Ever since I read the rumor that Justice Clarence Thomas was going to write a book, which was shortly after starting this blog, I have looked forward to reading it. I knew it would be interesting. Same goes for anything Condoleezza Rice will write. Now, Judge Thomas’ memoir has been released. From what I’ve heard, My Grandfather’s Son describes Thomas’ entire life with more candor than most readers would expect.
Did you see the “60 Minutes” special on Thomas? I didn’t (segments available here), but I hear the same question asked in two different discussions of the book, and you know what they say about non-verbal communication carrying most of the weight in a conversation? Saturday on NPR, a couple women were talking about how angry and bitter the book felt despite its beautiful language. The anchor or host asked the reviewer why Thomas would write this book now? Why can’t we just put all this behind us? Why irritate old wounds? The tone was clearly negative.
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh asked the same question of Thomas himself. Why did you write this book now? The tone was clearly positive, asking for a stated purpose of the book as opposed to a justification for something distasteful. If I remember correctly, the answer to both questions was about the same, though Thomas added a little which NPR may not have known. He wanted to describe his life and work at the Supreme Court–a high honor, in his view, not his destiny. Many had described his life already and with many lies or errors, so he wanted to give his perspective as an eye-witness.