event, she told a fascinating story – that her parents bought a house in California that had been owned by two elderly ladies from Boston. The house was sold with all their possessions, including their Alcotts and other old fashioned books, so Megan grew up surrounded by these things and became fascinated with New England literary history before coming east to college. Her book about Margaret Fuller won the Pulitzer Prize and The Peabody Sisters (one of whom married Nathaniel Hawthorne) (2005) won several other prizes.
Back to books! In 1963, when Abe Fortas was in private practice, he represented Gideon Wainwright, an indigent black man who asked for a lawyer. This was a landmark case that ultimately held state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants unable to afford their own lawyers (the right already existed in federal cases). Anthony Lewis, a Pulitzer-prizewinning New York Times columnist wrote about this case in Gideon’s Trumpet (1964) (mystery fans will be impressed he won an Edgar award for the book). During law school, I decided that while no one had time to read much during the academic year, we might be able to do a community read of a pivotal book like Gideon’s Trumpet. Long story short, I announced, begged, coaxed, and I think the only person who showed up was my best friend. For a lot of people, there was so much reading in law school they couldn’t handle any more, whereas I couldn’t stop, although I certainly read fewer during those four years.
“This book is the best of its kind—a serious, deeply felt reflection on the weight of history on contemporary affairs. Weiner, a historian/attorney at Rutgers School of Law, examines how court proceedings involving black people—and whites trying to assist them—have served as windows onto race relations and the power of whites over blacks in the U.S. from its earliest days. Using specific cases (such as those of the Amistad, the Scottsboro Boys, Black Panther Huey Newton and Mumia Abu-Jamal), he charts changes in Americans' civic inclusiveness—i.e., "what it means to be an American," and whether it includes blacks—and the long struggle for civic inclusiveness in the U.S., a struggle not yet over. . .”
This fascinating book was written by my Constitutional Law professor, one of my best law school teachers, a law school classmate of Cory Booker’s.