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Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice Hardcover – December 4, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gibson shared with Marshall the profession of law and the hometown of Baltimore. Those commonalities and scores of interviews with Marshall’s friends, family, mentors, and colleagues give legal scholar Gibson a particular perspective on the formative experiences and driving forces that led to Marshall’s historic career as a civil rights attorney and Supreme Court justice. He focuses on Marshall’s first 30 years, before he joined the NAACP staff. While several biographies have been written about Marshall as an iconic figure, Gibson examines the people and experiences that made Marshall challenge the status quo of his time. He debunks myths about Marshall: for instance, that he hated Baltimore, when what he hated was its segregation, and that he was a late bloomer, when in fact he showed great promise as an intellect and debater early in life. Gibson highlights Marshall’s youthful influences and the racial injustices that spurred him to be a passionate advocate for equality as he took on the lawsuits and campaigns that eventually led to the Brown decision. Photographs enhance this insightful portrait of a complex man. --Vanessa Bush


“A well-researched and engaging biography and a fine addition to Marshall scholarship.”  —Kirkus Reviews
“Succeeds in making Marshall’s story immediate and vital.” —Publishers Weekly

"[A]n insightful portrait of a complex man." —Booklist

"The most accurate book ever published about my husband." 
Cecilia S. Marshall, Wife of Thurgood Marshall

"A page-turner. Its compelling story is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand a great man and the history of the civil rights movement. I enthusiastically recommend this book."
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Professor of law, Harvard Law School, and author of The Presumption of Guilt

"Gibson vividly recounts the remarkable journey that shaped one of the most influential icons of the twentieth century."
Marc H. Morial, President and chief executive officer of the National Urban League

"A triumph of discovery and restraint, Young Thurgood transports readers into a vivid, indomitable black culture that equipped this legal giant to remake our world."
Taylor Branch, Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Cartel

"I commend [this book] to every American who wishes to better understand our nation's ongoing struggle for universal civil rights."
Elijah E. Cummings, US Congressperson from Maryland

"A powerful account of Marshall's formative years and new insight into the early years of the NAACP."
Benjamin Jealous, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 413 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616145714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145712
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ralph E. Moore, Jr. on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Larry Gibson's recently released "Young Thurgood: The Making of A Supreme Court Justice" is simply fun to read, especially if you enjoy history (African American in particular) or biographies and looking at old pictures.

The text and the pictures work exceedingly well together. The story of Old West Baltimore really draws you in with great details laced with humor. Larry Gibson truly captures what influences Thurgood Marshall to be the great figure he became. Good parents, quality caring teachers and a mentor or two are attainable influences for inner city youth such as Supreme Court Associate Justice Marshall.

Larry has not only written a wonderful book, he's drawn a roadmap for our youth. Now, how do we get Gibson's work in the hands of the kids? They'll read it and learn it's not about magic but about daring to be smart and working hard--like Marshall and like Gibson himself, his biographer.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Al Hathaway on November 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Larry Gibson has ushered us into the developmental life of Thurgood Marshall with exceptional detail. He moves us easily through his life in Baltimore and introduces us to significant personalities of that era. Effortlessly, we describes events, personalities and situations with the microscopic eye of a historian who is both objective and personal with this amazing character we come to know as Thurgood Marshall. Never before have we learned of the influences upon his great personality. Never before have we learned the context that spawned this legal giant. Professor Gibson discusses and explains the influences upon his life with such an intriguing writing style, the book is difficult to put down. Before you know it you have read 200 pages and learn you are only half way through the story. Congratulations to Professor Gibson for making such a significant contribution to the history of Baltimore, Maryland as well as to the enduring legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so thankful to Prof. Larry Gibson for writing this book. First and foremost, it needed to be written, because he provided so much information on not only the life of Chief Justice Marshall, but also on civil rights in America and the attorneys from Maryland who were intricately involved in the fight for justice. Additionally, the story was told in such an enjoyable way that it was - for me, the reader - a book that I just did not want to put down; and I did not. It was an easy read. I stayed up all night until I finished the book. It was that interesting and enjoyable.

I did not expect to have such an enjoyable experience reading a biography as I did, but that is exactly what I got - a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening experience. However, I should have expected it. I was told what to expect from the "Forward", written by the son of the late, great Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall. He told the readers clearly that Prof. Larry Gibson's book, YOUNG THURGOOD, THE MAKING OF A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, is something special. Thurgood Marshall, Jr. shared that this book about his father is "unique, poignant, and informative" and - after reading it myself - I agree: Those three descriptive words are absolutely true. As Marshall, Jr. stated, there have been many writings, movies, and documentaries about his father, but Prof. Gibson brings to us readers facts about Chief Justice Marshall that were never known. In addition, through his great research expertise, Prof. Gibson also corrects many misconceptions about the Chief Justice.

Lastly, I cannot forget to mention the incredible pictorial history that is also included in this book by Prof. Gibson. That is an incredible bonus that was so unexpected.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Gary D. Rodwell on January 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
We all owe Larry Gibson a debt of gratitude for his vivid and captivating portrayal of the family, mentors and Baltimore influences which shaped the life of Young Thurgood. Because of Larry's brilliance as a researcher, dedication to detail and passion for historic Baltimore, we are able to revisit this country's 19th century struggle for human rights through the prism of its influence on one who would become a future icon of the struggle and Supreme Court Justice.
Gibson's Young Thurgood is a much more detailed account of Marshall's life than previous works. But what sets this effort apart from other portrayals is the way in which personal relationships, historical events and a sense of place, revealed through tediously researched pictures and documents, are woven together in a dramatic and compelling tapestry of prose, worthy of a screenplay.
The Making of a Supreme Court Justice is an inspiring narrative which should be read by anyone interested in understanding the early life of the Justice and the underpinnings of the civil rights movement. However, it is a must read for Baltimoreans young and old who believe in the relevance of the struggle. Young Thurgood is accessible enough for older Baltimoreans in the struggle to revisit the streets of our development and for younger Baltimoreans to resonate with their place and their responsibility to this legacy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Weisgal on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since time machines are still the purview of sci-fi writers, this wonderful biography provides context to a world years before my birth. Although I grew up during the civil rights era of the 50s and 60s, it was nothing compared to what existed in Thurgood Marshall's youth.

Gibson writes clearly, without emotion, describing the disparity between blacks and whites, the outrageous justification of laws and segregation, and how equality, eventually, triumphed, albeit in small, incremental steps.

I'm white. There is no way for me - or any white person - to comprehend the injustices perpetrated against blacks in my home town of Baltimore. And Baltimore is a microcosm of our country's behaviors. But for a few hours, I was given a glance into life as it was for Marshall and his contemporaries in the early part of the last century and how, through determination and a vision of what was right and just, made incremental inroads to change the future.

Larry Gibson spoke about his book and said it had two main characters: Thurgood Marshall and Baltimore. His book is, in many ways, a coming of age tale of a man and a city. Keeping in mind Edmund Burke's quote, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." we should read this book and remember our past, see how far we've come and recognize how much we still need to accomplish.
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