468 of 547 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2007
Even if you do not agree with everything Justice Thomas believes, this book will still keep you reading until the end. I could not put it down. Thomas writes in such a personal and down to earth style that you really feel like you know him as a person. His life story is amazing and the events he details really come to life. I am so glad I got an early copy and read it before the inevitable partisians show up here and lambast it simply because they disagree with the author. I for one can read something that does not echo my thoughts, but sadly others cannot. If you love non-fiction and also multi-layered stories than give this book a try. It really is unforgettable no matter your political party.
106 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2007
Often we make judgments based upon preconceived views and ideology. I, too, had misconceived notions about Clarence Thomas. I heard that he was a traitor to his race. However, by reading this book, I gained insight into one of the most misunderstood people in our society. As an African American, I can say that his message of self-reliance is very pertinent and needed. The irony of this "so-called traitor"--is that his message of self-reliance is similar to the views held by Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and Frederick Douglas. This is a must read for all Americans, especially African Americans.
354 of 425 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2007
Not since his confirmation hearing have we heard directly from Justice Thomas about his life, background and formative experiences. This autobiography is a much-needed retrospective and, in many ways, a refutation of those critics who question his intellect and depth.
Justice Thomas takes us from his humble beginnings in the racist Deep South, raised by a tough love grandfather, to his days as a seminarian, to college and law school, and to government service that ultimately led him to the US Supreme Court.
Most important, he provides his account of the Anita Hill fiasco. I think any objective reader will be hard pressed to read this account and not come away with a sense that what happened to Justice Thomas ranks among one of the most low down, dirty things our elected officials have done to any one individual.
Whether or not one agrees with his judicial philosophy, this autobiography is an important book. It reveals a very thoughtful, complex, almost anguished man in such a way that I think both critics and supporters will be surprised. Regardless of one's point of view, Justice Thomas can and should be viewed as an example to people of all colors that economic disadvantage can be overcome.
65 of 77 people found the following review helpful
The hero of this book is not Clarence Thomas. It is his grandfather who raised him and his brother from childhood. His mother was an illegitimate child, just as he was himself. The grandfather later married and, when his daughter, Justice Thomas' mother, was struggling to raise three children in the slums of Charleston, he took the boys in and raised them to be fiercely independent men. The grandfather and his wife had a neat and clean, though small, house and later he built a second house on family farm land outside the cty. He kept the boys working on that farm in the summer, much to their anger, to keep them away from other boys who were at risk of serious trouble in the streets of Charleston. Justice Thomas' early life was one of hard work and hard study under the nuns in Catholic school. His grandfather scraped up the school fees to keep his boys out of the evil atmosphere that dragged so many young black men into trouble. For years, Justice Thomas and his grandfather had a tense relationship as neither could express his feelings well and the grandson only realized years later what a debt he owed to this harsh but loving man. The confirmation story, and the alleged "anger" are near the end of the book. The rest is an inspiring story of love and discipline and a life that should impress anyone who reads it with the open mind. The book now goes to my daughter and it should be required reading for the pampered children of the middle class who have had few obstacles in their way thus far in life.
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
I like others totally enjoyed this remarkable read. If taken at face value, the value that the author states for writing it: to provide clear story of his life rather than let others take a shot at it, then this serves the vital function of providing history with such.
How can anyone decisively determine the accuracy of such? Especially the incident with Ms. Hill? Those on both sides will certainly try and argue their side. The invaluable contribution of this memoir is for history, he has stated here clearly and in some detail his side of the story for posterity. Quite honestly, I can find info in this memoir which both sides could utilize to support their case. I choose to for the moment at least take Thomas' side, sensing his honesty and openness to admit and detail his failures and shortcomings rather than hide them. Further, if the confirmation process in question here was as self-serving as he writes about it with its only goal in the self-destruction of this man's reputation for idealogical goals only, than that is truly one of the most despicable moments in our legislative history. I'm sure many American citizens agree that the media circus that such hearings have taken in the past only confirm the suspicions held that this is the case.
Truly touching in this recollection of a most interesting life of some hopes realized is this man's rise from broken family to self-sufficiency. The resolve of grandparents to raise from such a modest sustenance is inspirational and at the same time shameful on the part of white race and what has been done to the people of color.
Further shameful is the other side of racism which Thomas exposes, that of people of color doing in their own who try and think for themselves. Stephen Carter comes to mind here as well, as well as some friends of mine who have stated this same experience and concern in their lives.
