Jack's Reviews > Lochner v. New York: Economic Regulation on Trial

Lochner v. New York by Paul Kens
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's review
Dec 05, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction, politics, history
Read in December, 2008

I haven't actually compiled a list of all the nonfiction books under 300 pages that I have read, but I do not doubt that Kens's "Lochner v. New York: Economic Regulation on Trial" was by far the greatest short nonfiction book I have ever read. In fewer than 200 pages Kens discusses New York machine politics, the Supreme Court, the court appeals process, the important political, legal, and economic personalities of the Industrial Revolution, judicial and legal theories, the Fourteenth Amendment, the due process clause, economic regulation in American history, and the specifics of the case at hand with a level of detail necessary to do justice to each topic in a lucid manner. I'm not a lawyer or legal scholar, so I'm not savvy enough to comment on the accuracy of Kens's book, but I think he does a fantastic job. The Industrial Revolution and the many good and bad effects of that powerful force can never be overstated, and the Lochner case, so it seems, brought many of the powerful arguments revolving around the Industrial Revolution to a pinpoint. Thankfully, over a century after that decision was announced to the nation (and not with much excitement at the time), we have Kens to thank for understanding it all. The only complaint I have with this book is the lack of citations. There should be in-text parenthetical sourcing or footnotes. Kens notes that in an earlier, and I'm guessing more scholarly, treatment he has all the citations necessary, but that's still not acceptable for this version. Thankfully there is a fairly thorough bibliographic essay at the end.
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