First: high quality outlet sale Sandra Day O'Connor online

First: high quality outlet sale Sandra Day O'Connor online

First: high quality outlet sale Sandra Day O'Connor online

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The intimate, inspiring, and authoritative biography of Sandra Day O’Connor, America’s first female Supreme Court justice, drawing on exclusive interviews and first-time access to Justice O’Connor’s archives

“She’s a hero for our time, and this is the biography for our time.”—Walter Isaacson

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR and The Washington Post

She was born in 1930 in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. At a time when women were expected to be homemakers, she set her sights on Stanford University. When she graduated near the top of her law school class in 1952, no firm would even interview her. But Sandra Day O’Connor’s story is that of a woman who repeatedly shattered glass ceilings—doing so with a blend of grace, wisdom, humor, understatement, and cowgirl toughness.

She became the first ever female majority leader of a state senate. As a judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals, she stood up to corrupt lawyers and humanized the law. When she arrived at the United States Supreme Court, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, she began a quarter-century tenure on the Court, hearing cases that ultimately shaped American law. Diagnosed with cancer at fifty-eight, and caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s, O’Connor endured every difficulty with grit and poise.

Women and men who want to be leaders and be first in their own lives—who want to learn when to walk away and when to stand their ground—will be inspired by O’Connor’s example. This is a remarkably vivid and personal portrait of a woman who loved her family, who believed in serving her country, and who, when she became the most powerful woman in America, built a bridge forward for all women.

Praise for First

“Cinematic . . . poignant . . . illuminating and eminently readable . . . First gives us a real sense of Sandra Day O’Connor the human being. . . . Thomas gives O’Connor the credit she deserves.” The Washington Post

“[A] fascinating and revelatory biography . . . a richly detailed picture of [O’Connor’s] personal and professional life . . . Evan Thomas’s book is not just a biography of a remarkable woman, but an elegy for a worldview that, in law as well as politics, has disappeared from the nation’s main stages.” The New York Times Book Review

Review

“She rose to fame as the first female Supreme Court justice, but during her twenty-four years on the bench she became even more: the most powerful justice of our era.  With practical instincts and sharp intellect, she crafted sensible compromises on affirmative action, abortion, and other contentious issues.  She embodies the virtues we sorely lack today: decency, honesty, balance, and a nobility worn lightly. With amazing access to her journals and papers, Evan Thomas has written a brilliant and riveting book that captures her principles and personality.  She’s a hero for our time, and this is the biography for our time.” —Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo Da Vinci

“An unvarnished and psychologically intuitive look at the nation''s first female Supreme Court justice . . . Thomas breaks new ground with  First . . . unlike every other volume written about O''Connor.” —NPR

“A great storyteller has found his greatest subject in trailblazer Sandra Day O’Connor. Evan Thomas has written one of the most insightful and thoroughly captivating biographies I have ever read: A clear and compelling illumination of Sandra Day O’Connor’s unique voice and place in American history is told through her remarkable life’s journey from a rancher’s daughter to the first woman appointed to the highest court in the land.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times

“A vivid, humane, and inspiring portrait of an extraordinary woman and how she both reflected and shaped an era.” —Drew Faust, president emerita, Harvard University
 
“Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there was Sandra Day O’Connor, and O’Connor’s story has everything. In Evan Thomas’s brilliant and compelling book, we are given an intimate and gripping account of a pioneering American woman successfully seeking to thrive in an all-male world. Noble and flawed, selfless and ambitious, Justice O’Connor sought a more perfect union amid imperfect choices. Written with fluidity and grace, Thomas’s book is required reading for anyone interested in the role of women in America, the course of justice, and the nature of our politics. This is a landmark achievement about an American original that’s also, blessedly, a delight to read.” —Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America

“This highly readable biography shows the underlying factors motivating O’Connor both on and off the Court. It will have considerable popular appeal to both political scientists and historians, as well as general readers interested in how America’s government interacts with the public in resolving political issues related to the law.” Library Journal (starred review) 

