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Father, Son, and Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark and Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy Hardcover – April 30, 2013

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Father, Son, and Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark and Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy + Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 478 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070061916X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700619160
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,902,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Alexander Wohl should be commended for producing such a voluminous, detailed, and well-written examination of two under-investigated historical figures. It is replete with fascinating historical anecdotes that are certain to bring to life some of the most important political battles that shaped constitutional law and legal policy in the United States. It is an important biographical contribution that emphasizes the historical context in which Tom and Ramsey Clark were embedded..."  Law and Politics Book Review

"The compelling story of Tom and Ramsey Clark has been hiding in plain sight for decades. It took Wohl's prodigious research to unearth it and show how, as major actors in some of the great legal struggles of twentieth-century American, father and son became civil libertarians almost in spite of themselves."  Linda Greenhouse, author of Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

"Combining two biographical subjects within a single volume would challenge any author, but Wohl has blended his treatments both fairly equally and effectively, despite the generational and sharply contrasting professional differences in the lives of these two Texans."  The Journal of Supreme Court History

"Many of the key constitutional issues in our digital age and the ongoing war on terror are merely updated versions of struggles that were fought at mid-century. Those battles, like today's sought to define the proper balance between individual rights and personal privacy on the one hand, and national security on the other. Father, Son, and Constitution contains a rich trove of historical analysis that can inform the handling of constitutional issues now and in the future."—The Federal Lawyer

From the Back Cover

"The Clarks lived through, and participated in, all the major events of the second half of the twentieth century; often they played a role in shaping those events. Wohl's double biography is a well written, finely-crafted, and fascinating account of the lives and careers of these two men, who were linked together by blood and history. And it is a notable contribution to the political, legal, and social history of our times."

Lawrence M. Friedman, author of A History of American Law

"Justice Tom Clark has been neglected too long, while in recent decades Ramsey Clark's contributions have largely been dismissed, misunderstood, and overshadowed. Wohl's book fills a significant void in the literature on the Supreme Court and American law and politics.  It's exceptionally well researched, organized, and developed, as well as commendably well written."            

David M. O'Brien, author of Storm Center: The Supreme Court in American Politics

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Walwik on September 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Father, Son, and Constitution by Alexander Wohl offers a timely and unique perspective on questions of how the law should be used to deal with limitations or expansions of governmental power. By examining the complex and evolving lives of Tom and Ramsey Clark, Wohl captures the spirit of how the people of the United States have redefined the relationship between individual liberties and government sponsored security. Neither Tom or Ramsey Clark can be easily judged by referring to their most famous (or infamous) actions. On the surface, the Clarks seemed to approach the law from opposite directions, Tom as an advocate of government power and Ramsey as a champion of individual rights. As Wohl deftly shows this reading of their careers misses the point that their actions sprang from a deep-rooted reverence for the Constitution. The long careers of Tom and Ramsey Clark represent the arc of legal thinking across the 20th century. Just as attitudes about governmental power and indiviudual liberites changed, so too did the thinking of the Clarks. As he guides the reader through the lives of Tom and Ramsey Clark, Wohl reminds us of the importance of understanding people in the context of their times and leaving open the possibility that indiviudual perspectives can change, even if their core principles do not. As we debate issues of law, power, and liberty today, it is valuable to look back on the lives of Tom and Ramsey Clark to remind ourselves that we can disagree on many things without uprooting our foundations. In Father, Son and Constitution Alexander Wohl has produced a book that we need to remind us of the common ground we share.
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