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Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson of Kentucky: A Political Biography Hardcover – May 27, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; First Edition edition (May 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813122473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813122472
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,887,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"At long last we have a first-rate biography of Fred Vinson that accounts for his significance in a thorough and readable fashion. Students of the U.S. Supreme Court, World War II, and American and Kentucky politics will profit from this book." -- Robert M. Ireland

"This book conveys his life and times effectively." -- Appalachian Heritage

"Presents a memorable portrait of an admirable in unappreciated statesman." -- Appellate Practice Journal

"Provides a sympathetic, easily read portrait of a small-town lawyer who rose to the top levels of all three branches of federal government." -- Centrepiece

"This readable biography of an eminent Kentuckian corrects this oversight to a significant degree and provides the basis for re-examining Vinson's reputation.... An engaging narrative." -- David J. Bodenhamer

"Frederick Moore Vinson (1890-1953) was the thirteenth chief justice of the United States (1946-1953), and, until now, the only one of that number without a full biography." -- H-New Reviews

"A highly readable, balanced biography.... A useful addition to all libraries." -- Journal of American History

"Their excellent biography is dedicated largely to showing the Vinson 'was so much more' than just head of the American judiciary from 1946 to 1953, for his pubic career prior to that had spanned a quarter-century and was among the most distinguished of his time.... A superb and much-needed contribution to political and judicial history." -- Journal of Southern History

"The first in-depth analysis of Fred M. Vinson, Kentucky's only chief justice of the United States." -- Kentucky Monthly

"Provides a basis for reevaluating Vinson's reputation as a failure on the Supreme Court.... This is a 'must read' for anyone who hopes to understand the Vinson court." -- Law and Politics Book Review

"Meticulously assimilates -- for the first time in a single source -- an erudite yet accessible comparative analysis examining Vinson's largely overlooked but pioneering roles in developing modern governmental functions." -- Leo

"St. Clair and Gugin provide a sympathetic, easily read portrait of a successful and devoted public servant. Even half a century after his death, Vinson remains a model worthy of emulation." -- Lexington Herald-Leader

"Opens a path for others to tread as the varied career of the most famous Kentuckian you've never heard of increasingly comes to light." -- Louisville Courier-Journal

About the Author

James St. Clair is associate professor of journalism at Indiana University Southeast. Linda Gugin is professor of political science at Indiana University Southeast.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John S. Klassen on November 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
These authors exhibit no real literary feel for any aspect of Vinson's life: his participation in New Deal era, his roots in eastern Kentucky, the Supreme Court, or the personality of the man himself. His years in Congress, for example, or covered with endless quotations from mundane Congressional speeches, and excerpts from unremarkable constituent correspondence. This is biography-as-term-paper, rather than as a transformative effort to place a vital human being in the context of place and time, as the best biographers try to do. (Wikipedia would do just as well, and at less length). Granted, Vinson is not among the more "exciting" figures of 20th century American history, but still he was a man who lived (and achieved power)at a dynamic time. You do not get to know this man in this book.
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