Clarence Thomas: A Book Review

This is an excerpt from a post at Captain's Quarters:

Yesterday, Justice and Mrs. Clarence Thomas presented us with signed copies of his new memoir, My Grandfather's Son. I looked forward to reading it, and took the opportunity to read the book in its entirety today on two flights and a weather-delayed layover in Charlotte. Thanks to bad weather on the last leg of my flight, the turbulence of the flight hit just as I began reading about the turbulence of Clarence Thomas' confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The book provides a fascinating and at times touching portrait of a man who had to fight against anger most of his life, and most of that within himself. He talks frequently about having to have his anger on a leash that occasionally slipped. His drinking found its source in his anger and insecurities, the frustration of segregation and racial hatred and the effect it had on his family, and anger at the man who raised him as his son. Thomas discovers later in life how destructive all of this anger can be, especially to those who are closest to him, and he mostly works his way from anger to acceptance -- at least until those confirmation hearings.

Most people will focus on Thomas' recap of the confirmation process, and it does take up the last eighty pages of a 289-page book, so it's not an unfair focus. It's certainly proving to be the most noteworthy. Given that it will change few minds, however, I think his recounting of his life journey prior to his appointment to the bench is much more fascinating and introspective. His transformation from poor boy to seminarian, to radical to Danforth staffer, and from Monsanto executive to EEOC chair shows the courageous and often lonely path taken by Clarence Thomas throughout his life.

Read the complete review