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Featured Acquisitions - June 2012

 

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To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders by Bernard Bailyn
New York: Knopf, 2003
E302.1 .B16 2003 Basement

Two time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Bernard Bailyn has distilled a lifetime of study into this brilliant illumination of the ideas and world of the Founding Fathers. In five succinct essays he reveals the origins, depth, and global impact of their extraordinary creativity. The opening essay illuminates the central importance of America's provincialism to the formation of a truly original political system. In the chapters following, he explores the ambiguities and achievements of Jefferson's career, Benjamin Franklin's changing image and supple diplomacy, the circumstances and impact of the "Federalist Papers," and the continuing influence of American constitutional thought throughout the Atlantic world. To Begin the World Anew enlivens our appreciation of how America came to be and deepens our understanding of the men who created it.
 
 
 


   

Frederick Douglass by William S. McFeely
New York: Norton, 1991
E449.D75 M374 1991 Basement

A former slave, orator, journalist, autobiographer, and revolutionary on behalf of a just America, Douglass was a towering figure, at once consummately charismatic and flawed. In this biography, fresh and incisive in its research and interpretation, Freeley captures the many sides of this great and complex American, and recreates the high drama of a turbulent era.
 
 
 


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“Partly Laws Common to All Mankind”: Foreign Law in American Courts by Jeremy Waldron
New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 2012
KF358 .W35 2012 Balcony

Should judges in United States courts be permitted to cite foreign laws in their rulings? In this book Jeremy Waldron explores some ideas in jurisprudence and legal theory that could underlie the Supreme Court's occasional recourse to foreign law, especially in constitutional cases. He argues that every society is governed not only by its own laws but partly also by laws common to all mankind (ius gentium). But he takes the unique step of arguing that this common law is not natural law but a grounded consensus among all nations. The idea of such a consensus will become increasingly important in jurisprudence and public affairs as the world becomes more globalized.
 
 
 
 


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With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald
New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co., 2011
KF4764 .G74 2011 Balcony

From the nation's beginnings, the law was to be the great equalizer in American life, the guarantor of a common set of rules for all. But over the past four decades, the principle of equality before the law has been effectively abolished. Instead, a two-tiered system of justice ensures that the country's political and financial class is virtually immune from prosecution, licensed to act without restraint, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than in any other country in the world. Starting with Watergate, continuing on through the Iran-Contra scandal, and culminating with Obama's shielding of Bush-era criminals from prosecution, Glenn Greenwald lays bare the mechanisms that have come to shield the elite from accountability. He shows how the media, both political parties, and the courts have abetted a process that has produced torture, war crimes, domestic spying, and financial fraud. Cogent, sharp, and urgent, With Liberty and Justice for Some is a no-holds-barred indictment of a profoundly un-American system that sanctions immunity at the top and mercilessness for everyone else.


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Law in American History by G. Edward White
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
KF352 .W48 2012 v.1 Balcony

In the first of the three volumes of his projected comprehensive narrative history of the role of law in America from the colonial years through the twentieth century, G. Edward White takes up the central themes of American legal history from the earliest European settlements through the Civil War. Included in the coverage of this volume are the interactions between European and Amerindian legal systems in the years of colonial settlement; the crucial role of Anglo-American theories of sovereignty and imperial governance in facilitating the separation of the American colonies from the British Empire in the late eighteenth century; the American "experiment" with federated republican constitutionalism in the founding period; the major importance of agricultural house holding, in the form of slave plantations as well as farms featuring wage labor, in helping to shape the development of American law in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the emergence of the Supreme Court of the United States as an authoritative force in American law and politics in the early nineteenth century; the interactions between law, westward expansion, and transformative developments in transportation and communication in the antebellum years; the contributions of American legal institutions to the dissolution of the Union of American states in the three decades after 1830; and the often-overlooked legal history of the Confederacy and Union governments during the Civil War. White incorporates recent scholarship in anthropology, ethnography, and economic, political, intellectual and legal history to produce a narrative that is both revisionist and accessible, taking up the familiar topics of race, gender, slavery, and the treatment of native Americans from fresh perspectives. Along the way he provides a compelling case for why law can be seen as the key to understanding the development of American life as we know it. Law in American History, Volume 1 will be an essential text for both students of law and general readers.


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The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business by Peter Coughter
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
HF5718.22 .C68 2012 Basement

Occasionally, a great idea will sell itself. The other 99% of the time, you have to find a way to persuade others that it is, in fact, a great idea. Most executives spend the vast majority of their time creating their work, and almost no time on the presentation. Through an engaging and humorous narrative, Peter Coughter presents the tools he designed to help advertising and marketing professionals develop persuasive presentations that deliver business. Readers will learn how to hone their individual natural presentation style, how to organize a powerful presentation, how to harness the elegant power of simplicity, how to truly connect with an audience, how to rehearse effectively, and most importantly, how to win.
 
