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This is the first book I listened to about Chief Justice John Marshall. Honestly, the second one I read, Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times
by Joel Richard Paul, was far superior.
The conflicting visions of Jefferson and Marshall vis a vis the shape of the United States is fascinating and key to understanding our history and our nation. Simon does a good job laying out a bit of biography of each, and then focusing on the rulings that highlighted their differences.
What I didn't like was that Simon often stated as fact the Jeffersonian view of Marshall, and Adams and the rest of the Federalists for that matter, without explaining the ideological context in which his opinion was formed. With such contentious material, historical, cultural and ideological context and background is really key to understanding both sides of the issues. Simon did not convince me that he was sharing the whole story.
All that being said, learning about John Marshall is absolutely worth it. I read this after reading McCullough's John Adams and Chernow's Hamilton, and am very glad I did. Although lay people (non-lawyers) may not know and appreciate Marshall's importance, it turns out that he had as much to do with shaping the United States as any founding father. But, I would recommend reading Without Precedent to learn about this fascinating, important and inspiring man.