“By thoroughly mining O’Connor’s archives and interviewing the trail-blazing justice''s family, friends, and former clerks, the award-winning Thomas creates a fully realized portrait of this heroic, stalwart, and pioneering lawyer and Supreme Court justice, whose contributions to American jurisprudence are legendary and enduring.” Booklist

About the Author

Evan Thomas is the author of ten books, including the New York Times bestsellers  John Paul Jones, Sea of Thunder, and Being Nixon. Thomas was a writer, correspondent, and editor for thirty-three years at Time and Newsweek, including ten years as Washington bureau chief at Newsweek, where, at the time of his retirement in 2010, he was editor at large. He wrote more than one hundred cover stories and in 1999 won a National Magazine Award. He wrote Newsweek’s election specials in 1996, 2000, 2004 (winner for Newsweek of the National Magazine Award), and 2008. He appears on many TV and radio talk shows, including Meet the Press and Morning Joe. Thomas has taught writing and journalism at Harvard and Princeton, where, from 2007 to 2014, he was Ferris Professor of Journalism.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Lazy B

“You need to expect anything out here.”

It takes a cowhand on horseback a full day to ride from one end of the Lazy B ranch to the other, across rock-strewn hills and through cactus-filled draws, over land primeval in its stony wildness. The ranch, which occupies about 250 square miles along the Arizona–New Mexico border, has its own mountain, a perfect cone visible from the chaise longue in her parents’ bedroom, where Sandra Day liked to curl up to read. As a girl, Sandra would climb Round Mountain with her father, careful to avoid the rattlesnakes. The future justice could stand at the peak and see and feel the vastness and ancientness, as well as the forbidding desolation and living wonder, of her family’s domain. “We thought of it as our own country,” Sandra Day O’Connor recalled of the ranch that had been in the Day family for more than a century.

Far-distant mountain ranges ring a swelling and undulating mesa. If the rains come in the winter, the land blooms with yellow and purple wildflowers in the spring. In the summer, a searing sun scorches the precious grass in the pastures. Volcanic hills are littered with boulders, “angry black and dark red,” as O’Connor vividly described in her memoir of the Lazy B—molten lava suddenly cooled as it burst forth from earth’s core. In the flatlands to the east, yucca plants stand as “sentinels” that are “weirdly beautiful.” Their stalks, when dry, “make good cattle prods, or fine lances for children’s war games.” No river runs through the Lazy B, but the Gila River, a tepid stream most of the year, a torrent in storms, skirts the northern edge. Canyons with chalky cliffs and cottonwood trees shelter fine picnic grounds. As a girl, Sandra would climb into the dark caves of prehistoric Indians or, hair flying, gallop her horse across the open range. On clear nights, she would stand with her family “in silent awe,” looking at the glittering constellations, past the sweep of the diaphanous Milky Way, into the universe beyond. Returning home from an all-day roundup in the pitch black of a moonless, cloudy night, she was guided by the tiny sparks, struck by horseshoe on rock, thrown off by the rider ahead.

Sandra Day was born on March 26, 1930, in the city of El Paso, Texas, the only city close enough—four hours by train—to have a proper hospital. The Arizona ranch house to which she was brought a couple of weeks later, after the two-hundred-mile trip, was a square, four-room adobe structure. Known as Headquarters, it stood eight miles from the main road. Visitors were announced by the cloud of dust they raised. The house had no running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity. Coal gas lamps lit the rooms; the bathroom was a wooden privy 75 yards downwind from the house. Harry and Ada Mae Day and their baby daughter, Sandra, slept in the house; the ranch’s four or five cowboys slept on the screened porch. Flies were everywhere. On still summer nights, when it was too hot to sleep, Sandra’s parents soaked her bedsheets in cool water. “It was no country for sissies,” O’Connor recalled. “We saw a lot of life and death there.”

Until she was nine years old, Sandra grew up as an only child. She had no neighboring playmates but also no shortage of fascinating and fearsome living creatures—animals, insects, and birds, including antelopes, javelinas, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, Gila monsters, desert tortoises, scorpions, and all manner of spiders. Most of them had teeth, horns, or poison, but Sandra tried to make some of them into pets. Until she was about four years old, Sandra liked to play with a bobcat named Bob, who would arch his back and growl around fresh meat but was otherwise reasonably domesticated, until he disappeared one night after raiding the chicken coop.

