Thurgood Marshall Biography (Hardcover)
From the bestselling author of Eyes on the Prize, here is the definitive biography of the great lawyer and Supreme Court justice.
Thurgood Marshall stands today as the great architect of American race relations, having expanded the foundation of individual rights for all Americans. His victory in the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, the landmark Supreme Court case outlawing school segregation, would have made him a historic figure even if he had not gone on to become the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. As a young lawyer, Marshall dealt with criminal cases in which blacks were routinely sent to their deaths with barely a trial, and he was once nearly lynched while defending a client.
Remembered as a gruff, aloof figure, Marshall in fact had great charisma and a large appetite for life. Away from the courtroom, he was a glamorous figure in Harlem circles, known as a man-about-town who socialized with prizefighter Joe Louis, singer Cab Calloway, and other black luminaries. He lived in every decade of the century and knew every president from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, becoming a respected member of Washington's power elite, known for his savvy and quick wit.
But beneath Marshall's charm was a hard-nosed drive to change America that led to surprising clashes with Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, and Malcolm X. Most intriguing of all was Marshall's secret and controversial relationship with FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, revealed here for the first time.
Based on eight years of research and interviews with over 150 sources, Thurgood Marshall is the sweeping and inspirational story of an enduring figure in American life, a descendant of slaves who became a true hero for all people. As Juan Williams shows, in page after vivid page, Thurgood Marshall fulfilled the promise of democracy and changed our history.
Music is My Mistress (paperback)
DUKE ELLINGTON AUTOBRIOGRAPHY
Classic. If you consider the classic elegance of Edward Kennedy Ellington, it should come as no surprise that his prose is as lyrical and poetic as his music. This is a wonderful collection of writings. It is in effect an arrangement of essays and short pieces written with what I suspect is love about the love of his life-jazz, or music itself, if you will. The book contains many short pieces-impressionistic sketches and characters of persons that Duke Ellington knew-musicians, friends, acquaintances, public figures. But it also has a variety of essays-longer subjects interwoven with themes and counterpoint. Ellington's is exquisitely musical prose-again, not to be surprised. The organization is chronological, narrative, more or less. Duke organizes with autobiographical passages followed by short portraits-Dramatis Felidae-that demonstrate the concreteness through brief descriptions of the persons that he knew with anecdotes that define them. The book covers a life filled with friends and experience. The variety is tremendous, and the life and the career are masterpieces. The themes and subjects are multifaceted. This is Duke Ellington's poetic literary suite posing as prose, and it should not be missed. Really-it's great poetry and a terrific compendium of jazz history and experience.