Category Archives: Book Reviews – The Stranger the Better

A Study in Environmental Activism

Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail  by Jay Erskine Leutze.

Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail by Jay Erskine Leutze.

For anyone who loves the North Carolina mountains, the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains… this is an all too familiar story. Jay Erskine Leutze’s first book is his account of the battle against a large gravel mine set to take down Belview Mountain in Avery County, North Carolina. Not only was the largest surface mine in the South to be located adjacent to homes in the small community of Dog Patch but also within close view of the Appalachian Trail, a federally protected park.

Jay Erskine Leutze is a non-practicing lawyer who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After law school, Leutze retreated to an “intentional” quiet life in Avery County intending to write, fish and hike. His quiet life ended in 1999 with a test blast that shook his home and a call from fourteen-year-old Ashley Cox that got him involved in a legal battle against Paul Brown and the Clark Stone Company. The case became known at the Putnam Mine case.

This book is the story of Leutze’s four year campaign that started with pulling together a legal defense team to a landmark decision upheld by the North Carolina Supreme Court. Along the way, his legal team partnered with advocacy groups such as the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Appalachian Trail Conference, and the National Parks Conservation Association to oppose the mine. In an ironic twist, they were also drawn into supporting the State of North Carolina as the state Division of Land Resources revoked Brown’s ninety-nine year mining permit, an unprecedented decision. The story clearly shows the twists and turns of multiple court battles as the case goes through the legal process.

Just as the case meanders through the court system, Leutze’s story fleshes out the importance of the area, describing in detail the scenic aspects of the mountains and the history of various parts and people like Sugar Top, a condominium complex built on the top of Sugar Mountain that resulted in North Carolina’s landmark Mountain Ridge Protection Act. Leutze’s humble tone and passion for the cause makes this an unusually attractive story. Here is a true guide to environmental advocacy.

landscape

 

~Betty Thomas~

Note:  Stand Up That Mountain has been added the Charlotte Law Library’s collection and is available for check out.

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Copyright Questions and Answers for Information Professionals: From the Columns of Against the Grain – A Book Review

copyrightquestionsandanswers

For many information professionals, copyright fascinates and confounds. Copyright is glossed over in many classes, and librarians struggle to find clear answers to questions that arise in their practice. In the early days of a career, it is easy to blame youth for your befuddlement, but as years pass it becomes more and more difficult to plead ignorance. I have turned to a number of resources, including books, seminars, and massive online open courses, but all have skimmed over practical issues. For many librarians, copyright is simply a hurdle, not a concept to be lingered over, and swift resolutions to imperative questions are invaluable. Copyright Questions and Answers for Information Professionals: From the Columns of Against the Grain by Laura N. Gasaway goes a long way in fulfilling that need.

Gasaway, a recognized expert on copyright, has been wrangling with copyright problems for fifteen years now, answering questions from readers in a regular column in Against the Grain, the periodical offshoot of the Charleston Conferences. In her column, she addresses her audience of librarians, publishers, teachers, and authors, clearing the fog and replacing it with clear practicalities, one query at a time.

In her new offering, these questions and answers have been curated, updated, organized, and reassembled, giving readers access, in a single work, to Gasaway’s experience and expertise that was before scattered throughout her columns. Gasaway covers all the usual suspects, including fair use rights, library reserves, licensing, interlibrary loan, preservation, software, and digitization. Question-and-answer pairings are organized into topical chapters, and the book finishes with an emerging issues chapter providing current content on timely subjects such as HathiTrust and the first sale doctrine.

Each chapter features a brief introduction that provides context, but the value of the text lies in her answers to each questioner’s specific needs. While this idiosyncrasy does make the book poorly suited for cover-to-cover reading, it is perfect for quick reference. Other popular copyright texts use the question-and-answer format to show applications of broad concepts, but since the questions posed in this book are wide-ranging and true to life, it effectively provides applicable answers to specific questions. Unfortunately, this also means that when looking for concrete answers, there is no guarantee that guidance for a given question is present between the covers.

