Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Deal reviews Banner, "American Property"

Via H-Law, we have a review of American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own (Harvard University Press, 2011), by Stuart Banner (UCLA).

According to reviewer Robert C. Deal (Marshall University), the book is "a rich addition to the discussion of the historical evolution in how Americans think about property" and "a joy to read." Here's more:
American Property is a welcome antidote to many standard discussions of property law which despite attention to iconic cases such as the 1805 matter of Pierson v. Post are oddly ahistorical in their treatment of what constitutes property. A fox, a beehive, or--by implication--an entire continent are all treated in much the same manner. Banner historicizes the issue by looking beyond the perennial law school question of what one must do to claim a piece of property. He deals, instead, with what sorts of things are considered property and how the interests competing for the monetary, ideological, or other value to be derived from these things shape the definition of property prevailing in any period. At the center of the book is Banner’s thesis that much of this change over time has been driven by advances in technology.
The full review is here.

American Property is also featured in the June 6 issue of Rorotoko. Following the site's standard format, Banner describes the book "in a nutshell" and from the "wide angle," then provides a "close-up" and a final take-away ("lastly").

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