Over the years, Sandra collected various critters, including a sparrow hawk named Sylvester, who perched watchfully in the eaves and would splatter hawk droppings in her hair, and a desert tortoise that learned to wait by the icebox for food. “We tried keeping a baby coyote as a pet but learned that what the cowboys said was true: you cannot make a pet of a coyote,” Sandra recalled.

Aside from the cattle, the animals that mattered most were the horses. The cowboys gave them colorful names: Hysterectomy (“a great horse. She would carry a cowboy all day,” Sandra remembered), Scarhead, Swastika, Idiot, Hemorrhoid (“After riding him all day, you felt tired and bruised”), and Hell Bitch, who turned out to be a gentle horse, once broken. Sandra’s favorite was Chico. Unlike most horses, Chico would not run away after his rider was thrown or fell off, but rather wait patiently for Sandra to climb back on. In Lazy B, Sandra described what it was like to ride Chico as a young girl:

We moved together. I felt the horse’s every move. I was aware of his breath, his sweat. When he stopped to pee, the strong smell of urine enveloped us, and drops of liquid splattered my boots. When he expelled gas, I heard and felt it. I often talked to my horse while riding.

Often, during the heat of the day, Sandra would lie on the chaise in her parents’ bedroom, a book in her hands. Reading was the Day family pastime. Hungry for news of the world beyond his domain, Harry Day pored over week-old copies of the Los Angeles Times, Time, U.S. News & World Report, Fortune. His wife, Ada Mae, read Vogue, The New Yorker, House Beautiful, The Saturday Evening Post. Copies of National Geographic were stacked in piles in the corner or stuffed under the beds. As a girl, Sandra read The Book of Knowledge, Black Beauty, Mary Poppins. Her favorite books were the Nancy Drew series, about a girl detective who wore skirts, was confident and curious, and adored her powerful lawyer father.

One day, while she was reading a Nancy Drew mystery, her father interrupted her, saying, “Sandra, you’d better get your nose out of that book and come with me. I want to show you something.”

Sandra grumbled, but she dutifully put aside the book and climbed into her father’s Chevy pickup. They drove down a dirt road, to a place where vultures were circling. A small calf lay in the road, bleeding and groaning. Its rear end had been mostly chewed off by a coyote. “Let’s help it,” said Sandra, who was about ten years old at the time. “We can’t help this calf,” replied her father. He took the rifle off the gun rack behind the pickup’s front seat. “Oh, don’t shoot it,” protested Sandra. Her father aimed between the calf’s eyes and fired. The calf’s head jerked and he was still.

“DA, how could you?” Sandra asked. She called her father DA, pronounced Dee-Ay, like the letters. “It was the only kind thing we could do,” her father replied. “The calf was too far gone to live. Now we have to send Rastus out to find the mother cow.”

Rastus, whose real name was Rafael Estrada, was one of the Lazy B’s cowboys. An illegal immigrant from Mexico, he had arrived on the ranch as a chore boy and never left. He was small and crippled, he could not read or write, and he had no wife. But he was good at what he did—handling horses and livestock—and he had high standards. If you met them, you had his respect.

The next day, Rastus rode out to the pasture, took out his pocketknife, and sliced off most of the hide of the young dead calf. The mother cow was nearby, bawling for her dead calf, her udder swelling with unused milk. Rastus drove the cow back to headquarters and into the corral.

There he found a young calf, a “dogie,” who had lost its own mother. Rastus tied the dead calf’s hide over the dogie’s back and put the dogie into a holding pen along with the cow with the bursting udder. The calf bawled and tried to suckle the cow. The cow kicked the calf away—but then sniffed at it, recognizing the familiar smell of her own calf. After about an hour, the cow was suckling the calf. He had found a new mother. Sandra, watching, had learned another lesson about death, renewal, and moving on.

“DA” was a patient teacher. He always spoke to Sandra as an adult. He took his daughter everywhere around the ranch. He taught her how to brand a calf and how to fire a rifle (before she was ten). He taught her how to drive a truck as soon as she could see over the dashboard. He taught her how to paint a screen door. He was exacting—he always made her redo slipshod work—but, with Sandra at least, he was gentle.