In this case, a comprehensive and exhaustive index holds the key to unlocking the precious wisdom inside this book. This is a weakness of the book. While a primarily question-and-answer format leads you to believe that this work would be well-suited for novices, specialized vocabulary or specific portions of the Copyright Acts are often indexed instead of the words used by the questioner. Underutilized cross references again hinder those without a strong knowledge base, and while excellent term definitions and clear, concise summaries of concepts are repeatedly provided throughout the text, the index does not easily lead a reader to them. Not having comprehensive keyword references may seem to avoid redundancy, but instead it limits usability. Readers will not be approaching this text with exact replicas of existing questions, but instead will need to glean their own answers through a careful reading of answers to similar inquires. Because the language of exact inquires is not carefully indexed, an e-book version of this work would be preferable, allowing readers to perform keyword searches and thus work with whatever vocabulary they have on hand.

While the index and other minor inconsistencies keep Gasaway’s content from shining as brightly as it should, Gasaway deserves great praise for her work’s greatest strength: her ability to strike a balance between handing out specific advice and teaching readers strategies to navigate the treacherous waters around best practices and general guidelines. Guidelines and fair use do not lend themselves to cut-and-dry answers, making many copyright texts full of generalizations. However, Gasaway brilliantly teaches her lessons through examples, focusing not only on the use of best practices, but also on the importance of careful risk assessment. She reminds readers that copyright is rarely a firm line, unfortunate though it seems. Instead, application of copyright law is often nebulous. Gasaway’s well-balanced advice guides readers in making their own choices, weighing their options, and choosing to overcome their copyright hurdles the way that is most appropriate for them. In this role, Gasaway is truly a master of her craft.

~Ashley Moye~

This book review first appeared in 106 Law Libr. J. 108-109 (2014).

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The Happiness Advantage: Part II

Principle #1:  the Happiness Advantage

Positive brains have an advantage over negative or neutral brains.  Our outlook and mood are positive when we are happy and this makes us smarter, more motivated and ultimately, more successful because we are happy.  Competitive, successful people are those who capitalize on positivity.

How do scientists define happiness?  After years of testing, involving millions of people, it has been determined that happiness is “the experience of positive emotions – pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose”[1].  Martin Seligman, the pioneer in positive psychology, has determined there are three measurable components to happiness:  pleasure, engagement, and meaning.  Aristotle defined happiness as “human flourishing”.  The main components of happiness are positive emotions – awe, amusement, gratitude, hope, interest, inspiration, joy, love, pride, and serenity.  Aggregating over 200 scientific studies which involved about 275,000 people, it was determined that happiness translates into success in almost every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally.

Positive psychology studies show us that happiness leads to greater success, higher performance and greater productivity – not the inverse.  “Happiness precedes important outcomes . . .happiness causes success and achievement”[2] and can also improve out physical health and well-being.

Negative emotions narrow our thoughts and resultant range of action.  Happiness has an important evolutionary purpose.  It helps to “broaden the amount of possibilities we process, making us more creative and open to new ideas”[3].  Broadened possibilities increase our creativity and help us build more physical, social, and intellectual resources which ultimately leads to greater success.

Biology plays a part in the effects of happiness.  When we are happy, our brains are flooded with serotonin and dopamine, making us feel good and also boosting the learning centers of our brains into higher gears.  This leads to increase neural connections resulting in the ability to think more quickly and with greater creativity.  We become “more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things”[4].  Every time people experience happiness they are mentally primed for greater creativity and innovation, leading to greater success.  Happiness can also help decrease stress and anxiety so we can function on a higher level.

Our happiness fluctuates continually but with concentrated effort we can raise our baseline so that when we are happy we reap even greater rewards.  There are many activities that we can engage in to do just that.  These should be mindfully practiced over time to reap the greatest benefit:

      • Meditate
      • Find something to look forward to
      • Commit conscious acts of kindness
      • Infuse positivity into your surroundings
      • Exercise
      • Spend money (but not on stuff – spend it on experiences)
      • Exercise a signature strength

Lastly, be mindful of the effects on others of negative comments and encounters.  According to a study conducted by Marcial Losada, the ratio of positive to negative interactions is a key determinant in success.  It takes at least three positive experiences, interactions, or comments to negate the effects of one negative experience, interaction, or comment.  Increasing your positivity ratio leads to greater performance, trust, and ability to deal with the negative.

