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John Marshall: Definer of a Nation
ISBN 080505510X / 9780805055108 / 0-8050-5510-X
Publisher Holt Paperbacks
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It's taken for granted today that the Supreme Court has final say on how the Constitution is interpreted, but this principle--hotly debated in the republic's early years -- was established by John Marshall (1755-1835), the fourth Chief Justice. Historian Smith's definitive biography, detailed and lucid, is a model of scholarly writing for the general public. The author claims our admiration for the justice and sparks affection for the man: warm, gregarious, fond of drink, a Federalist with the common touch, a seasoned political infighter who remained on good terms with his opponents. [via]