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Found Highways
4.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
"Maybe in Error But Never in Doubt"
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2018
While I was reading this book, I saw that author Evan Thomas mentioned Joan Biskupic''s biography of Sandra Day O''Connor (titled Sandra Day O''Connor) as a source (one of many sources) while writing the book. I found a copy of that bio, first published in late 2005, and read... See more
While I was reading this book, I saw that author Evan Thomas mentioned Joan Biskupic''s biography of Sandra Day O''Connor (titled Sandra Day O''Connor) as a source (one of many sources) while writing the book. I found a copy of that bio, first published in late 2005, and read both books, comparing as I went along. Both writers make an effort to portray O''Connor as more than a Supreme Court Justice, going into her childhood and career before the Supreme Court. Both authors did interview O''Connor, although Biskupic''s interviews were conducted as part of her reporting on the Court, while Thomas interviewed O''Connor after her retirement specifically for the biography. Thomas''s biography included some sources that Biskupic didn''t have access to such as John O''Connor''s (Sandra Day O''Connor''s husband) unpublished memoir and his diaries. Thomas also discusses O''Connor''s life after her retirement, while Biskupic''s book ends just as O''Connor is retiring from the Supreme Court. Thomas interviewed many, nearly all, of O''Connor''s law clerks from her Supreme Court years, giving a little extra insight into her day to day activities at the Court.

Still, I came away thinking that if you had to choose between the two books, you might do better to read Biskupic''s than Thomas''s. For instance, Biskupic showed how O''Connor had been political well before her rise through the court system -- she had even lobbied Nixon to nominate a woman to the Supreme Court (she endorsed a colleague, but it''s easy to believe she thought she herself might also be a good candidate) and had been active in Republican politics since serving on Barry Goldwater''s presidential campaign. Biskupic was also more descriptive about William Rehnquist''s views on race, leaving the reader with little doubt that he had racist views, while Evan Thomas glosses over the subject with a footnote mentioning rumors of racist behavior. This was relevant to a book about O''Connor because Rehnquist and O''Connor were very close (even romantically close at one point in their college years) and decided almost identically during O''Connor''s first years on the Supreme Court, although as time went on, she broke with the conservative bloc more often. The Bush v Gore decision comes across as a shockingly poor judicial decision in both books.

Both books are full of interesting inside the court information as well as fascinating analysis of court cases and how they were decided.
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Jean
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspiring
Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2019
I have read Joan Biskupic’s biography of Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-) and have read O’Connor’s memoirs and other books. Thomas’s book was written after she retired from the Court so contains more information about her later life. Thomas also had access to John O’Connor’s... See more
I have read Joan Biskupic’s biography of Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-) and have read O’Connor’s memoirs and other books. Thomas’s book was written after she retired from the Court so contains more information about her later life. Thomas also had access to John O’Connor’s papers, diary and unpublished memoir.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Thomas interviewed almost all of O’Connor’s law clerks and staff as well as friends and colleagues. I found the information about how each of the male Justices had to adapt (or not) to a female Justice interesting. I found the lunch meeting between O’Connor and Ginsburg most interesting. This meeting took place just after O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court and long before Ginsburg was appointed to the Court. Thomas provided a number of insights as well as material not covered in prior books. This book is well worth the read. I noted how far women attorneys have come since the day O’Connor graduated from Stanford Law School and found out that firms would not hire women.

I read this as an e-book on my Kindle app for my iPad. There were lots of photographs. I wished I had the photograph with all the women Justices together. The book was 455 pages and published by Random House.
28 people found this helpful
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N. B. Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Captivating portrait of the first female Supreme Court justice
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2018
Given all the recent adulation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I was wondering if everyone was just going to skip over the "First." Sandra Day O''Connor preceded RBG by 12 years, and was the trailblazer who opened the way for women to break up the all-boys club of the... See more
Given all the recent adulation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I was wondering if everyone was just going to skip over the "First." Sandra Day O''Connor preceded RBG by 12 years, and was the trailblazer who opened the way for women to break up the all-boys club of the Supreme Court.

