Unboxing the Handley Page 0/400 Bomber – Wings of Glory

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Here comes havoc! 

I took part in the Wings of Glory “big jumbo honking bomber” (my name for it) Kickstarter.  It’s not that I’m a big fan of the large aircraft, but I do enjoy Wings of Glory quite a bit.  Introducing massive bombers could add some dimensions of play that are fascinating.  Also, my grandson is six and is almost at an age where we can start playing the game…it’s that easy.

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The packaging was my only issue, albeit a minor one

As you can see, you get a two-sided game map with the Kickstarter, ace cards, a maneuver deck, stands, rules and oodles of miniature WWI goodness.

The bomber itself is an impressive model.  I struggled for five minutes to extricate it from the packaging however – the Ares Games guys REALLY had it secured.

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They all look like ants from up here…
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Pristine…almost too pristine.
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Crisp lines
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Seriously dude, if you shoot now, you’re hitting your own tail

I love the paint job on this mini.  I kind of wish the Wings of Glory stuff all didn’t look as if it came new out of the factories.  Some weathering would be neat.  I’m sure there are guys out there frantically repainting these for realism, which is great.

While I’m not a British aircraft fan, this mini has a lot to offer for WWI aviation buffs.  Enjoy!

 

Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt

Begone fair herald...
The fewer the men, the greater share of the honor…
“This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
Henry the V, William Shakespeare
 

October 25 marked the 600th anniversary of he Battle of Agincourt (1415). Considered by many to be one of the most brilliant battles of the medieval era and certainly one of the most interesting of the Hundred Years War. I’m a fan of battles where one side is greatly outnumbered and prevailed. For me, my love of this battle goes back to my purchase of the old SPI boardgame Agincourt -Archery Over Armor – still a classic in my book.

The English expedition in France had been plagued with long wet marches, dysentery, and a French force determined to attack and capture/destroy them. When twenty-eight year old Henry the V’s force of approximately 6000 moved towards the port of Calais to return to England he encountered a French force outnumbering him from 3-5 to 1. For the French it should have been an easy victory. The English force was nobles and commoners, many with the English longbow. The French had heavily armored cavalry, some crossbowmen, and legions of French noble knights.

The topography of the battlefield played well to the English. The flanks were heavily wooded, prohibited the cavalry from sweeping along the flanks to attack the bowmen. The field was wet and churned to mud easily. The land had difficult to see drop-offs which provided deceptive cover in the open too. Henry opted for a defensive fight, ordering his men to sharpen stakes and angle them towards the French position.

The French moved on the English first, sending their cavalry tearing at the English line, churning the field into a muddy ooze as they came. They encountered the English longbowmen, the machineguns of the medieval battlefield. With iron tipped bodkin arrowheads, these bows could rain down fire that could pierce the French armor – and did. The cavalry was devoured in raining waves of arrows.

The French crossbowmen moved forward to deal with the English bowmen. While effective, the crossbow took three times as long to load as the longbow. Soon these men were devastated under English bow fire.

The armored French knights slowly surged forward in dense formations, going over the muddy ground which slowed them considerably and made the trek even more difficult. The rain of arrow fire consumed them and the moving mass of men pushing forward often trampled the men ahead of them. The woods on the flanks served to funnel them into the English. The few knights that did reach the line found themselves dealing with the English knights who quickly finished them off or captured them.

The French sent a squad of knights to try and kill or capture Henry personally, only to have them cut to shreds in the process. A significant number of French knights were captured to be held for ransom, a common practice at the time. When Henry heard a rumor that French cavalry were moving to free the prisoners he ordered them killed so as to free up the men watching over them for battle.

In the end, the French force was decimated. Shakespeare did the rest – immortalizing the battle in his play Henry the V in the classic St. Crispin’s Day speech.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM

Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid

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The Doolittle Raiders on the Deck of the Hornet

This weekend had a few anniversaries tied to it, including the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City.  With all of the talk of domestic terrorism in the headlines as of late, I think it is better to look at another anniversary instead – that of the Doolittle Raid on Japan which happened on April 18.  Most of us cannot comprehend the importance of this event.  It was not a stunning military success, the damage that the raid inflicted was noticeable but not devastating to Japan.  What it DID accomplish was a much needed boost to American morale while proving to the Japanese that their home island was subject to enemy attack.

