Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Overview

Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is most famous for his role as the first Commissioner ever to rule organized baseball. But before he came into his legendary position as baseball's final say, Landis already had built a reputation from his Chicago courtroom as the most popular and most controversial federal judge in World War I-era America. Judge and Jury is the first complete biography of the Squire, from the origins of his unusual name through his career as a federal judge and his...
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Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis

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Overview

Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is most famous for his role as the first Commissioner ever to rule organized baseball. But before he came into his legendary position as baseball's final say, Landis already had built a reputation from his Chicago courtroom as the most popular and most controversial federal judge in World War I-era America. Judge and Jury is the first complete biography of the Squire, from the origins of his unusual name through his career as a federal judge and his clean-up after the infamous Black Sox scandal.

A look at the jurist who became baseball's first commissioner.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This exhaustive study of baseball's first commissioner by the author of Minor Miracles includes details about its subject's life before baseball. Named for the Civil War battle in which his father was wounded and nicknamed "Squire," Landis grew up in a large family, two of whose members later served in the House of Representatives, while others became prominent journalists. This scion of a rock-ribbed Midwestern Republican family served in Washington, D.C., in the administration of Democrat Grover Cleveland. But back in his adopted city of Chicago in 1905, Landis was appointed a federal district court judge by Teddy Roosevelt. Deeply involved in the progressive, trust-busting wing of the GOP, he came to national attention when he took on Standard Oil and its powerful head, John D. Rockefeller Sr. Though the multimillionaire tried to avoid a subpoena, Landis made him testify and assessed Standard Oil a $29-million finethe largest in U.S. history (though it was later reduced). During WWI he was an unabashed jingoist, convinced that all socialists and labor leaders who opposed the war were traitors; unfortunately for them, many were tried in Landis's court and drew inordinately long sentences. The so-called Black Sox scandal in the World Series of 1919, fixed by gamblers, led the owners to hire Landis as an almost omnipotent commissioner, a job he held until his death 24 years later. He did indeed restore the reputation for honesty of the national pastime, though he opposed night games and the farm system in vain. In this fascinating, diligently researched work, Pietrusza tackles a complex, important man and makes him his own. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Long-renowned as baseball's first real commissioner, Landis had earlier been the strong-minded judge who fined John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. $29 million. Pietrusza, past president of the Society for American Baseball Research, portrays a harsh if occasionally lenient baseball czar who banned the 1919 Black Sox, among others, for gambling but spared some players. Unlike Jerome Holtzman, who recently labeled Landis "a bigoted curmudgeon" in his The Commissioners (Total Sports, 1998), Pietrusza says that owners, not Landis, blocked the game's integration. This warm but fair biography belongs on most sports shelves.--Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Medical Lib., Tucson, AZ
Morey Berger
"belongs on most sports bookshelves."
Dan Albaugh
Pietrusza has written an excellent in-depth look at the man attributed with cleaning up a tainted game. The voluminous Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is well worth the reading effort.
Rob Teitelbaum
". . . an entertaining book that will interest any baseball fan or person who loves to follow law."
Rob Edelman
"superior . . . a literate, impeccably researched biography"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888698091
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Pages: 581
  • Sales rank: 1,419,078
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Called one "of the best historians in the United States," "one of the great political historians of all time," and "the undisputed champion of chronicling American Presidential campaigns." David Pietrusza has produced a number of critically-acclaimed works concerning 20th century American history. Critics have compared his work to that of H. L. Mencken, Theodore H. White, Edmund Morris, and Doris Kearnes Goodwin.

His "1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America," a study of the dramatic 1948 presidential campaign, is a selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the Literary Guild.

ForeWord Magazine designated his book "1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies" as among the best political biographies. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro has termed "1960" "terrific."

Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns.

Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled "Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series" was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award. Rothstein's audio version won an AUDIOFILE Earphones Award.

Pietrusza's "Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis," received the 1998 CASEY Award and was also a Finalist for the 1998 Seymour Medal and nominated for the NASSH Book Award.

Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called "Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures."

His books have been utilized as texts by such colleges as George Washington University, the City University of New York, the University at Buffalo, Baylor University, Bellevue College, the University of Illinois, the University of San Francisco, and Portland State College. "1920" has been part of the syllabus for the course "Congress, The Presidency & 21st Century Media" offered by C-SPAN, The Cable Center and the University of Denver. His talk on "Silent Cal's Almanack" is included in the curriculum for the C-SPAN Classroom initiative.

Pietrusza served as president (1993-97) of the Society for American Baseball Research
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 1999

    Judge and Jury a Winner!

    Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis won the 1998 CASEY Award as best baseball book of the year. It desserved it--but it is more than just a baseball book. It is a well-rounded biography of a complex, fascinating, and still contoversial individual.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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