How the NY Times Rewrote My Letter

First, this is not a complaint – I am just reporting to show what happens when you write a letter to the editor of the NY Times book review section.

Here is what I wrote:

“David Margolick did not give a very good review to Wil Haygood’s recent biography “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America”.  He felt that Haygood left out some important events and facts, and that his writing left a lot to be desired.  He also insinuated that there has yet to be an adequate biography of Mr. Justice Marshall and that a more complete telling of the Marshall nomination would likely await the completion of Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson.

“Not having read the Haygood book, I cannot comment on Margolick’s review of teh book.  But I certainly disagree that Marshall’s life has not been well documented.  I am most familiar with Juan Williams’ 1998 book “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary”. It seems to have all of the virtues that Margolick claims the Haygood book does not have.  It is a full biography of the Supreme Court Justice, discussing his home background and education, his entire legal career, and certainly his relationship with President Johnson, his nomination to the Court, the Congressional hearings and his Supreme Court career. And it’s beautifully written; you will certainly not find the book, or any part of it, “rough going”.

No reason to wait for Robert Caro.”

And here is what the Times published under my name:

“I certainly disagree with David Margolick’s suggestion in his review of Wil Haygood’s “Showdown” that Thurgood Marshall’s life has not been well documented.  Juan Williams’ 1998 book “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary” is a full biography of the Supreme Court justice, discussing his background and education, legal career, relationship to President Johnson and nomination to the court, as well as the congressional hearings and his Supreme Court career.  And it’s beautifully written; you will certainly not find the book, or any part of it, “rough going”, as Margolick said of “Showdown”.  There’s no need to wait for Robert Caro to reach “that part of the story”.

Interesting……

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