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Thurman Wesley Arnold has had, over the last half century (and a
bit more), a varied, successful, and eminently useful career at the bar. He
has been an elected official, a practicing lawyer, a professor of law, a high
official of the Department of Justice, a federal appellate judge and again
a practicing lawyer. His cursus honorum thus includes, as is no longer
very common among American lawyers, most of the jobs in which a lawyer
can advantageously employ his legal education. In each of them he has
distinguished himself above the common, but in none could it fairly be
said that he has stood in the very first rank. Were this all, this combination
of autobiography and chrestomathy would be of interest only to sedulous graduate students delving into the minutiae of the Age of Roosevelt.
But it is not all. In one art Arnold stands without a master or a peer:
he is the ablest living teller of funny stories, many of them his own, and,
what is still more remarkable, most of them printable. What Boswell is
among biographers, what Newton is among mathematicians, what Shakespeare is among playwrights. Thurman Arnold is among after-dinner
speakers. Nor is this praise intended as a sneer; the splendid practitioner
of a humble art is far rarer and far more deserving of public esteem than
is the converse.

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