Evan Thomas''s biography is addictively readable! I started reading at about 9:30 at night and kept telling myself, "Just one more page!" Well, 405 pages later, I was closing the book, fully read. I didn''t look at the clock! Mr. Thomas has interviewed not only Justice O''Connor, but seemingly everyone in her life, from childhood through her senior years. What emerges is a fully rounded portrait of a child, a student, a career woman, a wife, mother, employer, friend and neighbor, as well as a groundbreaker on the Supreme Court. Justice O''Connor is a multi-faceted person who exuded the dignity and fastidiousness of the bench, but also reveled in her personal life, charming everyone with her undivided attention, her wit... and her dancing skills! This fascinating woman, raised on a hardscrabble ranch in Arizona, seemingly felt at home anywhere she and her beloved husband, John, lived, even in the political rat''s nest of Washington, D.C.

In this book, not only do you get a full picture of Justice O''Connor, but the author weaves into her story everything you need to know about how the Supreme Court works, what goes on in the so-called "Marble Palace," and the issues Justice O''Connor faced in her tenure -- abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, states rights. We get an education about law clerks and what they do. The law clerks who worked for Justice O''Connor are candid about her, suggesting both the good and the bad of working for a person as intense as Sandra Day O''Connor. You want to get on her good side? Show up for her 8 a.m. aerobics class!

Having access to John O''Connor''s unpublished diary, and interviews with Justice O''Connor herself, allows the author a keen insight into John and Sandra O''Connor''s marriage and into the mighty struggle with Alzheimer''s that eventually claimed John''s life and descended on hers. It is truly heartbreaking to walk that sad journey with them. Even the brightest stars are no match for this horrible disease.

Mr. Thomas sums up Justice O''Connor, with all her contradictions, this way: "She could be charming or brusque. She could be disarmingly straightforward; she could also be roundabout and sly," he writes. "It is difficult to reconcile the ''bossy'' O''Connor, who would tell passengers exactly where to sit in a car, with the modest O''Connor, who practiced judicial ''minimalism,'' preferring to stick to the facts and let the law slowly evolve rather than making broad pronouncements." In Mr. Thomas''s book, all of these sides to Sandra Day O''Connor are fully explored. You''ll want to stay up late reading, too!
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Ronald H. Clark
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sandra Day O''Connor: Up Close and Personal
Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2019
I have read many biographies of Supreme Court Justices, but never one so filled with intimate details. This study was obviously written with the full encouragement and assistance of O''Connor''s family. The notes are full of references to family diaries, memoirs, letters;... See more
I have read many biographies of Supreme Court Justices, but never one so filled with intimate details. This study was obviously written with the full encouragement and assistance of O''Connor''s family. The notes are full of references to family diaries, memoirs, letters; abundant family photos appear throughout; and many friends and associates willingly were interviewed. Former clerks usually sworn to secrecy are open and detailed in their interviews with the author. Normally, this would raise questions in my mind as to how impartial the bio was; but I can say that in all its 400 plus pages of text I found only one instance (the chapter on Bush v. Gore) where I felt the author was unduly defensive of his subject. So this is the most complete and candid bio we are likely ever to have on the Justice.

There are many additional positive aspects to the book. The reader sees through O''Connor''s eyes her colleagues on the Court, with particularly candid views of Alito and Scalia. We get a good close view of how justices interact and form coalitions when voting; how one secures a big court nomination is also examined; the key and vital role of clerks is inspected with such care as to stand out; and how O''Connor was adept at "cobbling together" five votes discloses why and how she became such as influential justice, often favorable compared with Justice Brennan.

I was surprised that the author placed only limited reliance on the massive published material about the Justice. The core of the author''s research resides in the more than 350 interviews he conducted. This is what gives the reader such important insights into O''Connor. In fact, especially the clerk interviews allow us to see not just what O''Connor did but why and how she did it. This is not a book that buries the reader in zillions of cases. Rather the author looks at a number of areas (especially affirmative action and abortion) where some important cases were decided, in just enough detail to educate the reader.

