In the Mail…

I recently received a pre-publicaton copy of David Dorsen’s biography of Henry Friendly. It looks excellent, at least based on a quick skim. Dorsen moves through Friendly’s pre-judicial life pretty quickly. Although it’s a 359-page book — plus appendices and end notes — Friendly starts serving on the Second Circuit by page 85. Pages 85 to 138 cover issues such as how Friendly wrote opinions and his relationship with his clerks and other judges. Then, starting on page 139 and running through page 339, we get a series of chapters closely studying Friendly’s major decisions and views in particular areas he influenced. The last twenty pages offer a brief chapter on Friendly’s suicide and another brief concluding chapter on his lasting influence. That strikes me as about the bright balance: Friendly is admired for the way he decided cases, so the book spends more than half of its space with examples of how he did that. Anyway, I’ve only skimmed it so far, but I hope to blog more thoughts when I’ve had a chance to read it.