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Secret Lives of the Supreme Court: What Your Teachers Never Told You about America's Legendary Judges Paperback – March 1, 2009
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About the Author
Robert Schnakenberg is the author of several nonfiction books, including Secret Lives of Great Authors and Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults. He lives in Brooklyn.
Top customer reviews
What's more, I had to return this book twice, the second time for a refund instead of a replacement -- the cover kept coming detached/unglued from the book. I am a careful reader, persnickety even about not cracking the spines on paperbacks, so this was not rough handling but poor manufacturing, which is obviously a knock on the publisher/printer, not the author, but still annoying and something that has never happened to be before (I own at least 1,000 paperbacks).
I can't include this book among those unfortunately. It starts off surprisingly negative and snarky. Here are some examples:
- A crabby, slave-owning, anti-Catholic bigot [John Jay]
- A crook and a tool of the rich [James Wilson]
- [Trying to rehabilitate Roger Taney is] a bit like saying that apart from the Holocaust, Hitler was a swell guy
- An abrasive boor and virulent anti-Semite without an ounce of common decency [James Clark McReynolds]
- A blustering, imperious phony [Warren Burger]
- A physical oddity more suited for a Victorian-era specimen box [Ruth Bader Ginsburg]
Along those lines are the topics he deems fit to discuss. For example, Schnakenberg has a little blurb about Olive Wendell Holmes' purported impotency. Though he speculates that it resulted from being wounded in battle, that doesn't stop him from playing it up in a nudge-nudge, wink-wink style that seems positively embarrassing (to Schnakenberg):
The "Yankee from Olympus" was no love god ... Holmes had a strictly platonic relationship with his wife, Fanny Dixwell Holmes. (Insert your salacious pun here.) ... problems "down below." ... Whether his flag was flying or not ...
At about Lewis Powell, however, he begins to lighten up, and the rest of the little bios are interesting and not very snarky at all. Not sure if he simply couldn't keep up the snarky pace, has a hard time considering historical context, didn't want to piss off living human beings, or what. Strange.