I just finished reading Clarence Thomas\’ autobiography, entitled \”My Grandfather\’s Son,\” and I couldn\’t recommend it more. For Clarence Thomas fans, there won\’t be any big revelations, other than the description of the abject squalor in which he grew up in Pinpoint, Georgia. And there isn\’t any discussion of complex legal principles or theories.
Instead, it\’s a very plain-spoken account of his life (and also happens to be a quick read as a result.) The book jumps to life when Thomas takes on his critics – it\’s like he just flips on a light switch and attacks his doubters with a veracity one wouldn\’t expect out of a Supreme Court justice. He continually uses a snake analogy when discussing his white, liberal critics – and he kicks it in to yet another gear when expressing the pain caused by his black critics, who question his commitment to his own race.
He does mention a few of his shortcomings, and doesn\’t really go into great detail other than to say \”I drank a lot\” or things like that. He kind of glosses over his divorce, merely spending a half a page on how he and his wife \”grew apart,\” although he spends a great deal of time describing the pain it caused him after the fact.
In promoting the book, Thomas granted a half-hour interview to 60 Minutes that really gives a good glimpse into his story. In ways, it\’s even more powerful, as you get to see Thomas\’ steely resolve in person. It\’s broken up into three parts, and can be watched here:
And on a side personal note, Phyllis Berry-Myers, one of Thomas\’ ex-co workers and staunchest defenders, was also my sister\’s high school basketball coach. Thomas lived directly behind my high school in Northern Virginia. Berry-Myers actually testified in front of Congress on Thomas\’ behalf – her testimony can be read here.