Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thurgood Marshall's Letters, Brinkley on Alaska, and more in the book pages

MARSHALLING JUSTICE: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall, edited by Michael G. Long, and with a Forward by Derrick Bell, is reviewed in the Boston Globe by Kenneth J. Cooper.  He finds the book "full of surprises." 
Thurgood Marshall the NAACP lawyer comes across in his letters as an advocate of unflagging commitment with a fighting spirit. He advised a Texas NAACP leader that the Dixiecrats who upheld segregation could only be defeated by “hitting back at them every time we can in every way we can.’’ In a 1940 report from Birmingham, Ala., to his boss, White, Marshall concluded, using the language of the day, “I’m all for these Negroes down here. They want to fight.’’
The rest is here.

The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom 1879-1960 by Douglas Brinkley gets a mixed review from in the Los Angeles Times.  He writes that the book is
an exhaustively detailed account of the evolution of public policy and conservation philosophy that swirled around the 49th state from 1879, when John Muir began his eloquent prose epistles that brought "Seward's Folly" into the popular imagination, to 1960, when what now is known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established. It's a historical and intellectual terrain as complex and outsized as the state itself — with just as many hazards. Among them are the towering peaks of American conservation: Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold.
But Brinkman's biographical approach "ultimately gives short shrift to Alaska as a place," so that the state "disappears for long passages that are located in the great elsewhere."  Read the rest here.

A STRANGE STIRRING:  “The Feminine Mystique” and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s by Stephanie Coontz is taken up in the New York Times, and Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House by Richard Wolffe is reviewed in the New York Review of Books.