First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas

From Goodreads: “She was born in 1930 in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. At a time when women were expected to be homemakers, she set her sights on Stanford University. When she graduated near the top of her class at law school in 1952, no firm would even interview her…”

Sandra Day O’Connor was selected to the Supreme Court when I was eight years old, so I remember it in the news, but not much else. I was so wrapped up in school, then a career, then parenthood that I didn’t even know when she retired. Therefore, almost everything I read was new to me.

First: Sandra Day O’Connor (only $5.49 on Kindle right now) is a very thorough biography of a very important woman to the history of the United States. Evan Thomas does a good job with the narrative, although at a certain point I found myself getting annoyed (or maybe jealous) at how good Sandra Day O-Connor was at everything she tried.


Too often biographies only concentrate on the work life, but I’m always curious about the home life as well. One of the most impressive things I found in reading the book is how well her three sons turned out. Often you read stories of very successful people and find that their home life suffered. But that’s not the case here. She had a very supportive and equally successful husband, and by all accounts their kids turned out great.

I disagree with the reviewers who say the book got bogged down with court cases. I thought they fit the narrative Thomas was writing. They showed how Day O’Connor slowly moved to the left on issues, and how many times she was the swing vote during her tenure.

If you like this book, you might also like Evan Thomas’ work on Robert F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy: His Life

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