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Featured Acquisitions - November 2010

 

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Priceless : How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman with John Shiffman
New York : Crown Publishers, c2010  1st ed
N8795.5.W58 W58 2010   Basement

The Wall Street Journal called him "a living legend." The London Times dubbed him "the most famous art detective in the world." In Priceless, Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI's Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair. Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid. In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation's first African-American regiments. The breadth of Wittman's exploits is unmatched: he traveled the world to rescue paintings by Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro, Monet and Picasso, often working undercover overseas at the whim of foreign governments. Closer to home, he recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights and cracked the scam that rocked the PBS series Antiques Roadshow. By the FBI's accounting, Wittman saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities. He says the statistic isn't important. After all, who's to say what is worth more --a Rembrandt self-portrait or an American flag carried into battle? They're both priceless. The art thieves and scammers Wittman caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners. The smuggler who brought him a looted 6th-century treasure turned out to be a high-ranking diplomat. The appraiser who stole countless heirlooms from war hero's descendants was a slick, aristocratic con man. The museum janitor who made off with locks of George Washington's hair just wanted to make a few extra bucks, figuring no one would miss what he'd filched. In his final case, Wittman called on every bit of knowledge and experience in his arsenal to take on his greatest challenge: working undercover to track the vicious criminals behind what might be the most audacious art theft of all.


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In The Courts Of The Conqueror : The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided  by Walter R. Echo-Hawk
Golden, Colo. : Fulcrum Publishing, c2010
KF8205 .E29 2010  Balcony

No one enjoys being told that the emperor he or she admires is naked or that a much-cherished justice system has historically visited injustice on the First Nations of America. Accordingly, Echo-Hawk (former staff attorney, Native American Rights Fund) will no doubt receive a great deal of criticism for his series of scathing accounts of the most unjust judgments that have scarred American judicial history and continue to influence contemporary events. Nevertheless, the depth of research and the breadth of scholarship ensure that his conclusions will stand the test of academic scrutiny. Echo-Hawk's greatest contribution may be in explaining to the country's indigenous peoples why they possess so little land and have struggled with so many issues over the last two centuries. His strongest trait may be his ability to weave polemical words such as concentration camp, ethnic cleansing, and Bureau of Caucasian Affairs into an easily read and understood account of the distant past as it explains the present day. Verdict:  A no-holds-barred account that deserves wide distribution.


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Fugitive Justice : Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial  by Steven Lubet
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010
 KF221.P6 L83 2010  Balcony

During the tumultuous decade before the Civil War, no issue was more divisive than the pursuit and return of fugitive slaves, a practice enforced under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. When free Blacks and their abolitionist allies intervened, prosecutions and trials inevitably followed. These cases involved high legal, political, and most of all, human drama, with runaways desperate for freedom, their defenders seeking recourse to a “higher law” and normally fair-minded judges (even some opposed to slavery) considering the disposition of human beings as property.  Fugitive Justice tells the stories of three of the most dramatic fugitive slave trials of the 1850s, bringing to vivid life the determination of the fugitives, the radical tactics of their rescuers, the brutal doggedness of the slave hunters, and the tortuous response of the federal courts. These cases underscore the crucial role that runaway slaves played in building the tensions that led to the Civil War, and they show us how ”civil disobedience” developed as a legal defense. As they unfold we can also see how such trials, whether of rescuers or of the slaves themselves, helped build the northern anti-slavery movement, even as they pushed southern firebrands closer to secession.  How could something so evil be treated so routinely by just men? The answer says much about how deeply the institution of slavery had penetrated American life even in free states. Fugitive Justice powerfully illuminates this painful episode in American history, and its role in the nation’s inexorable march to war.


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Sonia Sotomayor : The True American Dream by Antonia Felix
New York : Berkley Books, 2010  1st ed
KF8745.S67 F45 2010  Balcony

National bestselling biographer Felix delves behind the headlines to tell the compelling story of how the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants living in the South Bronx became one of the greatest legal minds in the country, and the third woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court.


