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Download The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America Audiobook, by Jeffrey Rosen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (273 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeffrey Rosen Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2007 ISBN: 9781400173761
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A leading Supreme Court expert recounts the personal and philosophical rivalries that forged our nation's highest court and continue to shape our daily lives. The Supreme Court is the most mysterious branch of government, and yet the Court is at root a human institution, made up of very bright people with very strong egos, for whom political and judicial conflicts often become personal. In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law-and by extension, our lives. The story begins with the great Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, cousins from the Virginia elite whose differing visions of America set the tone for the Court's first hundred years. The tale continues after the Civil War with Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who clashed over the limits of majority rule. Rosen then examines the Warren Court era through the lens of the liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, for whom personality loomed larger than ideology. He concludes with a pairing from our own era, the conservatives William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, only one of whom was able to build majorities in support of his views. Through these four rivalries, Rosen brings to life the perennial conflict that has animated the Court-between those justices guided by strong ideology and those who forge coalitions and adjust to new realities. He illuminates the relationship between judicial temperament and judicial success or failure. The stakes are nothing less than the future of American jurisprudence. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 2/20/2014

    " I absolutely loved this book, but I am a supreme court junkie. Others might not enjoy all the minutiae. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zack Hemond | 2/16/2014

    " I liked the comparative nature of this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley (cnthrdlywt2bwz) | 2/14/2014

    " I put this down about two or three years ago and am just now getting back to literally, the last 40 pages. It was not as good as The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy Ewens | 2/8/2014

    " Excellent. I love the behind the scenes look. It's hard to imagine such icons as human being and this book really give you that. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Doug | 2/1/2014

    " This is a particularly bad book. It is poorly written and very ideological. The more right wing the Justice the better they are in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thomas | 1/17/2014

    " Rosen emphasizes the difference between doctrinaire judges who try to impose their personal legal philosophy on the court and those who try to build consensus on the court, coming down firmly on the side of those judges who compromise their views for the sake of majority or unanimous decisions. He picks out pairs of justices whose personalities and philosophies contrast in a way that seems suspiciously contrived, as if they acted as they did to satisfy Rosen's thesis. It's almost as if Rosen is demonstrating what is wrong with imposing personal belief on the court by doing it in his book. Strange. If you can get over this contrivance (or better yet, ignore it) it's still a well written and entertaining book, particularly if you are unfamiliar with some of the more colorful characters in Supreme Court history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 1/14/2014

    " Billed as the companion book to the PBS series on the supreme court. I found it very interesting. The author juxtaposes personalities on the court and compares their effectiveness. Technically the fisrt paring is not two justices but Jefferson and Marshall. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zachary | 12/25/2013

    " Hey, I liked it. I think I've got a man crush on Chief Justice Roberts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 12/9/2013

    " I wonder what non-lawyers might get from it. They wouldn't understand my little Mona Lisa smile through the Harlan/Holmes wars, the commerce clause battles, and so forth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 12/1/2013

    " read-2007 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cory | 11/25/2013

    " My Favorite book on the Supreme Court. It focuses on Justices whose proper temperment impacted court history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan Duran | 10/28/2013

    " Geared more towards academia than the casual reader, still provides an interesting look at what happens when judicial philospiphies collide. I found the section contrasting Justices Black and Douglas particularly interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 11/28/2012

    " Good enough about rivalries and the lives of these pivotal justices (and 1 President)- John Marshall-Thomas Jefferson, John Harlan-Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Douglas-Hugo Black; and William Rehnquist-Anthony Scalia "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hope | 10/28/2012

    " I'm a SC junkie. What can I say? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandon Shultz | 10/27/2012

    " This book did a great job of examining the evolution of the court through the pivotal times on the court by displaying the conflict between two justices and expanding it to look at the court as a whole. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy Ondos pickett | 8/2/2012

    " Even with the audiobook, I couldn't get through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 8/2/2012

    " So far so good. Very enlightening about our justices. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 3/6/2012

    " Best book I have read in years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crrrazyhawk | 11/16/2011

    " Good insight into the supreme court, past and present. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Delacey | 11/6/2011

    " Not as good as The Nine or as The Metaphysical Club, but a really interesting take on jurisprudence and judicial temperament and how they've shaped the legacy of the Court "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roy | 7/19/2011

    " First book on the Court that helped me understand the politics of voting on cases. Very enlightning for me even though I thought I knew a lot about the court! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 5/18/2011

    " Billed as the companion book to the PBS series on the supreme court. I found it very interesting. The author juxtaposes personalities on the court and compares their effectiveness. Technically the fisrt paring is not two justices but Jefferson and Marshall. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Delacey | 5/22/2010

    " Not as good as The Nine or as The Metaphysical Club, but a really interesting take on jurisprudence and judicial temperament and how they've shaped the legacy of the Court "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roy | 6/17/2009

    " First book on the Court that helped me understand the politics of voting on cases. Very enlightning for me even though I thought I knew a lot about the court! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 1/4/2009

    " I absolutely loved this book, but I am a supreme court junkie. Others might not enjoy all the minutiae. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 12/18/2008

    " Good enough about rivalries and the lives of these pivotal justices (and 1 President)- John Marshall-Thomas Jefferson, John Harlan-Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Douglas-Hugo Black; and William Rehnquist-Anthony Scalia "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barron | 12/10/2008

    " Adroitly done. And I always enjoy Jefferson-bashing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hope | 9/24/2008

    " I'm a SC junkie. What can I say? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crrrazyhawk | 9/11/2008

    " Good insight into the supreme court, past and present. "

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About the Author

Jeffrey Rosen is president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, professor of law at the George Washington University, and a contributing editor of the Atlantic. He is the author of several books, including The Supreme Court and The Unwanted Gaze.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. He began narrating audiobooks in 1996, winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and earning several “Best Voice” awards. He has also worked as a stage actor and as a promo announcer at WPIX-TV in New York City. His dream is to be an opera singer, a role for which he hones his bass-baritone operatic skills in the upstairs shower of his home.