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Although Archibald Cox is best remembered as the special prosecutor whom President Nixon fired in the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" for his investigation into Watergate, Ken Gormley's biography reveals the full extent of Cox's distinguished career as a public servant. Starting out as a clerk for Learned Hand, Cox went on to become a professor at Harvard Law School and an advisor to then-senator John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy became president, he appointed Cox to the position of solicitor general, where he argued before the Supreme Court in some of the vital civil rights cases of the era. And then, of course, there was the Watergate investigation; Gormley recounts in fascinating detail the wrangling between the Justice Department and the Oval Office over Nixon's tapes, drawing upon unpublished documents and interviews with key participants.
In an era when special prosecutors have become common fixtures in controversial news stories, Gormley's portrait reveals how one man carried out the responsibilities of that office with such integrity and class as to rally a nation behind him. [via]