Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America

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Showdown by Wil Haygood is not just one story about the harrowing days of the Civil Rights Era, when President Lyndon Johnson nominated Judge Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. It is a story within a story looking into Marshall’s life, as well as his fiercest opponents for that nomination. Thurgood Marshall faced tough odds for most of his life, growing up black in Baltimore, Maryland where racism and segregation still reared its ugly head. His parents were hard working intellectuals who wanted the best for their sons; the boys Aubrey and Thurgood made their own way to get to their goals, showicasing their mettle and stubborness. Marshall would pave his way through to his eventual nomination with the debate team at Lincoln University, then Howard University Law School. He would pass the bar exam in 1933, evenutally become associated with the NAACP and make a name for himself winning many cases against segregation in the divided south. Paralleling the story of his growth, the hearings for his nomination are detailed with a fierce reality, his opponents ranging from Senators John McClellan, Strom Thurmond, James Eastland, Sam Ervin, all segregationists who would drag out the proceedings painstakingly in order to take down this historic nomination. The book’s background changes from LBJ’s White House to The Hearing Room of the Senate Judiciary Committee to the streets of the US which were burning in some spots. All leads up to the dramatic unveiling of the new Supreme Court Justice.

Will Haygood’s book is described before the conclusion as not so much a history book, but a historical thriller. I believe that judgment is succinct. The prejudices of the Senators threatens to derail a nomination, but learning the Senators backgrounds adds to the drama that enfolded in 1967. Justice Marshall is shown warts and all, but was and is a good man who made history. A few errors here in there (datewise) keep this book from being perfect, but in the end, its a minimal issue with the story being told and how it was told.


Reviewed By:

Author Wil Haygood
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2015-Sep-15
ISBN 9780307957191
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2015
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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