Scalia: Rise to Greatness, 1936 to 1986
With SCALIA: Rise to Greatness, 1936–1986, the opening installment in a two-volume biography, acclaimed reporter and bestselling historian James Rosen provides the first comprehensive account of the life of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose singular career in government—including three decades on the Supreme Court—shaped American law and society in the twenty-first century.
Decades in the making, Rise to Greatness tells the story of the kid from Queens who became the first Italian American on the Court and one of the most profoundly influential figures of our time. This volume takes us from Scalia’s birth to his ascension to the Court, providing a fresh and probing look at his Catholic upbringing and education; his stints in academia and published works, some of them obscure and long-overlooked; and his service in the Nixon and Ford administrations, when Scalia played a central role in reforming the U.S. intelligence community and in the approval of sensitive covert operations.
Deeply researched and based on unparalleled access to documentary and personal sources, and written with an intellectual rigor and wit befitting its subject, Rosen’s narrative reads like a novel while presenting startling new insight into the life, mind, career, faith, and legacy of the man whom family and friends called “Nino.” The result is a compelling portrait of an American legend with whom the author personally corresponded, broke bread, drank wine, and braved the streets of the capital as a (nervous) passenger in the justice’s famously speedy BMW.
Rosen has unearthed previously unpublished writing from every phase of Scalia’s career, including private Supreme Court emails, and has interviewed Scalia’s family, classmates, students, colleagues from the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations, priests, poker buddies, hunting companions, and fellow judges and justices.
Rise to Greatness is a landmark of modern biography, a rich and moving study, accessible to lay readers, that brings to life a towering figure of American history. It is the book Scalia fans, and all citizens interested in history and the law, have long awaited.