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Synopsis: William Orville Douglas was both the most accomplished and the most controversial justice ever to serve on the United States Supreme Court. He emerged from isolated Yakima, Washington, to be dubbed, by the age of thirty, “the most outstanding law professor in the nation”; at age thirty-eight, he was the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, cleaning up a corrupt Wall Street during the Great Depression; by the age of forty, he was the second youngest Supreme Court justice in American history, going on to serve longer—and to write more opinions and dissents—than any other justice.
In evolving from a pro-government advocate in the 1940s to an icon of liberalism in the 1960s, Douglas became a champion for the rights of privacy, free speech, and the environment. While doing so, “Wild Bill” lived up to his nickname by racking up more marriages, more divorces, and more impeachment attempts aimed against him than any other member of the Court. But it was what Douglas did not accomplish that haunted him: He never fulfilled his mother’s ambition for him to become president of the United States.
Douglas’s life was the stuff of novels, but with his eye on his public image and his potential electability to the White House, the truth was not good enough for him. Using what he called “literary license,” he wrote three memoirs in which the American public was led to believe that he had suffered from polio as an infant and was raised by an impoverished, widowed mother whose life savings were stolen by the family attorney. He further chronicled his time as a poverty-stricken student sleeping in a tent while attending Whitman College, serving
as a private in the army during World War I, and “riding the rods” like a hobo to attend Columbia Law School.
Relying on fifteen years of exhaustive research in eighty-six manuscript collections, revealing long-hidden documents, and interviews conducted with more than one hundred people, many sharing their recollections for the first time, Bruce Allen Murphy reveals the truth behind Douglas’s carefully constructed image. While William O. Douglas wrote fiction in the form of memoir, Murphy presents the truth with a narrative flair that reads like a novel.
From the Back Cover:
Praise for Bruce Allen Murphy
Fortas: The Rise and Ruin of a Supreme Court Justice
“The tragedy of Abe Fortas, who would have been one of the great chief justices ever, in my opinion, is detailed in vivid fashion by Murphy, who has a case to build and builds it well.” —Larry King, USA Today
“One of the best recent biographies I have read. It brings Fortas to life, explaining his career and how he operated. More than that, it tells the most complete story we have about the events that led to Fortas’s downfall. It will be the standard work on this personal and professional tragedy.” —Bernard Schwartz, Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law, New York University, author of Super Chief: Earl Warren and His Supreme Court
“An engrossing tale. As in Greek tragedy, flaws of character and hubris led to disaster.”—Raoul Berger, Harvard Law School, author of Government by Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment
The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices
“Murphy challenges us in this pathbreaking and thoroughly documented study to reexamine our preconceptions of the role of the judiciary in American government and society.”
—Richard Bernstein, Harvard Law Record
Title: Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O....
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2003
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Random House, 2003. Book Condition: Good. 1st. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP3100666
Book Description Random House, 2003. Book Condition: Good. 1st. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP7970949
Book Description Random House. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2789382084
Book Description Random House. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Bookseller Inventory # 2808714411
Book Description Random House Publishing Group. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. This book has a light amount of wear to the pages, cover and binding. Bookseller Inventory # G0394576284I3N10
Book Description Random House Publishing Group. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G0394576284I3N10
Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items such as CD's or DVD's. We ship within 1 business day. Bookseller Inventory # 34FCKY000OPX_ns
Book Description Random House. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. 0394576284 Ex-library book with usual markings. Good Condition. Five star seller - Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # Z0394576284Z3
Book Description Book Condition: Good. May have some shelf-wear due to normal use. Bookseller Inventory # 0KVBKE0045GI
Book Description Book Condition: Good. A used book in good condition. All pages are intact, and the spine and cover are also intact. Bookseller Inventory # 467EJX001B25