MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of Justice by Michael Sandel

Justice

What's the Right Thing to Do?

by Michael J. Sandel

Justice by Michael J. Sandel X
Justice by Michael J. Sandel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2009, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Micah Gell-Redman
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Michael J. Sandel's "Justice" course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students.

What are our obligations to others as people in a free society? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Is killing sometimes morally required? Is it possible, or desirable, to legislate morality? Do individual rights and the common good conflict?

Michael J. Sandel’s “Justice” course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these conflicts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.

1. DOING THE RIGHT THING

In the summer of 2004, Hurricane Charley roared out of the Gulf of Mexico and swept across Florida to the Atlantic Ocean. The storm claimed twenty-two lives and caused $11 billion in damage. It also left in its wake a debate about price gouging.

At a gas station in Orlando, they were selling two-dollar bags of ice for ten dollars. Lacking power for refrigerators or air-conditioning in the middle of August, many people had little choice but to pay up. Downed trees heightened demand for chain saws and roof repairs. Contractors off red to clear two trees off a homeowner’s roof—for $23,000. Stores that normally sold small household generators for $250 were now asking $2,000. A seventy-seven-year-old woman fleeing the hurricane with her elderly husband and handicapped daughter was charged $160 per night for a motel room that normally goes for $40.2 Many Floridians were angered by the inflated prices. “After Storm Come the Vultures,&...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Below is part of the very extensive reading guide for Justice. Click here to download it in full as a PDF.

About This Guide

The topics and questions that follow are designed to enhance your reading of Justice. The first part of this guide contains questions for those who are just starting to think in terms of what the right thing to do is. The second part of this guide contains questions that are more advanced.

Introduction

What are our obligations to others as people in a free society? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Is killing sometimes morally required? Is it possible, or desirable, to ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In pushing us to track the movements of our own moral compasses, Sandel lays out before us a cavalcade of conundrums, many based on real-life events, and forces us to arrive at our own decisions about the correct course of action. Pondering these hypothetical scenarios is all the more compelling because Sandel offers a working vocabulary of right and wrong based on the competing principles of liberty, equality and fairness. Not only that, he manages to present solid arguments both for and against the positions he considers, placing the burden squarely on the reader to make up his or her own mind...continued

Full Review (579 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Micah Gell-Redman).

Media Reviews

The Seattle Times
For those seeking a short course through moral philosophy from a witty writer, fast on his feet, and nimble with his pen, this thin volume is difficult to beat.

The London Times
The lectures were provocative and challenging. [The book] is, sadly, a far less engaging, less lively version of Sandel’s argument, though the relationship with the radio lectures does come through. He is a charismatic speaker who attracts huge audiences, but, without the compelling delivery, readers may find it hard to sustain the sense of moral urgency that Sandel urges upon us. I would, however, encourage them to persevere.

Shelf Awareness
This stimulating volume.. succeeds admirably in translating to a wider audience the challenging moral dilemmas [Sandel] and his students confront and will help thoughtful readers focus their thinking about what a just society might look like while sharpening the vocabulary they call upon to express their views.

Publishers Weekly
Erudite, conversational and deeply humane, this is truly transformative reading.

Reader Reviews

Esperanza Reynolds

Justice, a subject that inspires reason
On Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, Lisa Moreno, Pablo Carvallo and I attended a book review at Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida. This book store chain has a calendar of events filled with exciting opportunities to get to know authors of books ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Michael J Sandel

If you liked Justice, try these:

  • The Lost Family jacket

    The Lost Family

    by Libby Copeland

    Published 2020

    About this book

    A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

  • Deadly Spin jacket

    Deadly Spin

    by Wendell Potter

    Published 2011

    About this book

    In Deadly Spin, Potter takes readers behind the scenes to show how a huge chunk of our absurd healthcare spending actually bankrolls a propaganda campaign and lobbying effort focused on protecting one thing: profits

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Death in Mud Lick
    Death in Mud Lick
    by Eric Eyre
    When Eric Eyre, investigative and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Daily, began ...
  • Book Jacket
    Orange World and Other Stories
    by Karen Russell
    Karen Russell has a tremendous gift for crafting uncanny, through-the-looking glass worlds that are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book of Longings
    The Book of Longings
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the life of Ana, a woman born in the Galilean city of ...
  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.