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Posted Nov. 3, 2009

O’Connell Brothers Profile Prominent Lawyers, Public Figures in New Book


Law School Professor Jeffrey O’Connell and his brother profile notable lawyers and public figures from Karl Marx to Dwight Eisenhower in a new book published by Carolina Academic Press.

“Political and Legal Adventurers: From Marx to Moynihan,” coauthored by Thomas E. O’Connell, the founding and emeritus president of Berkshire (Mass.) Community College, contains 16 biographical essays on lawyers and others intertwined with law, public policy and politics.
“Such collections especially appeal to many readers who at least initially may be daunted by full-scale biographies and may thereby welcome shorter works that convey much of the essence and flavor of prominent per­sonalities and their careers,” Jeffrey O’Connell said. “And yet such readers also may be induced by such shorter essays to pursue further interest inspired by them.”

The O’Connell brothers specialize respectively in law and public administration, and as a result the essays focus on lawyers and other public figures whose lives have been influenced by the law or public affairs, Jeffrey O’Connell said.

The book’s subjects include the Wright Brothers; Truman Capote; William Beveridge, Britain’s founder of the welfare state; Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter; Harvard economist J. K. Galbraith; former presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson; as well as key aids to Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Woodrow Wilson.

“These essays… not only make interesting and well-founded points about historical material. More important they reflect the sort of general culture which in these days, alas, is all too seldom brought to bear on scholarship,” said Stanley Katz, president emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies. “We have become so narrowly professional that I sometimes despair of carrying on a communication across disciplinary lines. This is something which the O'Connells clearly understand how to do."