John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Saved the Nation
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: September 2014
Duration: 11 hours 11 minutes
A soul-stirring biography of John Marshall, the young Republic’s great chief justice who led the Supreme Court to power and brought law and order to the nation
In the political turmoil that convulsed America after George Washington’s death, the surviving Founding Fathers went mad—literally pummeling each other in Congress and challenging one another to deadly duels in their quest for power. Out of the political intrigue, one man emerged to restore calm and dignity to the government: John Marshall. The longest-serving chief justice in American history, Marshall transformed the Supreme Court from an irrelevant appeals court into the powerful and controversial branch of government that Americans today either revere or despise.
Drawing on rare documents, Harlow Giles Unger shows how, with nine key decisions, Marshall rewrote the Constitution, reshaped government, and prevented Thomas Jefferson from turning tyrant. John Adams called his appointment of Marshall to chief justice his greatest gift to the nation and “the pride of my life.”
“Unger chooses to present all aspects of Marshall’s life, including his military heroism and his extraordinary devotion to a chronically ill wife and their children…Well-researched, and the author is skilled at portraying the characters and viewpoints of Marshall’s political friends and foes. Thomas Jefferson comes across as a stubborn, politically motivated, and sometimes hypocritical man, and Unger employs the Marshall-Jefferson enmity effectively, adding tension to the narrative. A vigorous account of an influential American life.”—Kirkus Reviews