For those not familiar with the raid, it took place in 1942, when there was a lot of questioning as to whether America was going to win the war in the Pacific.  It is hard for us to comprehend that in retrospect, but up until this point the US had been on the receiving end of a can of Japanese whoop-ass.  America had lost a significant portion of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.  The Philippines had fallen, resulting in a devastating surrender of American forces and triggering the horrific Bataan Death March of the survivors.  Wake Island had fallen too, a loss for the USMC and the Navy.  Midway was still months away when the Doolittle Raid took place.  While America had a resolve to fight the Empire of Japan, it had not demonstrated this resolve with victories.

Navy Captain Francis Low came up with the idea, the use of twin-engine B-26 Army Air Force bombers being launched off of a carrier, striking at Japan.  The plan was daring and pushed the limits of 1942 technology, requiring the bombers to be outfitted with additional fuel tanks and taking off from an aircraft carrier that they could not return to.  The crews were to fly to Japan, attack, then continue on to China and hopefully land there.  Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle was to command the mission.

The attack was to be launched from the carrier USS Hornet.  Sixteen of the large bombers were secretly loaded on the Hornet, their crews having trained for weeks for the strike.  The raid required secrecy in order to succeed.  The Hornet sailed deep into enemy waters.  A Japanese picket boat spotted the task force before it was in position.  Doolittle was faced with a difficult choice.  Take off earlier than planned and most likely run out of fuel before landing in China, or abort the strike altogether.

He opted for audacity.

The planes launched.  Their takeoffs were filmed and are available on the net.  Watching them is incredible even to this day.  Sixteen aircraft lumbered off towards Tokyo and other targets, not knowing what they might be facing in terms of defenses.  There were no escort aircraft, it physically was not feasible.  The Navy task force turned and departed and Doolittle and his men plowed on into the great unknown.  It was as close to a suicide mission as could be conceived at the time.

The raiders came over Japan and found it stunningly unprepared.  They bombed ten military and industrial targets in Tokyo, two in Yokohama and one each in Yokosuka, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka.  Only one of the aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire, their attack was so stunning.  They flew across Japan and the sea to China (with one landing in Russia).  The planes crashed, the crews bailing out often over Japanese occupied territory.

The raiders suffered casualties as a result of the raid.  Three were killed in action eight were made POWs: three were executed by the Japanese, one died in captivity, and four were repatriated.

Doolittle himself survived.  He assumed he would be court-martialed for the mission.  In his eyes, it was a disaster.  What he didn’t know was that the raid had accomplished more than just damage to the Japanese (confirmed by their radio broadcasts).  It had given the US a much needed victory after a string of defeats.  Doolittle and his men were not failures, they became heroes for a nation in need of heroes and icons.  President Roosevelt joked with the press that the raid had been made from “Shangri-La.”  Japan, which had instilled the thought in its civilian population that they were safe, now had that veneer shattered.  War can and would be waged against Japan – its defenses were not infallible.

Militarily and materially the raid did not tip the scales of the war.  What it did for morale in the United States was beyond value.

The Anniversary of the Surrender at Appomattox

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Keith Rocco’s image of the surrender – NPS Image 

April 9, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac.  While this does not mark the end of the American Civil War, it was the beginning of the end.  It marked the first step in the healing of the nation.  We may yet still be on that road of healing – more on that later.  As a historian it is worth taking a look at the event.

General Robert E. Lee was out of options when it came to facing surrender.  General Ulysses S. Grant and his commanders had driven the Lee’s forces out of Richmond after a siege there and earlier in Petersburg. Lee’s Army was heading west waging a series of skirmishes and battles with the Army of the Potomac hot on their trail, moving in to surround them.  Lee’s men were starving and nearly out of supplies.  They, and their foes, had endured four long years of war which had consumed two percent of the US population.  The fact that such men were still willing to fight for Robert E. Lee, after all they had suffered, says something of the measure of the men and their commander.

