A few weeks back when Clarence Thomas's My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir first came out, there was a flurry of commentary on him and the book. From conservatives there was praise. From the liberals there was a vaguely concealed sense of shock. To them, he seemed sooo angry. Wait a minute. I thought they admired anger. Think of their approbation of the Angry Left. Now the hubbub has quieted down. In fact the book is hardly mentioned. This is typical of the circumstances today surrounding the publication of books. When a book that somehow matters comes out, there is a transient period of excitement, a mixture of hallelujahs or spitballs -- then complete silence.
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If it is very good, a book should provoke thought and comment for a long while after its publication. In the case of Thomas's memoir, I shall be thinking about it and referring to it for a long time. It is one of the best books I have read in years.
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All that the liberals reviewing this book have been able to talk about is its anger. Frankly, I saw very little anger. One of the amazing things about Thomas is his disposition. He is positive, resolute, profoundly decent, and cheerful. That the liberals miss this comes as no surprise. They are increasingly narrow. Thomas admits his failures and forgives his enemies. This is because Thomas is a profoundly religious man, who throughout his life has turned to prayer. My Grandfather's Son is a book about many things, among them spirituality, conservative ideas, modern politics, and race. In fact, Thomas's account of race in modern America is the most reliable I have ever read. Thomas has suffered prejudice from Southern bigots, from other blacks, and to this day from liberals of both races. He writes about it with no ax to grind but with a positive message to impart: one can suffer enormous injustice and not let the (expletive deleted) get you down. This is not a book about anger. It is a book about the satisfied triumph of a good man.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Emmett Tyrell on Justice Thomas
Emmett Tyrell has an excellent review of Justice Clarence Thomas's new autobiography, and makes a good point about the dramatic dropoff in media coverage: