What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by Joan Biskupic

Updated 21 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by Joan Biskupic

  • The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on America’s highest court

This is an incisive biography of the US Supreme Court’s enigmatic chief justice, taking us inside the momentous legal decisions of his tenure so far. 

In The Chief, award-winning journalist Joan Biskupic contends that Chief Justice Roberts is torn between two, often divergent, priorities: To carry out a conservative agenda, and to protect the Supreme Court’s image and his place in history. 

Biskupic shows how Roberts’s dual commitments have fostered distrust among his colleagues, with major consequences for the law. Trenchant and authoritative, The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on America’s highest court. 

“Given the court’s current composition, anyone who does not want the law to lurch to the right in civil rights, abortion and other areas has to hope Roberts will hold it close to its current course — either based on actual beliefs, or to protect the Supreme Court as an institution,” said Adam Cohen in a review published in The New York Times.

Biskupic has covered the Supreme Court since 1989.


What We Are Reading Today: Racial Migrations by Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof

Updated 19 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Racial Migrations by Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof

  • In Racial Migrations, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof presents a vivid portrait of these largely forgotten migrant revolutionaries

In the late 19th century, a small group of Cubans and Puerto Ricans of African descent settled in the segregated tenements of New York City.

At an immigrant educational society in Greenwich Village, these early Afro-Latino New Yorkers taught themselves to be poets, journalists, and revolutionaries, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

At the same time, these individuals — including Rafael Serra, a cigar maker, writer, and politician; Sotero Figueroa, a typesetter, editor, and publisher; and Gertrudis Heredia, one of the first women of African descent to study midwifery at the University of Havana — built a political network and articulated an ideal of revolutionary nationalism centered on the projects of racial and social justice.

These efforts were critical to the poet and diplomat José Martí’s writings about race and his bid for leadership among Cuban exiles, and to the later struggle to create space for black political participation in the Cuban Republic.

In Racial Migrations, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof presents a vivid portrait of these largely forgotten migrant revolutionaries.