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Dialectics, Dogmas, and Dissent : Stories from East German Victims of Human Rights Abuse by John Rodden
University Park, PA : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2010
JC599.G3 R64 2010  Sohn Library

Accounts of human rights violations committed from the 1950s to the 1980s by the communist dictatorship in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR)


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Learned Hand : The Man and the Judge by Gerald Gunther
New York : Oxford University Press, c2011
KF373.H29 G76 2011  Balcony

Billings Learned Hand was one of the most influential judges in America. In Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge, Gerald Gunther provides a complete and intimate account of the professional and personal life of Learned Hand. He conveys the substance and range of Hand's judicial and intellectual contributions with eloquence and grace. This second edition features photos of Learned Hand throughout his life and career, and includes a foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Gunther, a former law clerk for Hand, reviewed much of Hand's published work, opinions, and correspondence. He meticulously describes Hand's cases, and discusses the judge's professional and personal life as interconnected with the political and social circumstances of the times in which he lived. Born in 1872, Hand served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He clearly crafted and delivered thousands of decisions in a wide range of cases through extensive, conscientious investigation and analysis, while at the same time exercising wisdom and personal detachment. His opinions are still widely quoted today, and will remain as an everlasting tribute to his life and legacy.


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Before Brown : Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice by Gary M. Lavergne
Austin : University of Texas Press, 2010
LC212.722.T4 L38 2010 Basement

On February 26, 1946, an African American from Houston applied for admission to the University of Texas School of Law. Although he met all of the school's academic qualifications, Heman Marion Sweatt was denied admission because he was black. He challenged the university's decision in court, and the resulting case, Sweatt v. Painter, went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in Sweatt's favor. The Sweatt case paved the way for the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka rulings that finally opened the doors to higher education for all African Americans and desegregated public education in the United States. In this engrossing, well-researched book, Gary M. Lavergne tells the fascinating story of Heman Sweatt's struggle for justice and how it became a milestone for the civil rights movement. He reveals that Sweatt was a central player in a master plan conceived by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for ending racial segregation in the United States. Lavergne masterfully describes how the NAACP used the Sweatt case to practically invalidate the "separate but equal" doctrine that had undergirded segregated education for decades. He also shows how the Sweatt case advanced the career of Thurgood Marshall, whose advocacy of Sweatt taught him valuable lessons that he used to win the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 and ultimately led to his becoming the first black Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.


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Sports Justice : The Law & the Business of Sports by Roger I. Abrams
Boston : Northeastern University Press ; Hanover [N.H.] : Published by University Press of New England, c2010
KF3989 .A934 2010  Balcony

Americans, brought up playing or watching sports, absorb the notions of fair play not simply as integral themes of sportsmanship on the field, but also as values they try to carry into their everyday lives. In this accessible and fascinating look at law and sports, Roger I. Abrams shines the lights on the uniquely complex and important legal issues that face both amateur and professional athletes. From cases involving Title IX, transgendered athletes, rights of the disabled, violence on the playing field, individual and franchise free-agency, amateurism and college sports, and responsibility of leagues for the safety and lifelong health of injured players, Abrams weaves a profoundly moving and immediately relevant story of ever broadening access to, and expanding rights within, the field of sports. Abrams illuminates these legal cases through compelling storytelling and personal explorations of those involved, such as Jeremy Bloom, the world champion mogul skier who was barred from playing college football because he had modeled clothes for Tommy Hilfiger, and Casey Martin, Renee Richards, and the young gymnasts from Brown University who sought access to the sports they loved, but found that their quest to achieve justice required judicial intervention. There is also one non-athlete: Al Davis, the renegade owner of the Oakland Raiders, who beat the National Football League cartel using the antitrust laws in his effort to gain the respect he was always denied. Written for sports fans and legal scholars alike, this is an engrossing and surprising story of people battling for their careers and lives, and in the process changing the very nature of sports and society.


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The Last Gasp : The Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber  by Scott Christianson
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c2010
HV8699.U5 C415 2010  Basement

The Last Gasp takes us to the dark side of human history in the first full chronicle of the gas chamber in the United States. In page-turning detail, award-winning writer Scott Christianson tells a dreadful story that is full of surprising and provocative new findings. First constructed in Nevada in 1924, the gas chamber, a method of killing sealed off and removed from the sight and hearing of witnesses, was originally touted as a "humane" method of execution. Delving into science, war, industry, medicine, law, and politics, Christianson overturns this mythology for good. He exposes the sinister links between corporations looking for profit, the military, and the first uses of the gas chamber after World War I. He explores little-known connections between the gas chamber and the eugenics movement. Perhaps most controversially, he has unearthed new evidence about American and German collaboration in the production and lethal use of hydrogen cyanide, and about Hitler's adoption of gas chamber technology developed in the U.S. More than a book about the death penalty, this compelling history ultimately reveals much about America's values and power structures in the twentieth century.


