Born in Louisville, Kentucky, four years before the start of the Civil War, Brandeis came of age in a simple, rural America undergoing vast transition into an industrial powerhouse. The transition spawned a myriad of social problems and inequities, for which he blamed big business as well as the constant erosion of older Jeffersonian values he knew and cherished. But he was never a romanticist who wanted to turn back the clock. During the early days of his highly successful legal career, Brandeis recognized that the worst abuses of the emerging industrial system might be remedied by practical reformers who translated their idealism into specific, workable laws and programs that the average citizen could understand. Progressive reform became his life's work. From defending the public interest in Boston utility cases and investigating fraudulent insurance practices, Brandeis rose rapidly on the national scene to become head of the powerful American Zionist movement after he rediscovered his Jewish identity while arbitrating the passionate and historic New York garment workers' strike. While a Zionist leader, he was instrumental in the attempt to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1916, in what was the classic fight of the progressive era, Brandeis was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by Woodrow Wilson, to whom he was a close and trusted advisor, over strenuous objections of conservatives and anti-Semites who feared his democratic zeal and ardent reformist thinking. During the next two decades, "Holmes and Brandeis dissenting" became a sort of battle cry in the struggle to keep alive a flexible jurisprudence faithful to progressive values and to experimentation with modern social problems. The author masterfully examines Brandeis' career as a progressive and Zionist, interpreting his life from a new perspective that solidly establishes him as one of the great reformers in American history, and one of the greatest legal craftsmen ever to sit on the high court. -- from Book Jacket.