The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution By Barry Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 614 pp., $35) In 1952, as the Supreme Court contemplated the set of cases that would eventually become known as Brown v. Board of Education, a law clerk named William H.
Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War By Robert L. Beisner (Oxford University Press, 768 pp., $35) I. "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The speaker could have been Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. In fact, it was George W. Bush, in his second inaugural address; and what he said is what historians will probably remember as the Bush Doctrine.
Even if you’ve never heard of such a thing as a special assistant, you probably have seen one or two of them. When a cabinet secretary or some other great man of government is shown on the evening news testifying before a congressional committee, you usually can see an earnest-looking and well-turned-out young man or woman positioned behind and slightly to the right of him, who whispers in his ear or passes a note every now and then. That’s his special assistant.
From The Editors: This week, our historical piece is “Press Against Politics,” Henry Fairlie’s 1976 call to arms for more passion and more conviction from the listless class of political journalists covering the Carter-Ford election. (He was clearly upset: “The fact is that James Reston writes now like a sports columnist on the slope of Olympus.