Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Law & Politics Book Reviews: Quakers, Labor, and more

The Law and Politics Book Review has released a new batch of reviews. Here are a few that may be of interest:

Friends at the Bar: A Quaker View of Law, Conflict Resolution, and Legal Reform (State University of New York Press), by Nancy Black Sagafi-negad. [Not to be confused, as my Amazon search suggested, with "The Bartender's Best Friend: A Complete Guide to Cocktails, Martinis, and Mixed Drinks."] Here's an excerpt from the review, by Elizabeth Ellen Gordon (Kennesaw State University):
[Sagafi-negad's] first task is to demonstrate historically how Quaker beliefs and practices have impacted their relationship to law in England (where the Religious Society of Friends began) and later in America. The first chapter is a primer on Quaker belief and philosophy; here, Sagafi-nejad explains the Friends’ “testimonies,” namely peace, simplicity, equality, and truthfulness. In living their beliefs, Quakers have often found themselves on the wrong side of the law and have endured persecution as a result. Next, she explains that, despite the Society’s traditional reluctance to “go to law,” some faithful Quakers have nevertheless done just that. At several points, she considers the conditions under which legal involvement may be necessary or at least acceptable – from the Quaker point of view - to achieve a greater public good. She illustrates how Quaker plaintiffs and defendants have repeatedly won expanded civil liberties not only for Friends, but for others as well. Indeed, she provides an array of legal actions involving Quakers, perhaps most famously, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a 1969 Supreme Court case defining students’ free speech rights in conjunction with a black armband protest against the Vietnam War. Additionally, she discusses various instances of Quaker civil disobedience in opposition to war and slavery, among other societal evils. At times, court cases have arisen as institutional extensions of the civil disobedience strategy.
American Labor Struggles and Law Histories (Carolina Academic Press), edited by Kenneth Casebeer (mentioned yesterday, here). According to reviewer Richard A. Brisbin, Jr. (West Virginia University), the casebook's coverage is limited (it "focus[es] on the centrality of laborers’ struggles to gain denied power"), but the book remains "useful" and "stimulating." Read more here.

On this blog, we mention Lawrence Friedman and Chris Tomlins a lot -- and yet we missed this review, from the last issue of the LPBR. Follow the link to find out what Friedman thinks Freedom Bound is all about.