Rather than surrender, some of his officers argued at the Army of Northern Virginia could go on and wage a guerilla-style war against the Federal forces.  It certainly was an option – and one can only imagine what that kind of conflict would have looked like.  Robert E. Lee had grown weary of the war and knew that a guerrilla campaign would only prolong the inevitable and make the risk of retribution even worse.  As much as surrender pained him – it was the best option not just for his men but for the nation.

When he made the decision Lee had no idea what his fate would be.  He assumed he would be made General Grant’s prisoner.  That lonely ride to Wilbur McLean’s farmhouse that April day had to be one of the longest and loneliest in Lee’s illustrious life.  The McLean family had lived in Manassas and their farm had been a headquarters at the first major battle of the war.  It was a sense of historic irony that their home would serve as the place of the surrender.

The story of Appomattox has been told and retold often.  There are things that stick out to me that make it significant, though few are tied to the actual surrender but the events that followed.  Grant extended gracious terms to Lee’s men, going so far as to offer them rations.  Warrior to warrior, Grant understood his one-time-foe and recognized the importance the event would have in years to come.

After the surrender, Lee mounted his horse Traveler, and a cheer rose from the gathered Union troops.  Grant stopped his men’s celebrating.  “The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”   Grant too realized that the defeat of Lee’s Army was the first step to reconciliation as well.

Lee addressed his troops one last time with General Order No. 9:

“After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

“I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.

“But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

“By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

“With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

“R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9”

The formal surrender ceremony, the stacking of arms and flags, took place on April 12.  The ceremony was commanded by General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the hero of Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Chamberlain himself had been wounded several times in the fighting and received his last promotion on the battlefield when it was thought he was about to die. The tough Maine scholar overcame his injuries, defying the odds.

As the Confederates marched, still proud, by each Union regiment, the order was given from the “order arms” to “carry”, the salute of the individual soldiers to the Confederates as they passed.  This has always struck me as so genuine, so purely honorable.  Soldiers, who only days before had been trying to kill each other; acknowledged their defeated comrades with respect that only military men can fully comprehend.  Confederate General Gordon, at the front of the column, reached Chamberlain and tipped his sword to his boot point in a gentlemanly salute – and then ordered the Confederates to perform the same shift of their weapons to salute the Federal troops.  Honor answered honor.  By the day’s end over 28,000 Confederates stacked their arms, surrendered their torn and tattered battle flags, and were pardoned and allowed to go home.  For this Confederate Army, the long and horrific war was over.  They could still return home for spring planting.

Despite popular understanding, the Civil War was still raging in other parts of the south.  The slowness of communications and the fact that the Confederate government was fleeing made matters drag out for some time.  The last land battle would be fought in May – and the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah didn’t happen until November.  The assassination of President Lincoln cast a dark pall over the Union victory.

Reconciliation was far from smooth.  Some might argue we’re still reconciling even today.  Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, was imprisoned at Fort Monroe for two years after the war, first on suspicions of being part of the Presidential Assassination, then  for more political reasons.  Robert E. Lee’s home, Arlington, was seized from his family and used as a cemetery for Federal troops who had died in the war.  It would be decades before the Lee family received any compensation for their loss.  There was talk of bringing Confederate leaders up on treason charges but General Grant himself squashed those efforts, threatening to resign.

Some Southern Generals/Historians went on to apply an almost mythical quality to the war – “The Lost Cause.”  Others went on an exodus to Mexico in hope of re-forging the Confederacy there.  While the shooting was over the issue of the rights of people of color was left almost unresolved.

As much as the Civil War was over, we, as a people, are still struggling with its aftermath.  The issues revolving around Civil Rights are still plaguing us today.  We struggle as to whether the war was about slavery or state’s rights when both may be right (and wrong).  Single answers to complex things like wars rarely work.  Society chaffs at the Confederate flag, wondering whether it is a symbol of the “Lost Cause” or a symbol of slavery – or both.  When matters like Ferguson Missouri raise their ugly heads, I find myself looking at the men at Appomattox and the respect and honor they displayed to each other and hope that we too can find that within ourselves.

