The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox

The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox

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qMy name will survive as long as man survives, because I am writing the greatest diary that has ever been written. I intend to surpass Pepys as a diarist.q When John Frush Knox (1907-1997) wrote these words, he was in the middle of law school, and his attempt at surpassing Pepysa€”part scrapbook, part social commentary, and part recollectiona€”had already reached 750 pages. His efforts as a chronicler might have landed in a family attic had he not secured an eminent position after graduation as law clerk to Justice James C. McReynoldsa€”arguably one of the most disagreeable justices to sit on the Supreme Courta€”during the tumultuous year when President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to qpackq the Court with justices who would approve his New Deal agenda. Knox's memoir instead emerges as a record of one of the most fascinating periods in American history. The Forgotten Memoir of John Knoxa€”edited by Dennis J. Hutchinson and David J. Garrowa€”offers a candid, at times naAmve, insider's view of the showdown between Roosevelt and the Court that took place in 1937. At the same time, it marvelously portrays a Washington culture now long gone. Although the new Supreme Court building had been open for a year by the time Knox joined McReynolds' staff, most of the justices continued to work from their homes, each supported by a small staff. Knox, the epitome of the overzealous and officious young man, after landing what he believes to be a dream position, continually fears for his job under the notoriously rude (and nakedly racist) justice. But he soon develops close relationships with the justice's two black servants: Harry Parker, the messenger who does qeverything but breatheq for the justice, and Mary Diggs, the maid and cook. Together, they plot and sidestep around their employer's idiosyncrasies to keep the household running while history is made in the Court. A substantial foreword by Dennis Hutchinson and David Garrow sets the stage, and a gallery of period photos of Knox, McReynolds, and other figures of the time gives life to this engaging account, which like no other recaptures life in Washington, D.C., when it was still a genteel southern town.But our Linotype men here need to have an opinion typed out a€” and double spaced, too. Do you understand so far?aquot; I nodded my head that I did. aquot;Try to use a typewriter that has big type, and dona#39;t put too many words on a page. Be sure toanbsp;...

Title:The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox
Author:John Knox, Dennis J. Hutchinson, David J. Garrow
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2002-06-01


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