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Footnotes 2017-2018 > Summer Reading—Not My Typical Beach Reads

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message 1: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I admit that my summer reading is typically full of beach reads and contemporary romance, but this summer will be a little different.

For law school, I am taking a summer class on Social Justice where we learn about lawyers and movements that have worked to create social change through the legal system. This is right up my alley and I am really looking forward to it.

Instead of reading a boring text book, the prof is assigning popular nonfiction books. Great, right? He is assigning seven popular nonfiction books. Oof. That is a lot for me.

But, I thought I would share the list if anyone is curious!

The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow—Darrow is most well known for defending Scope in the Scopes Monkey Trials, but he also defended many black men in criminal cases at a time when it was impossible for a black man to get a fair trail. He got an amazing number of hung juries, and many believe it was through bribery.

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King—we all know Marshall as a giant in equal rights, but this is the story of one of his iconic cases that is less well known, the defense of three black men in Florida accused of murder and the racist, corrupt sheriff of the county.

The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company--And Won by Gerald M. Stern—negligent dam construction by a coal company resulted in flooding and the killing of over 100 people at a time when industries, especially coal, were rarely held responsible in class action cases. Not this time.

Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon by Justin Martin—focuses on Nader's crusade to improve auto safety and take on GM, Microsoft, big pharma, and whether is presidential campaign is what cost Al Gore the 2000 election.

Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Story by Abbe Smith—a law student (!) at Harvard was enrolled in a law clinic and met a woman who was in prison for robbery and murder based on unreliable evidence. Smith worked for decades to get the woman parole.

William M. Kunstler: the Most Hated Lawyer in America by David J. Langum—a civil rights lawyer in the 60s and 70s, Kunstler was known for defending minorities and people he felt were victims of government persecution. It resulted in an odd mix of clients from the Freedom Riders to Jack Ruby to Native Americans to known mobsters.

The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law by Steven M. Teles—focuses on how the conservative legal movement became organized in the 1970s to be the deeply organized network of today.

Just thought I would share in case any of these pique others' interests, and in case you wonder why I will have all of these super serious (and some quite long!) legal books on my summer reading list!


message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments What an amazing list of books Nicole! It sounds like a fabulous unit to be studying.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9391 comments Sounds like a great list! Make sure to throw just one of your poolside summer romance is in just for fun. Finally we’re getting the beautiful weather.


message 4: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3112 comments Devil in the Grove has been on my list for a while. Looking forward to what you have to say about it.

Years and years ago, I read Adela Roger St John's Final Verdict about her father's defense of Clarence Darrow against bribery charges. It was interesting, but I don't remeber much of the details. (17 was a long time ago.)


message 5: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Jgrace wrote: "Devil in the Grove has been on my list for a while. Looking forward to what you have to say about it."

I actually have read Devil in the Grove, read it just last year, and it was phenomenal. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

You can see my review at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 6: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3112 comments Nicole R wrote: "Jgrace wrote: "Devil in the Grove has been on my list for a while. Looking forward to what you have to say about it."

I actually have read Devil in the Grove, read it just last year, and it was ph..."


Now I remember your review. That's probably why it's on my list.


message 7: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6758 comments I didn't realize you were taking a summer course. This sounds pretty fascinating. I love non-fiction, but that's a pretty hefty reading list. On the flip side, beats a text book!! Can't wait to see your reviews. I hope you will share your thoughts here . . .


message 8: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Intense, but fascinating. Ty for sharing, and good luck with your studies!


message 9: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6896 comments Nicole R wrote: "I admit that my summer reading is typically full of beach reads and contemporary romance, but this summer will be a little different.

For law school, I am taking a summer class on Social Justice w..."


Looks like much good reading. I would be interested in The Buffalo Creek Disaster.


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) (btw, ty for spelling 'pique' correctly :)


message 11: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Cheryl wrote: "(btw, ty for spelling 'pique' correctly :)"

Ha! You are welcome ;)


message 12: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I will certainly post all of my reviews here! I actually may try and keep this thread in mind and can post them here and in the appropriate monthly folder if people are interested.

Anita, I needed to take at least one class a summer to make this part time law school thing work. I took two classes each my first two summers though, so I took last summer off. Which was glorious!

But, the best news is that this is my LAST SUMMER OF LAW SCHOOL! This time next year I will officially have my JD (barring my flunking these classes. lol)


message 13: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments And, I totally agree that this is better than reading a text book!

I took one other class in law school where we read popular nonfiction, Simple Justice, which was an in-depth analysis of Brown v. Board of Education including society and civil rights at the time, the cases leading up to Brown, analysis of the justices, and, of course, lots of focus on Thurgood Marshall and NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

It was one of my favorite classes, so I have high hopes for this one too!


message 14: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7482 comments Interesting list, and this will make great fodder for class discussion! I read your review of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America which is the only one of possible interest to me at this juncture. I'm glad you included your email exchange with the author at the end of it, which reminds us all of how edits can result in mistakes, but also of the integrity of the author.


message 15: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments Good luck on the class and finishing a milestone. I look forward to your reviews. Looks like an interesting list.


message 16: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments Parts of the list are very tempting, and your review is so great it makes me wanna run to the bookstore.

