Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Featured Book of the Week

This Week's Featured Book is An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln by Mark E. Steiner and published by Northern Illinois University Press.

“Abraham Lincoln practiced law for nearly 25 years, five times longer than he served as president. Nonetheless, this aspect of his life was known only in the broadest outlines until the Lincoln Legal Papers project set to work gathering the surviving documentation of more than 5,600 of his cases…This portrait not only depicts Lincoln’s work for the railroads and the infamous case in which he defended the claims of a slaveholder; it also illustrates his more typical cases involving debt and neighborly disputes…Most important, Steiner highlights Lincoln’s guiding principles as a lawyer. In contrast to the popular caricature of the lawyer as a scoundrel, Lincoln followed his personal resolve to be "honest at all events," thus earning the nickname "Honest Abe." For him, honesty meant representing clients to the best of his ability, regardless of his own beliefs about the justice of their cause. Lincoln also embraced a professional ideal that cast the lawyer as a guardian of order…Over the course of his legal career, however, Lincoln’s dedication to the community and his clients’ personal interests became outmoded. As a result of the rise of powerful, faceless corporate clients and the national debate over slavery, Lincoln the lawyer found himself in an increasingly impersonal, morally ambiguous world.” - Book Description

An Honest Calling will be available to borrow after Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Featured Book of the Week

This Week's Featured Book is To Have and to Hold: Marrying and its Documentation in Western Christendom, 400-1600, edited by Philip L. Reynolds and John Witte, Jr. and published by Cambridge University Press.

“This volume analyzes how, why, and when pre-modern Europeans documented their marriages - through property settlements, prenuptial contracts, court testimony, church weddings, and more. The authors consider both the function of documentation in the process of marrying and what the surviving documents say about pre-modern marriage. After analyzing the foundations of Western marriage set by Roman law and Patristic theology, the chapters provide vivid case studies of marital documents and practices in medieval France, England, Iceland, and Ireland, and in Renaissance Florence, Douai, and Geneva.”- Book Description

To Have and to Hold will be available to borrow after Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

This Week's Featured Book

The Featured Book of the Week is The Trial in American Life by Robert A. Ferguson and published by The University of Chicago Press.

“Since the earliest days of our nation, high-profile trials have captivated the American imagination. But such trials are more than mere spectacle: by providing a forum for discussion of contentious issues, they also serve as public ceremonies and barometers of thought. In The Trial in American Life, Robert Ferguson argues that we can only understand the importance of pivotal trials by examining their public impact as well as their legal significance…Ultimately, such questions lead Ferguson to the issue of modern press coverage of courtrooms. While acknowledging that media accounts can skew perceptions, Ferguson argues forcefully in favor of television coverage—and he takes the Supreme Court to task for its failure to grasp the importance of this issue. Trials must be seen to be understood, but Ferguson reminds us that we have a duty, currently ignored, to ensure that cameras serve the court rather than the media…”- Book Description

“A distinguished law professor, accomplished historian, and fine writer, Robert Ferguson is uniquely qualified to narrate and analyze high-profile trials in American History. This is a superb book and a tremendous achievement. The chapter on John Brown alone is worth the price of admission.” – Judge Richard A. Posner

The Trial in American Life will be available to borrow after Friday, November 16, 2007