The Judge: The Life and Opinions of Alabama's Frank M. Johnson, Jr.

Frank Sikora, Author, William J. Brennan, Designed by
Frank Sikora, Author, William J. Brennan, Designed by Black Belt Press $28.5 (340p) ISBN 978-0-9622815-9-4
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
While more limited as a character study and legal/historical analysis than Jack Bass's Taming the Storm (reviewed above), this book is a useful complement. Using long stretches of court transcripts and equally long quotes from Johnson, Sikora, a staffer on the Birmingham (Ala.) News, dramatically reconstructs several major cases handled by the Federal Judge, whom former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brennan considers ``a remarkable man and a remarkable judge.'' Sikora describes courtroom arguments regarding the Montgomery bus boycott, Freedom Riders in Montgomery and, notably, the march Martin Luther King Jr. led in Selma. Sikora presents Johnson as a serious man with a sense of humor and of spirituality, but should have further explored Johnson's distance from standard liberalism: Johnson maintains that Northern liberal whites in the Civil Rights Movement were ``sorely misguided,'' personally opposes interracial marriages and by 1984 believed that blacks should compete equally with whites in education. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)