 “Happiness is the center around which success orbits.”[5]

If you would like to read the first article in this series, please see here.  Next time . . . “The Fulcrum and The Lever:  Changing Your Performance by Changing Your Mindset.

~ Julie Morris ~


[1] Achor, Shawn, The Happiness Advantage (New York: Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2010), 39.

[2] Achor, 42.

[3] Achor, 44.

[4] Achor, 44.

[5] Achor, 61.

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The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor: A Book Review

thehappinessadvantage

An exploration in how increasing your happiness can elevate your overall quality of life and your productivity at work and school, to boot, this book gives the reader seven basic principles to work through to increase their happiness factor exponentially.  Utilizing the concepts of positive psychology, Mr. Achor presents ideas that we all can integrate into our work and personal lives, that enable us to increase our happiness, accomplish more and, in effect, take greater control of our lives – in a good way.  Success first, happiness second, right?

He takes this idea of “working hard leads to becoming successful which leads to greater happiness” and turns it on its head.  He postulates that this theory is broken because with each victory or success, we find our goals pushed out further and further.  Where’s the happiness in that?

Achor also puts forth the idea that “the relationship between success and happiness works the other way around”.  Conversely, optimism and success fuel achievement and performance.  “Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential . . .”  Who knew???  Feeling grateful for where we are in life, what we have accomplished so far and celebrating our goals for the future can fuel our happiness and lead to greater success and achievements.

We, as students and working people alike, cannot lose sight of our accomplishments.  Review those and celebrate them daily.  How about taking five minutes each day to reflect on your accomplishments today?  They can be large or small – they all count.  After all, no one can conquer everything in one day!  Be grateful for everything you have accomplished.  It is all for good – yours and others.

Yes, every day presents us with another set of things to be accomplished.  But if you balance that new list against what you’ve already accomplished and learned, don’t you think you should feel empowered and equipped to take on the next challenge?  Celebrate your successes and keep in mind that the knowledge and experience you have gained will serve you well in achieving your next challenge, goal, marathon, graduation, etc.

Check out Shawn Achor’s TED Talk here.

More in the coming weeks about his Seven Principles to achieving the Happiness Advantage:

1 – The Happiness Advantage

2 – The Fulcrum and the Lever

3 – The Tetris Effect

4 – Falling Up

 5 – The Zorro Circle

6 – The 20-Second Rule

7 – Social Investment

 ~ Julie Morris ~

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From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same Sex Marriage – A Book Review

fromtheclosettothealtar

Gay marriage is inevitable, according to Harvard Law School professor Michael J. Klarman in his book From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same Sex Marriage.  He makes this claim because young people today, who are more likely to know someone who is gay and to have grown-up in a gay friendly environment, support same-sex marriage by as many as forty percentage points over older adults, who tend to oppose it.  Klarman suggests that having a gay friend or family member correlates to supporting gay rights, so the coming out of every gay and lesbian and every same-sex couple means more votes for gay equality “[b]ecause few people favor discrimination against those whom they know and love” (p.197).  This more welcoming social environment has ushered same-sex marriage into our state and federal courts.  Klarman includes a helpful time line of all major court decisions and legislation relating to same-sex marriage (prior to the 2012 ballot measures and the United States Supreme Court’s granting of certiorari in two same-sex marriage cases[1]).

At the beginning of the book, Klarman defines the historical context of the gay rights struggle.  Before the mid-1980s, most gays and lesbians were not open about their sexuality for fear of losing their jobs and families and having no legal recourse when such things happened.  Gay rights organizations worked strategically, with little money and few members, to convince some municipalities to adopt gay rights ordinances, only to see them defeated by local referenda.  Klarman points to this historical context to explain the surprise that both gay rights and conservative organizations felt when, in 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court opened the door to same-sex marriage, holding in Baehr v. Lewin that a law restricting marriage to one man and one woman constituted a sex classification and thus required the strictest judicial review.[2]  Klarman provides only a brief analysis of the constitutional arguments for same-sex marriage: that discrimination against same-sex couples is not rationally related to the objectives that states have proffered thus far (i.e., protecting traditional marriage, promoting optimal environments for childrearing, and encouraging procreation).  He makes an intriguing argument, however, that Baehr became a turning point in gay rights policy only because the AIDS epidemic – which refocused the younger gay community on committed relationships and estate planning issues – had created the social environment that would champion Baehr and the subsequent similar decisions.  This brought more financial resources and allies to the gay community for the fight for same-sex marriage.