The most important aspect I took away from the book was O''Connor''s philosophical outlook. She advocated "just do it" long before Nike. Her primary motive was pragmatic--cure a problem or resolve a legal issue with a solution that works. Family comes first was a primary directive, as demonstrated when she resigned to take care of her ill husband. She relied on practical balancing tests (such as her "undue burden" standard in abortion cases) rather than black and white rigid criteria. Judicial minimalism was also her goal. So it is no exaggeration to say that if you really want to understand the Justice, as well as be informed about her many accomplishments, this is the book to read.
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Joseph Sciuto
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Great Portrait of a Justice
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2019
Evan Thomas'' "First: Sandra Day O''Connor" is an intimate, unbiased, resourceful, and beautifully written portrait of the first woman Supreme Court Justice. Appointed to the court by President Reagan in 1981 one could easily make the case that she was the most important... See more
Evan Thomas'' "First: Sandra Day O''Connor" is an intimate, unbiased, resourceful, and beautifully written portrait of the first woman Supreme Court Justice. Appointed to the court by President Reagan in 1981 one could easily make the case that she was the most important justice over the next twenty-five years. As Mr. Evan points out, it was her minimalist approach to the law and court opinions and her ability to relate present day society to the law that allowed the court from going too far to the left or the right... Protecting the rights of women and minorities, families and children from the radical ideas some of her fellow justices were trying to hammer into law or, in many cases totally remove the progress the country had made on issues of race and human rights.

I highly recommend this book. It is not only a look at the life of an amazing lady, but it also gives the reader an inside look into the Supreme Court that is easy to understand and process.
7 people found this helpful
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Deborah Hammons
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Significant Book for Our Times
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2019
Evan Thomas captures Sandra Day O''Connor with all the complexities of the eras in which she lived. He shows the reader how Justice O''Connor reached the highest office of any woman in U.S. history, and why she successfully influenced a generation of Supreme Court decisions.... See more
Evan Thomas captures Sandra Day O''Connor with all the complexities of the eras in which she lived. He shows the reader how Justice O''Connor reached the highest office of any woman in U.S. history, and why she successfully influenced a generation of Supreme Court decisions. Shaped by her parents and southwest ranch life, she moved with surprising grace through daunting challenges throughout her life.

I loved this book! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about politics, the art of persuasion, how Supreme Court justices arrive at decisions, and how an incredible woman broke through the glass ceiling and sustained success at the highest level. It is inspiring and life affirming.
9 people found this helpful
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A. Schaffer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A LOOK AT JUSTICE O''CONNOR MORE THAN HER CASES
Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2020
I read this biography side by side with Ms Biskupic''s "Sandra Day O'' Connor, published in 2005, which covers SOC''s until her retirement from the SCOTUS. Together I got a more complete picture of SOC (how her husband John referred to the Justice in his notes). Mr.... See more
I read this biography side by side with Ms Biskupic''s "Sandra Day O'' Connor, published in 2005, which covers SOC''s until her retirement from the SCOTUS.
Together I got a more complete picture of SOC (how her husband John referred to the Justice in his notes). Mr. Thomas didn''t cover the cases so much, maybe a paragraph or two, as he talked about the personalities while Ms. Biskupic delve more into the cases and jurisprudence and SOC theory behind them. That said, Mr. Thomas had the advantage of time and I found some of his insights enlightening of the different philosophies of the Court.
While almost the first half of the book is pre-SCOTUS and both bios cover Texas and the Lazy B Ranch, SOC''s time on the Arizona legislature was glanced over while her appointment to a minor Federal court in Arizona was pretty much skipped because SOC had not major rulings there.
SOC''s appointment to SCOTUS was political (aren''t they all), but SOC came out of a Court that did not deal much on Constitution issues. She was rather a mix of politician and practicing lawyer which made her unique on the Court and would propel her to become a central figure. Explaining this progression Mr. Thomas shines.
The cases reviewed by Mr. Thomas are superficial but his insight to the personalities bring the atmosphere of the Court to life. However, do not expect to get insight into how the Justice felt. Both biographies depended on secondhand sources although Mr. Thomas was given more access to personal writings, but don''t expect to really get to know the person herself, that was not her way.
Separately these biographies are a good read. Together they give a more complete picture of SOC,
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Rich M
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Thoroughly Enjoyable and Rewarding Read
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2019
Unlike the tomes of many other contemporary historians, Thomas’s books don’t read like the stitching together of facts generated by teams of researchers, books which, in the end, need a good edit. Thomas does the research and creates a narrative that’s engaging, interesting... See more
Unlike the tomes of many other contemporary historians, Thomas’s books don’t read like the stitching together of facts generated by teams of researchers, books which, in the end, need a good edit. Thomas does the research and creates a narrative that’s engaging, interesting and readable. “First” is another example.