 
 
 


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Rendition to Torture by Alan W. Clarke
New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2012
KF9635 .C53 2012 Balcony

Universally condemned and everywhere illegal, torture goes on in democracies as well as in dictatorships. Nonetheless, many Americans were surprised following the attacks of 9/11 at how easily the United States embraced torture as well as the supposedly lesser evil of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Nothing seemed extreme when it came to questioning real and imagined terrorists. Extraordinary rendition-sending people captured in the "war on terror" to nations long counted among the world's worst human rights violators-hid from the public eye cruel and bloody interrogations. "Torture lite" or "torture without marks" became the norm for those in American custody. In Rendition to Torture, Alan W. Clarke explains how the United States adopted torture as a matter of official policy; how and why it turned to extraordinary rendition as a way to outsource more extreme, mutilating forms of torture; and outlines the steps the United States took to hide its abuses. Many adverse consequences attended American use of torture. False information gleaned from torture was used to justify the Iraq war, adding potency to the charge that the war was illegal under international law. Moreover, European nations and Canada aided, abetted, and became thoroughly enmeshed in U.S.-led torture and renditions, thereby spreading both the problem and the blame for this practice. Clarke offers an extended critique of these activities, placing them in historical and legal context as well as in transnational and comparative perspective.


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Flagrant Conduct: the Story of Lawrence v. Texas: How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans by Dale Carpenter
New York: W.W. Norton, 2012
KF224.L39 C37 2012 Balcony

No one could have predicted that the night of September 17, 1998, would be anything but routine in Houston, Texas. Even the call to police that a black man was "going crazy with a gun" was hardly unusual in this urban setting. Nobody could have imagined that the arrest of two men for a minor criminal offense would reverberate in American constitutional law, exposing a deep malignity in our judicial system and challenging the traditional conception of what makes a family. Indeed, when Harris County sheriff's deputies entered the second-floor apartment, there was no gun. Instead, they reported that they had walked in on John Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex in Lawrence's bedroom. So begins Dale Carpenter's "gripping and brilliantly researched" Flagrant Conduct, a work nine years in the making that transforms our understanding of what we thought we knew about Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision of 2003 that invalidated America's sodomy laws. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Carpenter has taken on the "gargantuan" task of extracting the truth about the case, analyzing the claims of virtually every person involved. Carpenter first introduces us to the interracial defendants themselves, who were hardly prepared "for the strike of lightning" that would upend their lives, and then to the Harris County arresting officers, including a sheriff's deputy who claimed he had "looked eye to eye" in the faces of the men as they allegedly fornicated. Carpenter skillfully navigates Houston's complex gay world of the late 1990s, where a group of activists and court officers, some of them closeted themselves, refused to bury what initially seemed to be a minor arrest. The author charts not only the careful legal strategy that Lambda Legal attorneys adopted to make the case compatible to a conservative Supreme Court but also the miscalculations of the Houston prosecutors who assumed that the nation's extant sodomy laws would be upheld. Masterfully reenacting the arguments that riveted spectators and Justices alike in 2003, Flagrant Conduct then reaches a point where legal history becomes literature, animating a Supreme Court decision as few writers have done. In situating Lawrence v. Texas within the larger framework of America's four-century persecution of gay men and lesbians, Flagrant Conduct compellingly demonstrates that gay history is an integral part of our national civil rights story.


   

Laying Waste: the Poisoning of America by Toxic Chemicals by Michael H. Brown
New York, NY: Pantheon Book, 1980
TD811.5 .B76 1980 Basement

On August 2, 1978, after an epidemic of miscarriages, birth defects, cancers and other grave medical problems, the State of New York declared an emergency in the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls and announced the permanent evacuation of 200 homes. This unprecedented action and its aftermath still resonate in the news. No one was more instrumental in the state’s momentous decision than Michael Brown, who, as a reporter on the Niagara Gazette, wrote more than 100 stories piecing together the grisly saga of Love Canal – the story of enormous amounts of toxic chemical wastes dumped into a residential area by the Hooker Chemical Company. For his work, Brown was rewarded with three Pulitzer Prize nominations and a special award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Michael Brown begins this chilling book with a complete story of Love Canal, recounting it only as a key participant in the unfolding events and a friend of the victims could. Not stopping with Love Canal, he travels into every section of the United States, demonstrating in case after case that Love Canal is only the first of many such “toxic time-bombs waiting to go off.” The Environmental Protection Agency has conservatively estimated that there are over 50,000 hazardous waste dumps; Mike Brown’s personal investigations of many of them persuade us that the toxic chemical wastes now poisoning our water, land and air are indeed the most serious environmental problem of the next decades.


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Representing the Race: the Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer by Kenneth W. Mack
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012
KF372 .M33 2012 Balcony

Representing the Race tells the story of an enduring paradox of American race relations, through the prism of a collective biography of African American lawyers who worked in the era of segregation. Practicing the law and seeking justice for diverse clients, they confronted a tension between their racial identity as black men and women and their professional identity as lawyers. Both blacks and whites demanded that these attorneys stand apart from their racial community as members of the legal fraternity. Yet, at the same time, they were expected to be "authentic"-that is, in sympathy with the black masses. This conundrum, as Kenneth W. Mack shows, continues to reverberate through American politics today. Mack reorients what we thought we knew about famous figures such as Thurgood Marshall, who rose to prominence by convincing local blacks and prominent whites that he was-as nearly as possible-one of them. But he also introduces a little-known cast of characters to the American racial narrative. These include Loren Miller, the biracial Los Angeles lawyer who, after learning in college that he was black, became a Marxist critic of his fellow black attorneys and ultimately a leading civil rights advocate; and Pauli Murray, a black woman who seemed neither black nor white, neither man nor woman, who helped invent sex discrimination as a category of law. The stories of these lawyers pose the unsettling question: what, ultimately, does it mean to "represent" a minority group in the give-and-take of American law and politics?