The discussion of the backlash after Baehr monopolizes the book’s narrative, but the episodes blur into one another because the political maneuvering of conservative and religious groups after each same-sex marriage win follows the same pattern: same-sex marriage opponents rallied behind defense of marriage laws or constitutional amendment initiatives to ban same-sex marriage after a state supreme court from an outside jurisdiction had found its state constitution gave same-sex couples the right to marry.  The federal Defense of Marriage Act[3] and defense of marriage laws in more than thirty states sprang from the backlash against Baehr.  Constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and, in most instances, civil unions and domestic partnerships, passed in twenty-seven states after Goodrich v. Department of Public Health.[4]  Klarman might have avoided the rote reporting in this section had he chosen to highlight the lives of plaintiffs, advocates, or opponents in the same-sex marriage struggle.  He does, however, raise the intriguing suggestion that the push for same-sex marriage may have hurt the gay rights movement in conservative states where gays and lesbians have yet to win even “basic legal protections against violence and discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations” (p.179).

With insightful explanations for the legislation against same-sex marriage, Klarman rebounds strongly in the book’s final pages.  He clearly notes that political backlash is more likely “[w]hen public opinion on judicial rulings divides heavily along regional or geographic lines” (p.186).  For instance, Goodrich generated little political opposition in Massachusetts because a majority of residents supported same-sex marriage.  However, in Ohio, Goodrich likely cost John Kerry the presidential election as George W. Bush increased his percentage of the 2004 popular vote in Ohio by double digits among groups who disproportionately oppose gay marriage (the religious, the elderly, the working-class, and African-Americans).

Klarman concludes that same-sex marriage is inevitable, not least because polls measuring shifts in attitudes are tracking similarly to those from the Civil Rights Movement.  A majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage (p.196) and, according to variables measured by statistician Nate Silver, this trend will continue until same-sex marriage is recognized in every state except those in the Deep South by 2016, and in every state but Mississippi by 2024 (p.202).

From the Closet to the Altar fastidiously reports on the litigation and legislative winners and losers in the same-sex marriage struggle.  This work will interest academics and law students alike, particularly those delving deeper into the more intriguing issues that Klarman raises.

~Cory Lenz~

This book review first appeared in 105 Law Libr. J. 233 (2013).


[1] Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 591 F.3d 1147 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. granted sub nom., Hollingsworth v. Perry, 81 U.S.L.W. 3324 (U.S. Dec. 7, 2012) (No. 12-144); Windsor v. U.S., 699 F.3d 169 (2nd Cir. 2012), cert. granted, 81 U.S.L.W. 3324 (U.S. Dec. 7, 2012) (No. 12-307).

[2] Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993).

[3] Defense of Marriage Act, Pub. L. No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419 (1996) (codified at 7 U.S.C. § 1738C and 1 U.S.C. § 7).

[4] Goodrich v. Dep’t of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003) (holding that the prohibition of same-sex marriage violated the Massachusetts Constitution).

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Beef Up Your Summer Reading List with A Beginners’ Guide to Modern Science Fiction

Man Reading Book and Sitting on Bookshelf in Library

Alongside being a Circulation Assistant at this library, I am also a graduate student earning my Masters in Library and Information Science at UNCG. I have read and loved science fiction for most of my life.   I love the fresh new ideas and the inventiveness of science fiction. As part of my course of study I created a Reading Map for Modern Science Fiction.  This is sort of an interesting guide thingy to what are seen as the major works of modern science fiction.

