Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens

Book Review : Five Chiefs

By John Paul Stevens

  • Publication Date: 2011-10-03
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4 Score: 4 (From 53 Ratings)

Book Review

When he resigned last June, Justice Stevens was the third longest serving Justice in American history (1975-2010)--only Justice William O. Douglas, whom Stevens succeeded, and Stephen Field have served on the Court for a longer time.

In Five Chiefs, Justice Stevens captures the inner workings of the Supreme Court via his personal experiences with the five Chief Justices--Fred Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, and John Roberts--that he interacted with. He reminisces of being a law clerk during Vinson's tenure; a practicing lawyer for Warren; a circuit judge and junior justice for Burger; a contemporary colleague of Rehnquist; and a colleague of current Chief Justice John Roberts. Along the way, he will discuss his views of some the most significant cases that have been decided by the Court from Vinson, who became Chief Justice in 1946 when Truman was President, to Roberts, who became Chief Justice in 2005.

Packed with interesting anecdotes and stories about the Court, Five Chiefs is an unprecedented and historically significant look at the highest court in the United States.

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User Reviews

  • Five Stars, but with reservations.

    By MarilynMoore
    I read with great interest Justice Stevens' book on the 5 Chief Justices with whom he had contact and working relationships. It is filled with fascinating insights and information. The Supreme Court is an exceedingly powerful institution; one of the three co-equal branches of our federal government; and yet it is the least understood. My only reservation is in the organization of the text; I found it chaotic at times, but always fascinating. Justice Stevens served honorably and effectively for decades on "the highest Court in the land" and we should be thankful for his years of public service. I am appreciative of his efforts to share so many of his unique and personal insights and experiences.