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Justice Brennan : Liberal Champion  by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
KF8745.B68 S74 2010 Balcony

This book is a sweeping and revealing insider look at court history and the life of William Brennan, champion of free speech and public access to information, and widely considered the most influential Supreme Court justice of the twentieth century. Before his death, Brennan granted coauthor Stephen Wermiel access to a trove of personal and court materials that will not be available to the public until 2017. Wermiel also conducted more than 60 hours of interviews with Brennan over the course of six years. No other biographer has enjoyed this kind of access to a Supreme Court justice or to his papers.   Justice Brennan makes public for the first time the contents of what Jeffrey Toobin calls “a coveted set of documents.” In Brennan’s case histories, he recorded the strategizing behind all the major battles of the past half century, including Roe v. Wade, affirmative action, the death penalty, obscenity law, and the constitutional right to privacy. Revelations on a more intimate scale include how Brennan refused to hire female clerks even as he wrote groundbreaking women’s rights decisions, his complex stance as a justice and a Catholic, and new details on Brennan’s unprecedented working relationship with Chief Justice Earl Warren.  This riveting information, intensely valuable to readers of all political persuasions, will cement Brennan’s reputation as epic playmaker of the Court’s most liberal era.


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See Government Grow : Education Politics from Johnson to Reagan by Gareth Davies
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2007
LC89 .D38 2007  Basement

When Congress endorsed massive aid to schools in 1965, the idea that the federal government had any responsibility for public education was controversial. Twenty years later, not only had that controversy dissipated, but Washington's role in education had dramatically expanded. Gareth Davies explores how both conservatives and liberals came to embrace the once daring idea of an active federal role in elementary and secondary education and uses that case to probe the persistence, and growth, of big government during a supposedly anti-government era. By focusing on institutional changes in government that accompanied the civil rights revolution, Davies shows how initially fragile programs put down roots, built a constituency, and became entrenched. He explains why the federal role in schools continued to expand in the post-LBJ years as the reform impulse became increasingly detached from electoral politics, centering instead on the courts and the federal bureaucracy. Meanwhile, southern resistance to school desegregation had discredited the "states rights" argument, making it easier for conservatives as well as liberals to seek federal solutions to social problems. Although LBJ's landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act deferred to local control, the legislation of the Nixon-Ford years issued directives that posed greater challenges to traditional federalism than Johnson's grand ideals. As Davies shows, the new political climate saw the achievement of such breakthroughs as mandated bilingual education, school finance reform, and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, measures that, before the seventies, would have been considered unthinkably intrusive by liberals as well as conservatives. And when Ronald Reagan promised to abolish the Department of Education, conservatives worked with liberals to derail his agenda. Davies' surprising study shows that the distancing of American conservatism from its anti-statist traditions helped pave the way for today's "big government conservatism," which enabled a Republican-dominated Congress to pass No Child Left Behind. By revealing the endurance of Great Society values during a period of Republican ascendance, his book opens a window on our political process and offers new insight into what really makes government grow.


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The Right to Earn a Living : Economic Freedom and the Law by Timothy Sandefur
Washington, D.C. : Cato Institute, c2010
KF4753 .S26 2010  Balcony

Sandefur, an attorney for the economic liberty project at the Pacific Legal Foundation and a scholar at the Cato Institute, describes the local, state, and federal government interference with citizens' economic freedom and their rights to own a business and earn a living. He describes cases (including those he participated in) that demonstrate the issues relating to these rights, beginning with the common-law tradition of legal protections for economic liberty in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He then explains how terms like monopoly and corporation evolved and negatively influence the right to earn a living; the Constitution's contracts clause, which protects this right but is largely ignored; the theory of substantive due process and the case of Lochner v. New York; the rational basis test incorporated by the New Deal Supreme Court; how the government abuses its powers to protect favored businesses against competition; the dormant commerce clause; the free speech rights of business owners; and the impact of tort theories and courts, regulatory takings, and the future of rights. Some parts of the book have been adapted from articles originally published in law journals