Especially appreciative of Thomas' candor in exposing his fall from faith and return during his time of crisis.
I enjoy this read and recommend it highly for our country to read, ponder and discuss. It expresses a very neglected side of our country that needs to gain a wide hearing and fair shake, which I doubt it will from certain corners who do not care about truth anymore.
84 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2007
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is normally so quiet--on the bench and about his public life--that he almost has been perceived as reclusive. Finally, thoroughly, and happily, he has spoken (written) with "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir."
Thomas chronicles his rise from poverty, his upbringing by his grandfather who taught him lessons of personal responsibility, and his up-and-down road to the Supreme Court. All the while Thomas honestly depicts the barriers he faced and the hurdles he had to overcome.
Of course, Thomas also finally speaks about the Anita Hill charges. With candor about the pain and with substantiating evidence about the facts, his side of the story is finally told.
But the greater message of the book is the story of how Thomas moved beyond suffering and prejudice and bias to live the America dream. It is a story filled with hope and dignity. It is a story worth telling and worth reading.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Spiritual Friends, and Soul Physicians.
51 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2007
This is a story of a man and his journey to the highest court in the land. In the telling of it, he is unabashed about his accomplishments without being self-aggrandizing, and he is honest in his portrayal of those who opposed him along the way. He identifies those in government who act exactly as we know many in government act; his portrayal of senators Biden and Metzenbaum is precisely like the reader knows these multifaceted (read "two faced") politicians are - and it makes delightful reading. He tells his side of the Anita Hill controversy with no punches about his feelings, but most effectively. His side is effective because he uses verifiable evidence supporting his claims (telephone logs of calls made to but mainly from her, the dubious backgrounds of those who support her story, and by pointing out that she claimed backing from reputable employees who served under Thomas who "evaporated" under scrutiny). I have not ever seen these points disputed, far less disproved. Surely, were there something there, these vicious critics of Thomas would not let them go unchallenged!
This is an autobiography. Thomas does not discuss his SCOTUS activities nor any particular agenda in judicial matters. He seems to studiously avoid such matters. Instead, it is a fascinating story of a man making his way in the world, and working through the particular set of problems that God alloted him. He did well in meeting the challenge.
62 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2007
Lawyers who read Supreme Court opinions know that Clarence Thomas is the most skilled craftsman of written opinions on the Court. His autobiography confirms that his writing ability is not limited to written legal opinions, but extends to popular biography.
This is an inspiring book. What surprised me was how similar Thomas' upbringing was to that of other African-Americans who fall on the liberal side of political questions. If you assumed that Thomas didn't experience what it is like growing up black in a segregated Southern city (Savannah) you'll learn something new here. The story of his plastic St. Jude statue, and the racism that surrounds it, chokes me up even now.
Also inspiring is his story about his yearbook, and the photo caption inserted there by his classmates.
What occurred to me while reading it is that Thomas had "the black experience" and merely came to a different conclusion on how equality is going to be achieved.
This book is readable, enjoyable, educational, and fun. I highly recommend it.
33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
My Grandfather's Son
How would you like to sit in a room with one of the most influential men of our times and just listen to him reminisce about his trials and tribulations of growing up as a black man in the Jim Crowe South. Maybe ask a question or two ,but mainly just listen. That's what My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas gives you. A rare insight into the life of a Supreme Court justice. Now if the other eight would just follow suit.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in modern day culture.
Gunner October, 2007
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2007
What an amazing book.
It is remarkable that Clarence Thomas gives so much of himself in such an open, honest manner. He reveals his soul to the core.
He does NOT discuss the Supreme Court, but rather ends the tome soon after his confirmation.
Most of the book is about his early life, from childhood through college. He reveals the depth of his soul searching as he found that conventional thoughts were wrong. The pain and isolation when he failed to conform. His anger and frustration. His difficulty in coping. All of the emotion, angst and sorrow are dripping from certain passages as is his admiration for "Daddy", the grandfather who raised him. The only omission is the thought process that made him leave his wife and child.
Only the very end deals with the hearings. His disgust for the accurately described "lynching" is, like the rest of the book, undisguised. Interestingly enough, his anger towards Anita seems to be tempered at most, if not nonexistent. Despite her outrageous lies it is as though he considers her a victim of the Senators that used her.
I have never read a book that is this open, honest and revealing.
Anyone with a shred of humanity will be moved by this unvarnished memoir.