A few notes about the site:

  • I have read every book on this site. Everything I write is my personal interpretation. 
  • The general idea is to tell you just enough about the authors and the books they have written to get you interested.  My goal is to entice without spoiling any of the wonderful twisting plots.  So, if you are looking for cliffs notes or a detailed review, look somewhere else.
  • Also, on each page I have included links to other websites pages you may find interesting as well as my favorite quotes from each of the novels.

~Aaron Greene~

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Book Review — The Law and Harry Potter

thelawandharrypotter

2007 was an amazing year. The 110th United States Congress elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history. Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone. The tomb of Herod the Great was discovered. The Dali Lama received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. Both Argentina and India swore in their first female presidents. NASA launched its Phoenix spaceship. And the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released.

Yes, 2007 marked the end of an era. No longer would grown adults have to shove pre-teens out of the way to claim the last copy of Harry Potter books sold at midnight releases. Organized crime in Las Vegas would have to look elsewhere to bet on which favorite character died by the end of the volume (this actually happened. I hear that now bets are being taken on the Junie B. Jones series). Author J.K. Rowling created a sub-culture with her books about an outcast young boy who discovers he is a wizard. This sub-culture has spawned: hundreds of blogs, a blockbuster movie series, video games, action figures, an attraction at Universal Studios, National Quidditch teams, replica wands sales, replica Death Eater tattoos, several scholarly panels, and legal analysis of the storyline. Now that the frenzy has died down, we are in a good place to reflect upon the world of the Boy Who Lived.

In The Law & Harry Potter (2010) Jeffrey E. Thomas and Franklin G. Snyder bring together a collection of articles that discuss what role the law has within a magical community. In this world, the largest governmental agency is the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, which is under the control of the colossal Ministry of Magic. Within this Department one will find the illustrious Aurors. These individuals are highly trained in counter-Dark Arts measures to investigate and apprehend those who are suspected of using the Dark Arts. Users of the Dark Arts are almost synonymously supporters of the series’ antagonist Lord Voldemort, and are known as Death Eaters. The Aurors can be equated to counter-terrorist organizations in the non-magical world. However, an Auror is given full authority to kill, torture, and coerce suspected Death Eaters. And considering that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement answers to no other department within the Ministry of Magic, here lays the first problem with law and order in the Wizarding world.

In the article “The Persecution of Tom Riddle:  A Study in Human Rights Law,” Geoffrey R. Watson plays devil’s advocate for He Who Must Not Be Named. Watson paints the Ministry of Magic as a totalitarian entity that is made up of individuals who were not elected through popular vote. He claims that there is no separation of powers, and there exists no checks and balances. Watson further argues that the Ministry has violated the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. All this done through its proxy: Harry Potter. One could argue that Wizards are above the common law of Muggles. Yet if Wizards are to be held in a higher regard should not they follow the basic principles of civil rights as well? Watson makes the argument that it was the parental Potters’ involvement in the “state-sanctioned terrorist group known as the Order of Phoenix” that caused injury to Riddle first. I feel compelled to point out that the Order of Phoenix operated outside the scope of the law, such as it is, within the Wizarding world. The members of this organization acted without the consent of the Ministry of Magic, and could be labeled as domestic terrorists. Watson argues that Tom Riddle was simply an idealist who was trying to overcome the injustices of a totalitarian regime. And his actions were merely in self-defense. Riddle was unfairly marked as an enemy of the State, and persecuted without benefit of due process. Watson attacks the credibility of Harry Potter by citing the numerous violations of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through use of the polyjuice potion. This potion gives the user the ability to assume the form of another. And this act violates Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On numerous occasions throughout the series, Harry Potter and his accomplices stole the identities of rivals and engaged in unlawful interrogation. The violation that Watson is specifically citing comes from book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Other articles within this book cover a variety of topics.  Family Law is discussed in “Hogwarts, the Family, and the State: Forging Identity and Virtue in Harry Potter,” by Danaya C. Wright. Evidence of contract law within Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is analyzed within the article “What Role Need Law Play in a Society with Magic?” by John Gava and Jeannie M. Paterson. Geoffrey C. Rapp introduces the issue of wrongful conviction in his article “Sirius Black: A Case Study in Actual Innocence.” And Heidi Schooner discusses the role of banking regulations upon Gringotts, the sole Wizarding bank, in her article “Gringrotts: The Role of Banks in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World.” This just names a few of the fascinating articles within this collection. The Law & Harry Potter is a captivating read that takes a harder look at the implications of a world where problems can disappear with the flick of a wand.