Those men, at Appomattox, 150 years ago showed us the way but we have lost it.  They demonstrated respect and honor.  All we have to do is measure up the examples they set.

Discussion of True Crime at the Historical Society of Michigan’s Meeting

True Crime Covers

Small wonder that people have a strange perception of true crime authors…

Last week I was honored to attend/present at the Historical Society of Michigan’s: Michigan in Perspective: The Local History Conference in Sterling Heights Michigan.  I was on a panel with fellow New York Times Bestselling Author Mardi Link and award winning author and documentary producer David Schock.

I got the idea for the event a few years ago for the panel because of a rejection letter.  I had written an article about an unsolved murder in a community from the 1960’s and had submitted it to an unnamed state history magazine.  I was told that true crime, especially unsolved crimes, was not considered historical.  Ouch – that hurt.

That response resonated with me.  In my mind I had not written about a murder as much as I had also provided a lot of historical context for the community where the crime took place.  It hit me then that many mainstream historians probably don’t hold true crime writers in the same category of historians that they themselves are in.

In my presentation I hoped to raise awareness around the role that true crime authors play in documenting history. Historically true crime writers got associated with the seedy-side of authoring.  When you look at the covers of old issues of True Detective magazine you could get the wrong impression of us – that we are into female dominance and bondage.  There is also an element of true crime writing that doesn’t go after current high-profile crimes.  These books are often bestsellers but don’t provide a lot of history and their sensational nature tends to paint true crime authors as a modern form of ambulance chaser.

The work that David and Mardi and I do however is not contemporary crimes but those from the past.  We document the local history as context for the crimes we are writing about.  We have to.  Local history provides the social framework where these murders took place.

We have to document local history so that the reader understands the people, their motivations, and their place in the drama.  Without including a lot of local history, the victims can become faceless and voiceless to the reader.  Many true crime authors are stewards of local history.  We are often some of local history’s prime champions.

Major crimes play a role in a community.  They are often defining events etched into the memories of the people that are there, even if they had not role in the crime itself.  People remember significant crimes.  They become part of the local culture, part of a shared memory of a key event.  Consider this:  People remember where they were when they heard that President Kennedy was killed or when the World Trade Centers were taken down.  These were crimes, albeit large scale criminal acts, that are burned into our memories.  Smaller murders have the same effect on a smaller, more community-wide scale.

In one of my books, The Murder of Maggie Hume, I (along with my co-author Victoria Hester) wrote about the urban development of Battle Creek Michigan in the 1970’s.  If I had written a traditional non-fiction history book on the subject – it would have sold roughly three-to-five copies.  By weaving that history into the book about the crime, it has been read by a significantly larger audience.  True crime, as a genre, is much more broadly read than traditional history books.

Most people don’t realize that the research we do on books and films is almost identical to the techniques used by non-fiction writing historians.  I feel safe in saying that because I write non-fiction history books (mostly military).  Some historians may cringe at the thought of us being the same, but trust me, we are historians through-and-through.

Finally, as David likes to point out, our works are often calls to action.  The three of us primarily work in a niche in true crime that deals with unsolved cases.  When we write a book, we are looking for new answers.  We generate tips and leads.  We ensure that the crime does not slip into the darkness unremembered or unsolved.

The turnout for our presentation was pretty large and we got a lot of positive questions and comments.  People always bring up crimes we should be looking at.  I have to admit, I knew only a little about the Oakland County Child Killings (OCCK) but now I am doing a little bit of digging into that subject.  It seems this is one of those unsolved cases that is screaming for the right attention – a historical true crime perspective.  More on this later, depending on what my digging unearths.

I encourage you to go and read Mardi’s and David’s books and view David’s stunning documentaries.  As I told Mardi, I read her book, When Evil Came to Goodhart, at least once a year.  You should too.  Overall, I had a blast – I met some neat people, and got to spend an hour or so with some top-notch talent in my field, which was a great treat.

