The New Book Shelf

by Shaker Teaspoon

Howdy, Shakers! Some of you might remember that I work at a law school library, and while most of what I deal with are books written by lawyers for lawyers and law students, every now and then we get a big batch of recent general treatises on the legal aspects of social justice topics. We received just such a shipment last week, and Liss has graciously agreed to allow me to share a list of recent social justice releases with you that may be of interest.

[Content Note: War, guns/gun control, addiction, food insecurity, criminalization of abortion, obstacles to marriage equality, climate change. Please note that I have only skimmed these materials as part of processing them, so I cannot offer detailed content notes for each book.]

Tapping into The Wire: The Real Urban Crisis. Peter L. Beilenson and Patrick A. McGuire. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-4214-0750-0. This book examines the television show The Wire through a progressive lens, from drug addiction and related violence as a public health issue, through poverty as a cause of poor health, to the link between malnutrition and obesity in food deserts.

Marriage at the Crossroads: Law, Policy, and the Brave New World of Twenty-First-Century Families. Marsha Garrison & Elizabeth Scott. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-107-01827-3. Garrison and Scott edit a compilation of discussions on the sociology of marriage and families, examining such topics as gender disparity and family diversity.

From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage. Michael J. Klarman. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-19-992210-9. Klarman begins with a historical summary of the persecution of gay people and the gay rights movement from the 1950s to the present before examining the sources of backlash and finally looking forward to the "inevitability" of same-sex marriage. If anyone has been looking for a thorough timeline, this book might be the one. Note: While the events and policies discussed in this book have impacted and will continue to directly impact people who do not identify as gay or straight, the book is not inclusive of other groups and keeps a very narrow focus.

Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Adam Winkler. 2011. ISBN: 978-0-393-07741-4. Winkler discusses the ongoing debate around gun rights and gun regulation over the last century, and discusses the way that the NRA has changed from an organization that promoted regulation into one that promotes widespread deregulation. This book goes a little overboard with the "both sides are extreme" rhetoric, but there is solid information here, so it could be of use to those getting involved in gun reform advocacy and/or just hoping to better frame their arguments on social media in the face of recent tragedies.

Beyond Just War: A Virtue Ethics Approach. David K. Chan. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-137-26340-7. Chan deconstructs the "just war" theory and promotes a theory of co-existence, stopping short of pacifism.

Re-Member: Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation of War-Affected Children. Ilse Derluyn, Cindy Mels, Stephan Parmentier and Wouter Vandenhole. 2012. ISBN: 978-94-000-0027-8. This book examines the effects of war on children all over the world, and discusses the social programs and services necessary to help them recover their lives and livelihoods.

NGOs, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere. Sabine Lang. 2013. ISBN: 978-1-107-02499-1. Lang makes a very in-depth look at Non-Governmental Organizations, their role in public discourse and policy development, their successes and their shortcomings. A good read for those interested in the way community organizing works and doesn't.

Civic Fusion: Mediating Polarized Public Disputes. Susan L. Podziba. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-61438-710-7. Podziba shares her experiences as a public policy debate moderator and discusses the process that goes into her work. [Content note: Discussion of abortion debate.]

The Criminalization of Abortion in the West: Its Origins in Medieval Law. Wolfgang P. Muller. 2012. ISBN: 978-0-8014-5089-1. Muller traces the idea that an abortion should be anyone's business but the pregnant person's to the 12th century, and then discusses the evolution of the concept in the following several centuries.

The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court. Jeffrey Toobin. 2012. ISBN: 978-0-385-52720-0. Toobin begins with Obama taking the Oath of Office in 2009 and examines the President's interactions with the Supreme Court, both cases and appointments.

The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright. Hector Postigo. 2012. ISBN: 978-0-262-01795-4. Postigo takes a look at digital copyright, the people who have found ways around it, and the decisions by various media companies that helped create a volatile situation.

The Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More. Stephen Fishman. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-4133-1721-3. Put out by NOLO, this book is less about a social justice topic and more included here for the benefit of those Shakers who might have an interest in making sure they aren't stepping on others' intellectual property rights.

[Note from Liss: Please feel welcome and encouraged to share your reviews, positive or negative, of any of these books that you've read in comments. Also feel welcome to make related recommendations.]

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