Sunday, May 12, 2013

Conservatives and the Law, When Congress Works, and More on "The Way of the Knife": This Week in the Book Pages

This week in the New York Times, Jeffrey Rosen reviews The Federalist Society: How Conservatives took the Law Back from Liberals (Vanderbilt) by Michael Avery and Daniel McLaughlin.  Rosen writes that "the Federalist Society model has been so successful that other organizations have adopted it — societies named after Benjamin Rush, Alexander Hamilton and Adam Smith have been started to promote conservative and free market ideas in medical education, foreign policy and business school."  The Federalist Society explains how it achieved that feat by "persuading the competing factions of the modern conservative movement to set aside their ideological differences"  and "converge around...'originalism'" 

The Washington Post (here) and the Wall Street Journal (here) have reviews of Robert G. Kaiser's Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How it Doesn't (Knopf).  According to Jesse Eisinger in the Washington Post, Kaiser's account of the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law "reminds you of those fairy tales that end with the wedding and don’t follow up to see how the prince and princess’s married life turns out."

In the LA Times (here) and in the New York Times (here) you'll find reviews of Mark Mazzetti's The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (Penguin).  Here's the intro to Fred Kaplan's review in the NY Times:
It’s hard to remember, but for the last quarter of the 20th century, the C.I.A. took no part in assassinating bad guys. How the agency transformed itself into “a killing machine, an organization consumed with manhunting,” is the subject of Mark Mazzetti’s fascinating, trenchant, sometimes tragicomic account, “The Way of the Knife.”
The New York Times also has a review of two books on World War I: Christopher Clark's Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Harper) and Sean McMeekin's July 1914: Countdown to War (Basic). 

And the Wall Street Journal has a review on two books about Henry Ford: Richard Snow's I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford (Scribner), and Vincent Curcio's Henry Ford (Oxford).