With fresh research, the authors effectively humanize the women who never received the nominations they deserved.

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WOMEN IN THE SHADOWS OF THE SUPREME COURT

Two law professors collaborate to tell the political and personal sagas of women publicly considered for appointment to the Supreme Court but never actually nominated by a president.

Before the 1981 confirmation of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman Supreme Court justice ever, it appeared that several presidents would remove the gender barrier. However, political partisanship as well as misogyny scuttled every potential nominee. Though three women have followed O’Connor—Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993), Sonia Sotomayor (2009), and Elena Kagan (2010)—Jefferson and Johnson rightfully remind readers that this is far from satisfactory in terms of both equity and common sense. No woman received a license to practice law in the U.S. until 1869, and that same year, “Washington University in St. Louis became the first law school to admit women.” For a time, it appeared either Herbert Hoover or Franklin Roosevelt would nominate Florence Allen, “the first woman whose name appeared on official lists of possible candidates for appointment” to the nation’s highest court. Unsurprisingly, however, Hoover and Roosevelt opted for yet another white male. After those missed opportunities for Allen, only five women received public consideration before Ronald Reagan nominated O’Connor. In the first section of the book, Jefferson and Johnson focus on the political maneuvering behind the consideration of each candidate. In the second section, the authors examine the personal and professional attributes of the shortlisted women, hoping to identify relevant lessons about the “gendered consequences” of being publicly considered but not nominated. The lessons involve successfully battling tokenism; overcoming stereotypes about motherhood or, alternately, childlessness; being subjected to examinations of sexuality, including the character of romantic partners; dealing with discrimination regarding older women; and navigating objections that women justices decide judicial disputes differently from men, and perhaps inappropriately.

With fresh research, the authors effectively humanize the women who never received the nominations they deserved.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4798-9591-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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

NIGHT

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

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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