cover image Sonia Sotomayor: The True American Dream

Sonia Sotomayor: The True American Dream

Antonia Felix, Berkley, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 9780425234839

Because Sotomayor's mother was raised in Puerto Rico in "a context of poverty" unseen in the United States, she worked hard to instill in her daughter, Sonia, the believe that "education was the key to everything." Even so, when Sotomayor arrived at Princeton and realized the gap between her skills and those of students from elite high schools, she spent the next summer reading classics and reviewing grammar books. Felix, who has written biographies of Laura Bush and Condoleeza Rice, provides anecdotes to illustrate Sotomayor's pluck and perseverance. During a recruiting dinner with a large law firm, for instance, Sotomayor accused the interviewer of asking discriminatory questions, filed a complaint against the firm, and petitioned Yale to drop their recruiting privileges. Sotomayor's impressive resume includes jobs with the Manhattan DA's office (the first time she "had given any thought to public service other than the State Department"), Pavia & Harcourt, where she worked on the "Fendi contra counterfeiting program," and the distinction of becoming the first Hispanic judge on a federal bench in New York. Readers looking for a riveting and meticulously researched book on the Supreme Court Justice will be engrossed. (July)