Words with Weight: NYU Law faculty books of 2014

Over the past year, NYU Law faculty have published a host of praiseworthy books covering a diverse range of interests. We’ve rounded up good reads below.

You’ll find books whose subjects range from the battles of a global corporation (Microsoft Antitrust Cases) to the stories of notable men (Leo Strauss, W.E.B. Dubois). Books that can avert death (Just Mercy) and reframe how we think about life (Lines of Descent). Books that reveal the root of our laws (Classical Liberal Constitution) and of the law, in general (What Makes Law).

Find your last-minute holiday gift, or kick off 2015 with a great read.

Anthony Appiah
, Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity
(Harvard U. Press, 2014)

From Booklist’s starred review: “In this slim but splendid book, Appiah explores Du Bois’ works and the personal and philosophical struggle behind them as Du Bois used all the analytical tools of sociology yet lived the tortures of racism, even more so because his education and personal elegance did not exempt him from its indignities.”

Read a profile of new Professor of Philosophy and Law Anthony Appiah in the NYU Law Magazine.

Gráinne de Búrca, Claire Kilpatrick, Joanne Scott, eds., Critical Legal Perspectives on Global Governance: Liber Amicorum David M Trubek
(Hart Publishing, 2014)

As globalization transforms legal systems at all levels, it is important that critical traditions in law adapt to the changing legal order. These essays explore the forms of law that are emerging in the global governance context, the processes and legal roles that have developed, and the critical discourses that have been formed. The collection honors David Trubek, Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Dean of International Studies Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Richard Epstein
, The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government
(Harvard U. Press, 2014)

American liberals and conservatives alike take for granted a progressive view of the Constitution that took root in the early twentieth century. Richard Epstein, the director of the Classical Liberal Institute at NYU Law, laments this complacency, which he believes explains America’s current economic malaise and political gridlock. Employing close textual reading, historical analysis, and political and economic theory, Epstein urges a return to the classical liberal theory of governance that animated the framers’ original text, and to the limited government this theory supports.

Read about the evolution of Epstein’s thought in the NYU Law Magazine.

Harry First and Andrew Gavil, The Microsoft Antitrust Cases: Competition Policy for the Twenty-First Century
(The MIT Press, 2014)

“Gavil and First offer us a bundle of reading opportunities: a compelling and cogent review of US enforcement actions against Microsoft as well as an insightful and provocative analysis of four enforcement actors: the US Department of Justice, the states’ Attorney Generals, non-US public enforcers, and private litigators. Bravo! A splendid achievement,” says Professor Daniel Rubinfeld.

Robert Howse
, Leo Strauss: Man of Peace
(Cambridge U. Press, 2014)

Leo Strauss, known to many as a thinker of the right, has been credited for inspiring hawkish views on national security. Moving beyond gossip and innuendo about Strauss’s followers and the Bush administration, Robert Howse, Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law, provides the first comprehensive analysis of Strauss’s writings on political violence. In stark contrast to popular perception, Strauss emerges as a man of peace, favorably disposed to international law and skeptical of imperialism—a critic of radical ideologies (on both the right and left) that endanger free thought and civil society.

Also this year, SUNY Press published Howse’s translation of Leo Strauss and the Crisis of Rationalism: Another Reason, Another Enlightenment by Corine Pelluchon.

Liam Murphy
, What Makes Law: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law
(Cambridge U. Press, 2014)

What factors determine the content of the law in force? What makes a normative system a legal system? How does law beyond the state differ from domestic law? What kind of moral force does law have? Liam Murphy, Herbert Peterfreund Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, offers an advanced introduction to central questions in legal philosophy. He suggests a proper practical response to the intractable disagreements surrounding legal philosophy.

Daniel Shaviro
, Fixing US International Taxation
(Oxford U. Press, 2014)

With the rise of globalization, international tax rules, which determine how countries tax cross-border investment, have become increasingly important, but the current debate over how to reform the US tax rules has become sterile. Ostensibly the only permissible choices are worldwide or residence-based taxation of US companies with the allowance of foreign tax credits, versus outright exemption of the companies’ foreign source income. In his new book, Daniel Shaviro, Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation, explains why neither of these solutions addresses the fundamental problem at hand, and he proposes a reformulation of the existing framework from first principles.

Bryan Stevenson
, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
(Spiegel & Grau, 2014)

The New York Review of Books praised this New York Times-bestseller: “Just Mercy is every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so…. [It] is a remarkable amalgam, at once a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”

Read and watch an interview with Stevenson about this book.

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Posted December 19, 2014