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New Library Acquisitions: April 2014

May 07, 2014

Biddle Law Library continues to acquire new print and electronic titles. Take a look at our recent acquisitions!

Some highlights include:


imageAustin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas & Martha Merrill Umphrey, eds.,Law and War (Stanford University Press, 2014). 

Law and War explores the cultural, historical, spatial, and theoretical dimensions of the relationship between law and war—a connection that has long vexed the jurisprudential imagination. Historically the term “war crime” struck some as redundant and others as oxymoronic: redundant because war itself is criminal; oxymoronic because war submits to no law. More recently, the remarkable trend toward the juridification of warfare has emerged, as law has sought to stretch its dominion over every aspect of the waging of armed struggle. No longer simply a tool for judging battlefield conduct, law now seeks to subdue warfare and to enlist it into the service of legal goals. Law has emerged as a force that stands over and above war, endowed with the power to authorize and restrain, to declare and limit, to justify and condemn.

In examining this fraught, contested, and evolving relationship, Law and War investigates such questions as: What can efforts to subsume war under the logic of law teach us about the aspirations and limits of law? How have paradigms of law and war changed as a result of the contact with new forms of struggle? How has globalization and continuing practices of occupation reframed the relationship between law and war?”


imageRobert L. Tsai, America’s Forgotten Constitutions (Harvard University Press, 2014)

America’s Forgotten Constitutions is the story of America as told by dissenters: squatters, Native Americans, abolitionists, socialists, internationalists, and racial nationalists. Beginning in the nineteenth century, Tsai chronicles eight episodes in which discontented citizens took the extraordinary step of drafting a new constitution. He examines the alternative Americas envisioned by John Brown (who dreamed of a republic purged of slavery), Robert Barnwell Rhett (the Confederate “father of secession”), and Etienne Cabet (a French socialist who founded a utopian society in Illinois). Other dreamers include the University of Chicago academics who created a world constitution for the nuclear age; the Republic of New Afrika, which demanded a separate country carved from the Deep South; and the contemporary Aryan movement, which plans to liberate America from multiculturalism and feminism.

Countering those who treat constitutional law as a single tradition, Tsai argues that the ratification of the Constitution did not quell debate but kindled further conflicts over basic questions of power and community. He explains how the tradition mutated over time, inspiring generations and disrupting the best-laid plans for simplicity and order. Idealists on both the left and right will benefit from reading these cautionary tales.”


imageCharles W. Calomiris & Stephen H. Haber, Fragile by Design: The Political Origins (Princeton University Press, 2014)

“Why are banking systems unstable in so many countries–but not in others? The United States has had twelve systemic banking crises since 1840, while Canada has had none. The banking systems of Mexico and Brazil have not only been crisis prone but have provided miniscule amounts of credit to business enterprises and households. Analyzing the political and banking history of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil through several centuries, Fragile by Design demonstrates that chronic banking crises and scarce credit are not accidents due to unforeseen circumstances. Rather, these fluctuations result from the complex bargains made between politicians, bankers, bank shareholders, depositors, debtors, and taxpayers. The well-being of banking systems depends on the abilities of political institutions to balance and limit how coalitions of these various groups influence government regulations.

Fragile by Design is a revealing exploration of the ways that politics inevitably intrudes into bank regulation. Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber combine political history and economics to examine how coalitions of politicians, bankers, and other interest groups form, why some endure while others are undermined, and how they generate policies that determine who gets to be a banker, who has access to credit, and who pays for bank bailouts and rescues.”