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My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir

2007 autobiography by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

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A well written, inspiring and brutally honest autobio by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

  • Feb 4, 2010
A couple of years ago  I received a copy of "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir" as a gift.  While I might have gotten around to reading this book eventually I had no immediate plans to do so.  I had not given the book much thought so I really had no idea what to expect.  What I discovered in "My Grandfather's Son" is that Clarence Thomas is actually a person of depth and intellect and principle.  Frankly, he is not at all like the individual who has been the object of much scorn and ridicule in the media for all these many years.  Yes, the story Clarence Thomas tells in his own words proves to be a real eye-opener.

Clarence Thomas grew up in the tiny town of Pinpoint, GA and as the title suggests he was raised by his grandparents.  Clarence's grandfather, whom he lovingly referred to as "Daddy" would prove to be a major influence in the young man's life.  "Daddy" was quite strict and taught the young Clarence Thomas to be self-reliant and to think for himself.  "Daddy" was a devout Catholic and made the necessary sacrifices to send Clarence to Catholic schools where the good nuns reinforced the lessons Clarence had learned at home.  As a teenager Clarence Thomas sensed a calling to the priesthood and actually entered the seminary for a couple of years.  Once he decided that the priesthood was not for him Thomas would enroll at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA. and went on to Yale Law School.  In "My Grandfather's Son" Clarence Thomas enumerates all of the twists and turns his life would take during his college years.  Why he even dabbled in the politics of the radical left!  While at Yale he would meet and marry his first wife Kathy and they would have a son Jamal.  Attempting to balance all of these responsibilities would prove to be quite challenging for Clarence and he discusses his struggles in some depth in the book.

"My Grandfather's Son" goes on to trace Clarence Thomas' career path from his days with Monsanto to his stints at the Department of Education and as Chairman of the EEOC to his unlikely nomination as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  So many twists and turns and so much struggle!  Y ou cannot help but be impressed by the painful honesty as Thomas discusses his foibles and failures, his joys and his regrets.  It is compelling reading for sure.  Finally, Clarence Thomas discusses in riveting detail his nomination to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush and the subsequent circus that was his confirmation hearing.  One wonders how he had the fortitude to endure it all.

What one will discover in "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir" is that Clarence Thomas is a brilliant individual and a man of deep faith.  Clarence Thomas is a principled person who at the end of the day really did not care whether or not he ever was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.  He has endured the slings and arrows of his critics for more nearly two decades now and his dedication to his core beliefs remains unchanged.  I came away from this book very impressed with the man.  He is an individual that I admire and someone I can relate to.  One wonders if any of his critics would have the gumption to reveal so much of themselves in a similar memoir or could withstand the scutiny of the kind of scurrilous investigation that was launched against him.  "My Grandfather's Son" is a well written book that held my interest from cover-to-cover.   Highly recommended!
A well written, inspiring and brutally honest autobiography of the Justice Clarence Thomas. A well written, inspiring and brutally honest autobiography of the Justice Clarence Thomas. A well written, inspiring and brutally honest autobiography of the Justice Clarence Thomas. A well written, inspiring and brutally honest autobiography of the Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


Provocative, inspiring, and unflinchingly honest, My Grandfather's Son is the story of one of America's most remarkable and controversial leaders, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, told in his own words.

Thomas was born in rural Georgia on June 23, 1948, into a life marked by poverty and hunger. His parents divorced when Thomas was still a baby, and his father moved north to Philadelphia, leaving his young mother to raise him and his brother and sister on the ten dollars a week she earned as a maid. At age seven, Thomas and his six-year-old brother were sent to live with his mother's father, Myers Anderson, and her stepmother in their Savannah home. It was a move that would forever change Thomas's life.

His grandfather, whom he called "Daddy," was a black man with a strict work ethic, trying to raise a family in the years of Jim Crow. Thomas witnessed his grandparents' steadfastness despite injustices, their hopefulness despite bigotry, and their deep love for their country. His own quiet ambition would propel him to Holy Cross and Yale Law School, and eventually—despite a bitter, highly contested public confirmation—to the highest court in the land. In this candid and deeply moving memoir, a quintessential American tale of hardship and grit, Clarence Thomas recounts his astonishing journey for the first time, and pays homage to the man who made it possible.

Intimately and eloquently, Thomas speaks out, revealing the pieces of his life he holds ...

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ISBN-10: 0060565551
ISBN-13: 978-0060565558
Author: Clarence Thomas
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Publisher: Harper
Date Published: October 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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