#BattleCreek

Review of Likes Wolves on the Fold – The Defense of Rorke’s Drift

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Colour Sergeant Bourne: “It’s a miracle.”

Lieutenant Chard: “If it’s a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it’s a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.”

Bourne: “And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.”

From the film Zulu

When I was young, a guy on my paper route turned me onto the movie, Zulu, which was my first exposure to the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.  Like most Americans, I had little knowledge of the Anglo Zulu War and if it wasn’t for Zulu I might have glossed over this battle.  The movie entranced me because of the incredible odds that the troops faced.  For an American, it was as if we had fought the Alamo and had won.

If you are not familiar with the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, it was a battle that took place on 22 January 1879 and more Victoria Crosses (eleven) were awarded in that one battle than any other in a single British engagement.  The battle took place the day after a stunning defeat of the British at Isandlwana, where over 1300 British troops and their allies were slaughtered by the same troops that advanced on the mission at Rorke’s Drift.

At Rorke’s Drift, the British created a defensive position around the mission and hospital there and weathered a series of attacks that should have overwhelmed them…yet they prevailed.

The defenders were less than 200 men and militia against a force of 3000-4000 Zulus warriors.  The odds were staggering and the day before the British, with much better odds, had been slaughtered.  The commanders that day, Lieutenants Bromhead and Chard, had never commanded men in battle before. On paper, they should have lost, but history has a way of cheating mathematicians and statisticians.  The British were victorious and handed one of the most recognized victories to emerge from the Victorian era.

Over the years I’ve picked up a number of books on the subject of the battle.  There are times I wish I hadn’t – because reading the actual accounts makes you understand how inaccurate parts of the film is.  So when I saw Mike Snook’s Like Wolves on the Fold, I already went in with what I thought was a good understanding of the battle.  Snook was a historian in the 24th Regiment of Foot, the unit stationed at Rorke’s Drift and not only gives us new insights to the battle, but provides us with a glimpse of how the unit still commemorates the historic battle and reveres the artifacts that still exist from the confrontation.

Snook went back to primary sources and successfully attempts to reconcile historic accounts of the sequence of battle, almost to the man.  This is no small undertaking.  Previous historians have simply latched onto one account or another and used that as the basis for their analysis.  Snook parses these accounts in the way that only a skill historian can.  The results is probably the best account of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.

The author wrote this book to stand alone but in all fairness, his prequel work, How Can Man Die Better, covers the tragic events at Isandlwana the day before.  I read them out of sequence because I was more interested in Rorke’s Drift, but the two books could almost have been published together in a single tome.

I am a junkie for the appendix of non-fiction books and Like Wolves on the Fold doesn’t disappoint.  It provides a summary of all of the key figures and, where possible, the original accounts of the fighting. As a historian myself I have read many battle reports, but reading these was a real treat.

Zulu remains one of my favorite films of all time.  Like Wolves on the Fold may be the last book I ever buy on this subject, because it is so well done and so complete.  Five out of five stars.

Review of Judicial Deceit – Tyranny and Unnecessary Secrecy at the Michigan Supreme Court

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Disclaimer:  One of the authors of this book, David Schock, is a friend of mine.  He wrote the introduction to one of my books, Murder in Battle Creek.  I consider David a friend who shares my passion for attempting to resolve some of Michigan’s more infamous cold cases (www.Delayedjustice.com) My relationship with David did not taint my review of this book, but in fairness, I wanted to state it up-front.  

First off, when I purchased this book I had no idea how big it was – 765 pages.  Please get the digital copy.  It’s a hefty tome, one you have to be willing to commit some time to.  Having said that, is a book that is worth that time if you are involved with the legal profession in Michigan.  I’m not a lawyer but I found the book compelling to read.   Every college law school in Michigan should be referring to this book, if only as a subject for healthy debate.

The book is written in two author’s voices – that of the narrator and that of Chief Justice Elizabeth Weaver.  Weaver’s direct commentary is in italics in the book.  Surprisingly, the text flows fairly well from a reading perspective, though italics can get hard to read for more than a few paragraphs.