Check this book out from your Charlotte School of Law Library!

~Erica Tyler~

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Comical and Criminal

The Illustrated Guide...

You know that when the dedication in a book reads, “To Crime!” that it isn’t your ordinary law treatise. The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law gives you all the information you could hope to know about criminal law, but in a different way.  The author uses humor and an illustrative comic style to inform his readers about every aspect of criminal law.  Some of the chapters included in this book are entitled, “Rehabilitation: For the Love of God, Why?” and “Responsibility and Depravity: The Axes of Evil.”

The Illustrated Guide 2

The author, Nathaniel Burney, graduated from Georgetown University, where he was an editor of the American Criminal Law Review.  During his time in law school he also found the time to work at the Supreme Court as a personal assistant to retired Chief Justice Warren Burger, and additionally played music in a band called The Ambulance Chasers.  After law school Burney joined the Manhattan DA’s office as a prosecutor in NYC.  He also spent some time in Special Narcotics and the Rackets Bureau.  Burney eventually returned to the defense side of things, where he focused on cases involving wiretaps, securities fraud, antitrust, and loitering.  Mr. Burney also teaches the “Hope for Hopeless Cases” series for West LegalEdCenter.

If you are looking for a book that discusses the complex issues of criminal law in a slightly different format, why not give The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law a try?

~Brian Trippodo ~

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Book Review: Is Eating People Wrong?

Hello there diligent law student! Yes, you there with the stack of Federal Reporters straining your back and dropping that AmJur on your foot. The library loves you. And now that you are creeped out, I have your attention. Are you in the mood to read something out of the ordinary? If your textbook readings are leaving you in tears, why not peruse the unexplored sections in between the stacks? The library has a variety of fascinating books full of memorable anecdotes that enables the law to become more digestible.

Take for example the writings of author Allan C. Hutchinson. Hutchinson is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. He is a legal theorist whose research interests include: public law, legal theory, and the legal profession. Hutchinson is a prolific writer, having authored/or edited some 16 works. And February 20th of this year marks the release of his 17th work entitled “Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law.”

eating people

You can check out his 2011 release, Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World, from the library’s Treatise section. In an interview with Rorotoko (5/22/11) Hutchinson states that he chose eight cases he felt had the most impact in shaping common law. He proposed that the legal cases discussed in his book “breathe life” into the law for the reader. Hutchinson presents monumental legal cases such as Brown v Board of Education and Miranda v Arizona.

The book’s title refers to R v Dudley and Stephens. Hutchinson displays his flair for the narrative style as he recounts the details of the infamous events abroad the Mignonette. The Mignonette was purchased by John Henry Want, an English businessman. He and his crew of three had planned to sail from New South Wales to Australia. A storm destroyed the yacht, and the men barely escaped with their lives. After weeks of drifting and slowly starving to death, the decision was made to eat the already emaciated cabin boy. Upon their eventual rescue at sea, the surviving men were at first hailed as heroes. Hutchinson really draws the reader in with his detailed re-telling of the events that led up to the men’s reversal of fortune, and subsequent arrests. This 1884 case set a precedent within common law that necessity is not a defense to a charge of murder. Sadly, this is the only case in Is Eating People Wrong? that analyzes the legal repercussions of cannibalism.

Another highly entertaining chapter concerns Donoghue v Stevenson, a.k.a the “snail in the bottle” case. The chapter entitled “A Snail in a Bottle: Nature, Neighbors, and Negligence” recounts how Glasgow native May Donoghue became ill after finding the partial remains of a snail within her ginger beer bottle. Her decision to pursue legal recourse against the bottling company led to the concept of negligence.

Is Eating People Wrong is a thoroughly enjoyable read that takes a look at some of the notable cases that have come to shape common law. And proves once again that fact is indeed stranger than fiction.

~Erica Tyler~

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