Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recommendations needed: 100 legal history books for ACLS e-book project

The American Society for Legal History has created a committee to pick 100 books in legal history for the American Council of Learned Society's humanities e-book project. The committee is interested in your recommendations for what books should be available on-line. A majority of the list will be American legal history, but it will include the rest of the world, too.

To recommend books for the ACLS e-book project, please comment on this blog and/or email Jed Shugerman at jshugerman@law.harvard.edu. Committee members are: Bruce Mann, chair; Charles Donahue, William Wiecek, Richard Bernstein and Jed Shugerman.

Here's the ACLS description of the e-book project:
Humanities E-Book is a digital collection of over 1,700 full-text titles offered by the ACLS in collaboration with twelve learned societies, nearly 95 contributing publishers, and librarians at the University of Michigan’s Scholarly Publishing Office. The result is an online, fully searchable collection of high-quality books in the Humanities, recommended and reviewed by scholars and featuring unlimited multi-user access and free, downloadable MARC records.
I expected that the books archived on-line would principally be classic older works that are out of print. If newer books were included, I assumed that they were unlikely to be commercially viable, since availability on-line might cut down on print sales. Both assumptions turned out to be wrong. Older works are certainly included, such as White Supremacy: a comparative study in American and South African history, by George Fredrickson (published in 1981, but still in print), but so are recent works. Race and reunion: the Civil War in American memory by David W. Blight is on the site. This book won several prizes and continues to sell well in print. The site has a great diversity of works.

Some works in legal history are already part of the ACLS project, including Devising liberty: preserving and creating freedom in the new American Republic by David Konig; Rethinking the new deal court: the structure of a constitutional revolution by Barry Cushman; Lawyers against labor: from individual rights to corporate liberalism by Daniel Ernst; The county courts of medieval England, 1150-1350 by Robert Palmer; Enterprise and American law, 1836-1937 by Herbert Hovenkamp; Abe Fortas: a biography by Laura Kalman; The Fourteenth Amendment: from political principle to judicial doctrine by William Nelson; Man and wife in America: a history by Hendrik Hartog, and more! Information on how to access these e-books is here.

Justice Accused: Antislavery and the Judicial Process by Robert M. Cover is not on the list, so I'll kick off the LHB recommendations with this one.