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The Pursuit of Justice by Robert F. Kennedy edited by Theodore J. Lowi

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New York : Harper & Row, 1964. First edition. Hardcover. 148 pages ; 21 cm. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!

by Robert E Kennedy
Edited by Theodore J. Lowi

The office of Attorney General is in many respects the hot corner of political combat. All of the "hard cases" of law enforcement, public administration, and governmental services eventually find their way to his desk. It is impossible, therefore, for an Attorney General not to have taken a position on most of the basic issues of his day. And it is impossible to conceive of a time when all parties interested in the stakes of government could be pleased with a decision—or a non-decision—of the man who holds the office.

As a consequence, few posts in government share such public attention as that of the Attorney General. When the holder of the once is also a member of the innermost governing circle, public attention turns to fascination. Such a situation must be blood-curdling for the incumbent, because the fascination is not of the passive and pleasant sort of engagement associated with the best television programs. The Attorney General is taken every way but lightly.

This volume contains twelve essays or "position papers" dealing with those problems with which one such Attorney General was most occupied and preoccupied during his issue-laden three years and nine months of service. During that time the United States faced many major crises at home and abroad and, for better or worse, met them. In meeting them, the Administration broke many precedents and established a few others. In so doing it gave the American people a political orientation stronger than any witnessed since the Roosevelt One Hundred Days. These twelve essays treat many of those issues with considerable depth and clarity of argument and opinion. Characteristically, it is not possible to take this book lightly, whether the subject is wiretapping, the radical right, Berlin, price-fixing, counterinsurgency, the injustices of poverty, or the dereliction of the lawyer's duties in effecting compliance of civil rights statutes.

But within the wide range of subjects and opinions, formal and informal, there is an unmistakable unity. Professor Lowi describes it in his Editor's Foreword: "In all of this there is a characteristic answer that has, perhaps, come to be taken as a Kennedy family trait. This is the confounded optimism that individual will and action can in fact set the world to rights."

The volume opens with a special chapter written by Robert F. Kennedy as a review of his years of public service and a statement of personal beliefs.