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Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
     

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

by G. Edward White
 

Known as the "Great Dissenter," Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote some of the most eloquent opinions in the history of the United States Supreme Court. A brilliant legal mind who served on the high court into his nineties, Holmes was responsible for some of the most important judicial opinions of the twentieth century.
Now, in this superb short

Overview

Known as the "Great Dissenter," Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote some of the most eloquent opinions in the history of the United States Supreme Court. A brilliant legal mind who served on the high court into his nineties, Holmes was responsible for some of the most important judicial opinions of the twentieth century.
Now, in this superb short biography, G. Edward White offers readers a lively, informative portrait of this singular individual. The book first sketches Holmes's early years—his childhood in Boston, his undergraduate years at Harvard (which his father and both grandfathers also attended), and his valiant service in the Civil War, during which he was severely wounded three times. After the war, Holmes went into private law practice, wrote his landmark treatise The Common Law in 1881, had a short tenure on the Harvard Law School faculty, and spent 20 years as a judge on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts before being named to the U.S. Supreme Court. The author focuses on his remarkable 30-year service as a Supreme Court Justice, beginning in 1902, and details Holmes's most significant cases—Abrams v. United States, Northern Securities Co. v. United States, Lochner v. New York, Schenck v. United States, and others—which limited working hours, set a mandatory minimum wage, protected women's rights, legalized labor unions, and defined freedom of speech. These decisions—as well as The Common Law—are highly regarded to this day.
A new volume in the Lives and Legacy series, this marvelous short biography offers an ideal introduction to a towering figure in American law.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although he spent most of his life as a judge, White notes, Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935) was regarded "by many citizens as a romantic figure, a kind of hero." In this new entry in the Lives and Legacies series, University of Virginia law professor White (Alger Hiss's Looking Glass Wars) explains the law but fails to convey the heroism. After service in the Civil War, Holmes apprenticed himself to a Boston law firm, and was admitted to the bar in 1867. Holmes hoped that as a judge he would be able to wield influence in politics and society-and in that he succeeded. White summarizes many of Holmes's important contributions, such as his post-WWI majority opinion in Schenck v. United States, in which he wrote that the government can restrain speech that presents "a clear and present danger." White's explanations of the judiciary have the overly simplistic feel of a civics textbook, as in lengthy descriptions of the differences between federal district judgeships and state trial judges and statements like "Judges are responsible for deciding what the laws mean in particular legal dispute." This basic account of a great life might best be directed at YA readers. 10 b&w illus. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"G. Edward White has crafted both an exceptional biography of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and an incomparable example of American judicial biography. Holmes leaps from every page—philosophical skeptic, poet, lover of literature, adventurer, and seminal figure of law and the Supreme Court. While Holmes was the oldest justice to ever serve, White convincingly reminds us that he has never become obsolete." —Kermit L. Hall, editor of The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, Second Edition

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199726905
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2006
Series:
Lives and Legacies Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
671 KB

Meet the Author

G. Edward White is David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. His books include Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self, Alger Hiss's Looking Glass Wars, and several other works of biography and law.

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