Also - I loved your email to the author. Point presented like a true lawyer :)
(Not that i know much about lawyers beyond, say, legally blonde, but still)


message 17: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6758 comments Nicole R wrote: "I will certainly post all of my reviews here! I actually may try and keep this thread in mind and can post them here and in the appropriate monthly folder if people are interested.

Anita, I needed..."


That is so exciting, Nicole!!! You've worked so hard . . .so impressed. Really. I thought you took last summer off, lol. Glad my memory isn't the complete sieve I think it is. One course sounds at least reasonable. We need to celebrate when you finish!!


message 18: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Anita, celebrations for sure!


message 19: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Aw, thanks, Idit!


message 20: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9085 comments 7 is a lot, but I love that he's getting you to read stuff like this rather than traditional textbooks! Seems so much more fun and interesting!


message 21: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9085 comments ...And a social justice class really does sound interesting!


message 22: by KateNZ (last edited Apr 27, 2018 08:53PM) (new)

KateNZ | 2679 comments Very cool list and a great idea by your prof. I'll have to pick some of these up - and I've got Simple Justice on the bedside table so that is a must too... (I think I'd have complaints from students if I set that much reading, but I might say to heck with it and give it a go one day :))

One of my favourite law classes was Legal History - my lecturer allowed me to do an essay on 18th-19th century English law as seen through novels of the time. I had a ball!


message 23: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5160 comments Good luck! Hope the class is fun for you - the books sound like great ones, but to read all of them in one summer sounds like a heavy load for me!


message 24: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments KateNZ wrote: "One of my favourite law classes was Legal History - my lecturer allowed me to do an essay on 18th-19th century English law as seen through novels of the time. I had a ball! ."

That sounds like a class I would love! The closest we have is just US Constitutional law, but it was so much history and I just adored it.

Kate, what do you teach? And, are you a lawyer/have a law degree?

I am sure the other students are complaining about how much reading it is, and it will be heavy for the summer, but I am looking forward to it. I am about halfway through the Darrow book and so far it is really interesting!


message 25: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments That list sounds a lot better than a dry textbook. Good luck!

I went to college with the guy who wrote Nader — we lived in the same dorm. I haven’t read anything by him yet, but I have his book about Olmsted ( designer of Central Park) on my TBR.


message 26: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments How interesting JoLene! I will definitely let you know if it is any good.


message 27: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. | 1497 comments sounds like the time for audio!


message 28: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Nicole D. wrote: "sounds like the time for audio!"

Shockingly, I cannot find a single one that I need to read on audio.

Devil in the Grove is on audio, and that is the format I read it in last year.

I am going to have to actually read words for the other ones! lol


message 29: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2679 comments Well words might be a lot quicker than audio for some of them!

Yes, I’m a lawyer - I was a law lecturer at the university for 10 years, but gave up tenure to work in a regulatory agency (for another decade) then hit private practice for Law Career v.3. I did some adjunct postgrad teaching in my specialist subject for the last three years but am having a break this year thank goodness - I love teaching, but it’s a lot on top of everything else.

I’m also a horribly unfit lawyer. Anita’s MLB challenge may be the cause of my early demise, lol! I forgot the Giants had a double-header this weekend (and we have another game today, whimper). Never mind my clients - I need to spend half the week in the gym ...


message 30: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6407 comments What a great list! I love it when professors get creative in the assignments.

As for your impending graduation ... I seriously think we need to organize a PBT road trip to attend!


message 31: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Kate, thanks for sharing your story! I did not realize that. My school has many adjunct professors who hold down “real jobs” during the day. I know it is a lot of work, but as a student I appreciate their time and commitment, and they are often the most interesting!

As you probably have picked up, i moonlight as a law student, but am looking forward to finishing up next year and hopefully finding gainful employment in the legal field 😬 Transitions are definitely scary but stories like yours remind me that people successfully find employment regularly 😳


message 32: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments BC, we will for sure have an online celebration! PBT has played a huge role in my law school education by keeping me sane and making sure I have plenty of excellent choices for my “for fun” reads 😁


message 33: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9391 comments Us locals are going to have to get creative to help you celebrate! Your graduation could cause me to finally agree to a meetup. Karin, are you in? I still think the best Boston locale for our group is the Trident Bookstore Cafe. Plus Eataly is nearby. I think Karin hangs near there often enough. But I’d even cross state lines for you. I’d love to toast you Nicole. You have worked so hard and diligently. Even thrown in a healthy dose of Nora in between your studies. What kind of a lawyer will you be? Just in case I ever get in trouble?


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