August 10, 2009


Blom, Phillip, The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914 (New York: Basic Books, 2008) (See the book review in The Economist, November 8, 2008).

Brendon, Piers, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781-1997 (New York: Knopf, 2008) (see the review, "Little Britain," by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the NYT, Tuesday, November 11, 2008).

Brinkley, Douglas, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (New York: Harper, 2009) (See both Janet Maslin's review, "Mother Nature's Son With Big Stick (and Rifle)," NYT, Wednesday, July 22, 2009; and Jonathan Rosen’s review, “Natural Man,” in The NYT Book Review, Sunday, August 9, 2009).

Fennell, Lee Anne, The Unbound Home: Property Values Beyond Property Lines (New Haven & London: Yale U. Press, 2009) (Even at full price, this book would be a very worthwhile investment for any serious law student.).

Goetzmann, William H., Beyond the Revolution: A History of American Thought from Paine to Pragmatism (New York: Basic Books, 2009) (From the “Introduction”: “This book is the story of the search by American intellectuals for cultural self-definition. In some sense it is intended to be a kind of existential epic with those very special people—the intellectuals—as protagonists engaged in the Sisyphean task of forever confronting the new and making it meaningful to society. Intellectuals pursue their tasks--often esoteric and wildly impractical to the common man—because they feel ‘cultural anxiety,’ or a compulsion constantly to redefine the context of reality in which they find themselves. They assume the burden of first sensing, then grappling with, and finally organizing the new, which is of value to civilization itself. More than mere custodians of knowledge, they stand for most of their lives face to face with the terrors and ambiguities of ultimate reality. And as such, in Henry James’s terms, they are the ‘hard core creators of culture.’” In the United States the role of the intellectual currently is not much appreciate. On both the political right and political left, intellectuals are deemed to be ‘elitist.’ They are members of an elite only in the sense that relatively few people have the talent, sensibility, intelligence, and especially the inclination to worry about the culture as a whole. Most Americans prefer to remain caught up in the everyday concerns of living a ‘normal life,’ pursuing limited if special interests, and advocating causes whose origins and meaning they scarcely question.” Id. at xi. Though Professor Goetzmann makes a strong case for the presence of the intellectual tradition in American life, I would argue that the American intellectual tradition and American intellectuals are, and have always been, outnumbered and outgunned by the American anti-intellectual tradition and anti-intellectuals. Though always marching forward, the American intellectual tradition has always been under attack and had to watch it back. Nowhere is this more evident than in American colleges and universities where the “corporatization” is the spirit of the day. Also see Jedediah Purdy’s review, “The Coast of Utopia,” NYT, Sunday, February 19, 2009.).

Linowitz, Sol M. & Martin Mayer, The Betrayed Profession: Lawyering at the End of the Twentieth Century (New York: Scribner’s, 1994).

Meredith, Martin, Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, The Boers, and The Making of South Africa (New York: PublicAffairs, 2007) (see the review, "A Scramble for Power and Treasure in South Africa," by Janet Maslin in the NYT, Thursday, November 29, 2007).

Vollmann, William T., Imperial (New York: Viking, 2009) (See Lawrence Downes, “Desert Odyssey,” NYT Book Review, Sunday, August 2, 2009. Also see Charles McGrath, “An Author Without Borders,” NYT, Tuesday, July 28, 2009).

Yovel, Yirmiyahu, The Other Within: The Marranos: Split Identity and Emerging Modernity (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2009).