Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Roberts Court, Reinventing Government, and More: This Week in the Book Pages

In the Washington Post Jeffrey Rosen reviews The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution (Simon and Schuster).  According to Rosen:
The great strength of Coyle’s book is the depth and balance of her reporting. She interviewed several justices on background and one, Antonin Scalia, on the record. She also interviewed the lawyers and litigants on both sides of the four highest-profile cases of the Roberts era — involving affirmative action in public schools, gun rights, campaign finance and health care. By allowing all the participants to speak in their own voices, she gives us a nuanced sense of how conservative and libertarian lawyers strategically litigated these cases and transformed the law.
The Washington Post also has a review of Simpler: The Future of Government (Simon and Schuster) by Cass Sunstein and Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government (Penguin) by Gavin Newsom.  Of the two books, Carlos Lozada writes that they "perfectly capture the twin cultural and social-science obsessions of the early 21st century: the networking power of social media and the explanatory power of behavioral economics."

In the New York Times, you'll find a review of John Taliaferro's All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt (Simon and Schuster), and a review by Scott Turow of Thomas Dyja's The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream (Penguin), "a wide-angled cultural history of Chicago in the middle of the 20th century."

The Wall Street journal has reviews of two biographies of WWII figures.  Carl Rollyson reviews Ray Monk's Robert Oppenheimer: His Life and Mind (Doubleday).  "[T]he author's approach," he writes "demonstrates why previous biographers," namely Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin whose American Prometheus contained a "staggering amount of research," did not "both with detailed descriptions of Oppenheimer's scientific papers."  And Caroline Moorehead reviews Olivia Manning: A Woman at War (Oxford) by Deirdre David.