AMERICA'S FIRST WOMAN LAWYER

THE BIOGRAPHY OF MYRA BRADWELL

A dry, bare-bones biography of Myra Bradwell (1831-94), whose plea to practice law was denied by the Supreme Court because she was a woman, and who went on to become the publisher and editor of the influential Chicago Legal News. In telling Bradwell's story, Friedman (Law/Wayne State University) labors under two considerable constraints. The first is the paucity of original source material (Bradwell's family gave her correspondence with Mary Todd Lincoln—who was a friend as well as a client—to Robert Lincoln's estate, which destroyed it because it dealt with Robert's consignment of his mother to a mental hospital). The second problem is Friedman's apparent wish to fit Bradwell into the politically correct pantheon of feminist heroines. It's true that Bradwell worked hard through her journalism to initiate reforms ``in the areas of women's rights, child custody, the legal system, treatment of persons alleged to be `insane' ''—she was largely responsible for Mary Todd Lincoln's release from the mental hospital—and to make the Chicago Legal News the most widely circulated legal newspaper in the country. But, reflecting her era, she was also an anti-Semite; an elitist; a woman who distanced herself from what she perceived to be the strident and polarizing approach of leading suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and a believer in the ``ethos of `true womanhood'—sensible and devoted mothers, wives, and daughters uniting together to ask of their fathers, husbands, and brothers the right to vote.'' Still, Bradwell's considerable accomplishments are revealed in her own writings, which offer an impressive record of more than two decades of legal criticism, advocacy, and astute business acumen. More legal brief than biography as the personal Myra Bradwell is subsumed in the political figure—but a welcome revival of a forgotten reputation.

Pub Date: May 17, 1993

ISBN: 0-87975-812-0

Page Count: 215

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1993

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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