In looking at this book you have to decide if you are in one of two camps when you have finished reading it.  Either Justice Weaver is a bitter person with an ax to grind, using this book to seek some sort of twisted revenge on her fellow justices; or Elizabeth Weaver is a daring patriot who is revealing the inner workings of Michigan’s Supreme Court in a valiant effort to drive change in that high court.

I feel solidly in the second camp.  I’ve met Justice Weaver at a Michigan Historical Society meeting and she is far from bitter or vindictive.

Judicial Deceit takes you on a reflective journey through numerous instances which demonstrate the flaws with the Michigan Supreme Court.  Justices in Michigan are elected, backed by political parties, and subject to influence by those parties.  The narrative of this book chronicles how four of these justices, “The Engler Four,” treated the high court as a playground for bad behavior that in some cases bordered on childish, in other ways on criminal.

For example:  One justice failed to disclose that his former law firm represented a client’s corporation whose divorce went before the court.  This lack of transparency tainted the process. This was one instance out of several detailed in the book where justices did not behave at the professional standard that we would all expect.

Other chapters dealt with the almost fraternal behavior of the justices.  One lobbied to get the State Historical Society to provide them with rings, like a bunch of immature frat boys.  Another justice was so abusive to his computer technical support person that he drove him out of the office in tears.  The termination of staff by some justices appeared vindictive and politically motivated – with possible grounds for law suits.  Some justices had spouses working for the Michigan Attorney General, clearly a conflict of interest – one that went unchecked.  While some of these infractions may appear minor, almost petty, they establish a pattern of behavior that is embarrassing.

In terms of cases that the justices undertook, it was clear that they had pre-decided outcomes even before hearing the oral arguments.  Some justices had issues with lawyers, in particular Geoffrey Fieger, which slanted their opinions.  As a former Michigan resident I remember Fieger as the fiery attorney that defended Jack Kevorkian and ran for Governor against Engler – who had loaded the court with highly politically motivated justices.  I could see where Fieger might get on your nerves, but the Justices of the Supreme Court of the state are supposed to be above that kind of behavior.

Justice Weaver began to make public the internal deliberations of the court, warts and all.  In her case it was akin to peeling an onion, bringing tears to the eyes of her so-called peers.  The Justices moved to block her from revealing their, for lack of better words, shenanigans.  Weaver chose the moral high road and ignored this move to cloak the court rather than provide transparency.

Silencing Justice Weaver was an attempt to create a court that concealed its actions and motivations.  It would (as Weaver wrote in her dissent):

  • “Keeps secret from the people important information of what the justices are discussing and deciding on the court;
  • “Keeps secret from the people important information of how the justices conduct the people’s judicial business; and
  • “Keeps secret from the people when the justices are conducting the people’s judicial business.” Pg 302

And when you look at those three bullets, doesn’t it make sense that this information should be available to the public?  What kind of government would seek to suppress the workings of her courts like this in a free society?

Judicial Deceit did not come across to me like a book written by bitter person seeking revenge, though God knows Justice Weaver certainly has earned the right to extract a little blood given what she witnessed and endured as her former colleagues attempted to tarnish her reputation.  Instead Justice Weaver should be commended for having the courage and intestinal fortitude to come forward and lay bare the dirty secrets of the court.

The final chapter of the book outlines how Michigan could (and should) go about fixing the problems associated with the election of justices and managing the court.  It is a call to action for Michiganders, a blueprint for changes that would only make the Supreme Court a true level playing field.

My only warning about this book is that it is not your traditional true crime fare.  It is an expose’ of flaws at the top of the Michigan legal system.  It is a hefty read too, given its size.  This is the kind of book that requires a commitment to read.  Some of the legal cases presented are complicated and while the book does a good job of explaining the legal nuances, it sometimes requires a little page-flipping to make sure you understand what is happening.

My recommendation – this is a must read for every politician, lawyer and law student in the State of Michigan.  For Michigan citizens, this is a call for change. Pick it up and read it – then go and demand reform.  It is, after all, your court.