Sandra Day O’connor is a unique personality, difficult to pigeon-hole and in many ways, unpredictable in her thinking and behavior. She was also a pioneer who recognized her importance to society as both a jurist and a role model. At the same time she was a person with foibles, who could be engaging but also blunt and intimidating. Thomas weaves these threads together masterfully, and by the end of the book, I felt I had a much better understanding of a woman who was so important to our history.

“First” is indeed a wonderfully enjoyable read.
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Jim Bowen
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An ok read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2019
I sometimes think that the first draft of history isn’t the best place to start reading about something. To my mind this book proves it. Not because Sandra Day O’Connor is boring, far from it. It’s more that the first draft of anything is rarely the best draft, and this is...See more
I sometimes think that the first draft of history isn’t the best place to start reading about something. To my mind this book proves it. Not because Sandra Day O’Connor is boring, far from it. It’s more that the first draft of anything is rarely the best draft, and this is one of the first biographies of the first female justices of the Supreme Court. This isn’t to say the book isn’t about a strong, independent, self-reliant, Republican, woman. It is. It’s just it reads more chattily than I’d like. I read a lot of biographies, and my biggest grumble is often “I don’t bring my subject to life, but feel the scholarship.” This book goes to the other extreme. It’s more conversational than profoundly researched, drawing more on interviews, rather than book learning. This can be a good think, if you don’t take it too far. Sadly I think it does go too far here. It’s a good read, it’s just it feels too light and conversational for such an important woman.
I sometimes think that the first draft of history isn’t the best place to start reading about something. To my mind this book proves it. Not because Sandra Day O’Connor is boring, far from it. It’s more that the first draft of anything is rarely the best draft, and this is one of the first biographies of the first female justices of the Supreme Court.

This isn’t to say the book isn’t about a strong, independent, self-reliant, Republican, woman. It is. It’s just it reads more chattily than I’d like. I read a lot of biographies, and my biggest grumble is often “I don’t bring my subject to life, but feel the scholarship.”

This book goes to the other extreme. It’s more conversational than profoundly researched, drawing more on interviews, rather than book learning. This can be a good think, if you don’t take it too far. Sadly I think it does go too far here. It’s a good read, it’s just it feels too light and conversational for such an important woman.
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Angela
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
For any one interested in women and law
Reviewed in Spain on January 5, 2020
have to say that this book has surprised me. SOC was the first woman to become a Suprime Court Justice and she broke the glass ceiling in this area and many others. I guess that some may critize her for being "pragmatic" in ther SCOTUS'' ruling but there are two ways of...See more
have to say that this book has surprised me. SOC was the first woman to become a Suprime Court Justice and she broke the glass ceiling in this area and many others. I guess that some may critize her for being "pragmatic" in ther SCOTUS'' ruling but there are two ways of advancing any cause: by slow and incremental change or via activism. She chose the first way and was consistent in such approach both in her personal and professional life. The book is very well documented and it makes for an interesting read.
have to say that this book has surprised me. SOC was the first woman to become a Suprime Court Justice and she broke the glass ceiling in this area and many others. I guess that some may critize her for being "pragmatic" in ther SCOTUS'' ruling but there are two ways of advancing any cause: by slow and incremental change or via activism. She chose the first way and was consistent in such approach both in her personal and professional life. The book is very well documented and it makes for an interesting read.
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Cesar
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excelente serviço.
Reviewed in Brazil on August 5, 2019
Nota dez.
Nota dez.
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