The writings of  Richard Kluger

Simple Justice

The History of Brown v. Board of Education
and Black America’s Struggle for Equality


The Critical Response


WASHINGTON POST (Robert C. Maynard): “…an outstanding piece of legal and social history…this extraordinary book is an immense undertaking, encompassing virtually the whole legal history of blacks in the United States. That it is an ambitious undertaking is an understatement. That it succeeds is also an understatement…. And it is a great tribute to the skill of Richard Kluger that he does that landmark [decision] simple justice.”


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY (Richard Todd): “So readable and authoritative it seems unlikely it will be supplanted…. A remarkable act of scholarship…a book about values…its readers should be prepared to be moved.”


PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (Larry Swindell): “One of the most important books published in our American times. Kluger has done it all – the formal research, interviews with the surviving winners and losers in the chain of struggles…. A major accomplishment both as scholarship and journalism, and it also serves the name of literature…. A masterful study, it has a grace to match its scope.”



THE NATION (Maurice deG. Ford): “It will be a sensation because Kluger has been able to reconstruct the conferences of the Supreme Court Justices, [a procedure] so secret that rarely has the seal been broken…. If a man should achieve nothing more with his life than to write a book like Simple Justice, his life will have been grandly lived. This is a monumental accomplishment.”


HARVARD LAW REVIEW (Edward N. Beiser): “[This is] an extraordinary research effort and a major contribution to our understanding of the Supreme Court…. Kluger has written three distinct books within one jacket. The first is an account of race relations in America. The second is a detailed study of the complex process – the litigation strategy – by which the five consolidated cases that we now know as Brown arose and worked their way up to the Supreme Court. The third is a meticulously researched account of the process within the Supreme Court by which the Brown decision was reached.”


LOS ANGELES TIMES (Robert Kirsch): “A gripping story…epic history.”


ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (Myron A. Marty): “A masterful storyteller, Kluger finds heroes all along the way…. He is fair, even charitable, with those who resisted…he never loses sight of the historical dimensions…. Embellished with captivating anecdotes… engrossing character vignettes.”


“A remarkable book, moving and intellectually rich, mixing scholarship and humanity as it explores the modern Supreme Court’s most important decision.”

   – ANTHONY LEWIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and author of Gideon’s Trumpet

Simple Justice is probably the best thing I’ve read on the whole black grievance. It is history, law, sociology, and human emotion blended into one great story. For the first time the whole melancholy century of black history, from Emancipation until now, has been set down with accuracy and skill. I’m awed by Kluger’s achievement.”

   – HUGH SIDEY, Time Washington bureau chief


CHICAGO TRIBUNE (Richard E. Friedman): “The greatest service of this excellent book is that it provides a basis for informed discussion and thought on a subject that is invariably wrapped in passion and emotion.”


NATIONAL OBSERVER (Mark R. Arnold): “Moving and masterful history, a powerful story beautifully recreated.”


SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER: “…a huge, fascinating book by Richard Kluger, a writer of brilliance, insight and compassion.”


VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW (William H. Harbaugh): “Rarely has a long, serious book on a law suit received as much… acclaim as Richard Kluger’s panoramic history of Brown v. Board of Education…. This praise is warranted…. Simple Justice is one of the most important books of our times and probably of all American times.”


Simple Justice is simply spectacular: learned, vivid and clear.”

   – MICHAEL MELTSNER, author of Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment


PLAYBOY: “Superb history and compelling reading.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES (in op-ed page column by Bob Herbert): “A brilliant and powerful book.”


KANSAS CITY STAR (Thorpe Menn): “An exciting story of an American happening and as important as the Revolution itself…. Superb narrative history.”


CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (Joseph G. Harrison): “…a monumental study…. Amiable in purpose, careful in execution, tireless in research, exhaustive in detail, and strengthened and inspired by compassion for the oppressed, it is hard to believe that Richard Kluger has not written one of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners…. To read this book is to understand America with all its mighty faults but with all its still more magnificent greatness and promise.”


SATURDAY REVIEW (Fred Hechinger): “Kluger’s epic… [is an] admirable…remarkable book…. A compelling sense of purpose gives power and substance to this important book.”


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES (Elmer Gertz): “This huge, fascinating book… classic in its clarity and dimension… should become part of our nation’s scriptures.”


NEWSDAY (Geoffrey Wolff): “Simple Justice is a noble study, written in the grand manner.”


SACRAMENTO BEE (Ronald Blubaugh): “A sense of narrative that carries the story like a novel… a brilliant work.”


PROVIDENCE JOURNAL (Maurice Dolbier): “A masterful job.”


New York Law Journal Literary Critic Picks

Simple Justice Best American Book Ever on the Law

In an editorial page essay titled “The Ten Best Law Books” appearing in the March 15, 1993, issue of the New York Law Journal, attorney/literary critic Daniel J. Kornstein concluded his piece:

©2017 Richard Kluger