I am thrilled and excited to announce that Scholastic has published Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice. It is the story of the slaughter of more than one hundred African-American men by a band of white supremacists on Easter Sunday 1873, and the subsequent trials of three of the accused murderers, culminating in their being freed by a strict constructionist United States Supreme Court. I cannot think of anything more important than to write a book for middle and high schoolers about how the Constitution was interpreted by the Court during a period in our history that very much mirrors our own. Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Chancellor's Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, Law School, wrote the foreword.
In the wake of the recent presidential election, many of those who had previously thought it unthinkable—both liberals and conservatives—blamed the stunning ignorance of the American voter. How could so many fail to distinguish between legitimate debate about how our government should be administered and diatribe denouncing the institutions of government themselves? The answer lies not in what those intoxicated by angry, destructive rhetoric chose to watch and listen to as adults, but that they grew into adulthood with no grounding in how American democracy actually functions…or has functioned in the past. Conspiracy theories, after all, can only flourish in the face of ignorance.
There is nothing more vital, therefore, than to begin to correct these errors where they began—in school and in the home. Scholastic is extremely enthusiastic about the publication of Unpunished Murder and so am I.
I've also written articles on the Supreme Court and politics for New Republic and Tablet. They can be found here:
Now on to...
Praise for Lawrence Goldstone:
"Captivating and wonderfully presented... a fine book about these rival pioneers."
—The Wall Street Journal on Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies
"One of the saddest episodes in American history has been inadequately explored and poorly understood—until now. Lawrence Goldstone’s brilliantly written book, Inherently Unequal, traces the post-Reconstruction Supreme Court’s slow strangulation of equal rights for African-Americans. It will be a shock to many that the judicial branch, viewed in the modern context as the premier defender of civil rights, was primarily responsible for the nation’s descent into a deep, racist inequality that ruined the lives of millions for a century. As Goldstone shows us, Lincoln’s great legacy was cynically dismantled by the officeholders best positioned to protect it."
—Larry J. Sabato, Director, Center for Politics, University of Virginia on Inherently Unequal
"Goldstone, an acclaimed popular historian, marks out new terrain with his compelling fiction debut, a medical thriller set in 1889 Philadelphia. With this top-notch historical page-turner and his proven versatility in nonfiction, Goldstone can expect to win over many new fans."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Anatomy of Deception
"A distinguished work full of humor and wisdom, their book suggests that by encouraging children to read and talk about the mystery of complex, substantial books, parents and teachers can greatly expand young peoples’ worlds and ultimately their life choices. As a lesson in how to enrich child-parent relationships, this book is great."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Deconstructing Penguins
"Mr. Goldstone shows the specter of slavery lurking behind so many of the delegates' disputes. He describes the lengths to which these wily debaters would go to make their motives sound nobler than they were and the men themselves freer of the racism of their day than in fact they were."
—The Wall Street Journal on Dark Bargain
"The great puzzle of nineteenth-century American history is why the North waded through blood and gore to free the slaves during the Civil War, only to allow them to be stripped of their civil rights and subject to relentless terror after. Lawrence Goldstone does a brilliant job of showing how the Supreme Court led the way by interpreting the Constitution so as to legalize what was little better than neo-slavery. Inherently Unequal is a valuable corrective for anyone who still believes that judges are above politics or that the Constitution is a clear-cut charter of liberty."
—Daniel Lazare, author of The Frozen Republic on Inherently Unequal
"The Goldstones offer both a portrait of an important but neglected Renaissance humanist and a testimony to the power of books to shape minds and hearts."
—Publishers Weekly on Out of the Flames
"Goldstone keeps his 16th-century themes—murder, religious fanaticism, espionage and court intrigue—moving at a 21st-century pace. In creating his tapestry, he weaves in actual historical figures, not just French royalty but also Rabelais (as earthy and witty as one would expect), John Calvin (severe) and, eventually, Copernicus, whose life is endangered as a result of his 'heretical' theories."
—Kirkus Reviews on The Astronomer
"Goldstone offers a clear, cogent reading of the court's machinations, no small accomplishment since the justices generally rested their opinions on convoluted legal reasoning rather than on broad principles. And he’s completely convincing when he argues that behind those carefully parsed opinions lay a deep-seated racism strengthened by the justices’ embrace of Social Darwinism."
—Washington Post on Inherently Unequal
"What makes his book so fascinating is the attention to the medical procedures and innovations of the time ... Readers who enjoy Anne Perry’s and Caleb Carr’s psychological thrillers will welcome Goldstone’s brooding, paranoiac addition to the genre."
—Booklist on Anatomy of Deception
"In this comprehensive and remarkably lucid study of post–Civil War Supreme Court decisions, Goldstone shows how the court's narrow interpretation of the 14th amendment—bestowing 'equal protection under the law' to all Americans, regardless of race—paved the way for future decisions that diminished the status of African-Americans."
—Publishers Weekly on Inherently Unequal
"Goldstone weaves history, atmosphere, medical procedures, and forensic details into a fascinating story."
—Boston Globe on Anatomy of Deception
"A sort of Year in Provence for book lovers."
—Kirkus Reviews on Used and Rare
"Mr. Goldstone does not evince any political purpose in this book. But when we see the founders as ordinary men (or worse, ordinary politicians), we can readily see how absurd it is when judges claim to discover, in the brief text of the Constitution, a moral right to abortion or sodomy, an injunction against creches on public property or new rules for professional golf. Today, the Constitution is little read but widely venerated. Dark Bargain makes the document accessible. Both are highly recommended."
—The Washington Times on Dark Bargain
"A splendid 16th century thriller."
—Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times on The Astronomer
"Presents a vivid account of a pivotal moment in American constitutional history."
—Harvard Law Review on The Activist
"Will thrill lovers of history, medicine, forensics and, of course, a good mystery."
—Parade on Anatomy of Deception
"It’s impossible to avoid comparisons between The Astronomer, Lawrence Goldstone’s deft historical thriller, and that familiar blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Both take place mostly in France, begin with the murder of a good man, involve dangerous religious sects and a physically repellent zealot, have much spying on all sides, and feature several heart-pounding escapes. Dan Brown’s book was set in the twentieth century, but Mr. Goldstone planted his thriller in the sixteenth, which brings to mind that old saying about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire—she did everything he did, only backwards and in high heels. Bravo, Mr. Goldstone."
—New York Journal of Books on The Astronomer
© Lawrence Goldstone. Web site by interbridge.