First: Sandra Day O’Connor
by Evan Thomas
Release Date: Mar 19, 2019
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Hot off the press: Evan Thomas’s quasi-authorized biography of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Nominated in 1981 by President Reagan, O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She retired in 2006 to care for her ailing husband.
Thomas was granted access to O’Connor’s personal papers as well as her husband’s diaries for the two decades preceding his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Thomas also interviewed O’Connor, many of her friends, and, with her encouragement and support, seven court justices and 94 of her 108 former law clerks.
“First: Sandra Day O’Connor” promises to be a fascinating and insightful review of a fabulously interesting and compelling public figure. If you have a chance to read this biography before I can get to it please let me know what you think!
Third-party reviews and links:
- Jeffrey Toobin’s review in The New York Times (3/18/2019)
- Nina Totenberg’s review via NPR (3/15/2019)
- Ronald Hansen’s review via azcentral (USA Today) (3/19/2019)
From the publisher:
“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—by the New York Times bestselling author Evan Thomas.
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.“