Yale Law School professors John Fabian Witt LAW ’99 and Akhil Reed Amar LAW ’84 wrote books that The New York Times and The Washington Post, respectively, listed among the top books of 2012.
The editors of The New York Times Book Review included Witt’s “Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History” in their “100 Notable Books of 2012” list, published in the Times’ Dec. 2 issue of the Sunday Book Review. The list included two sections: a fiction and poetry section and a nonfiction section, each honoring 50 works. In his book, Witt explores a central notion of the American historical narrative: the idea that the law can regulate conduct in war.
“’Lincoln’s Code’ is both a celebratory chronicle of American lawmaking and a gruesome record of American wartime cruelty, from William Tecumseh Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and South Carolina to the Indian wars,” wrote Times’ reviewer Gary Bass.
The Washington Post included Amar’s “America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By” in its “Best of 2012: 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction” list. In what the Post’s review calls “a masterful, readable book,” Amar presents a “creative treatment” of the U.S. Constitution, and also analyzes the women’s suffrage revolution of the late 19th and early 20th century.
“A warning: The book is not for the faint-hearted,” read the Post’s review. “At 485 pages of text, it presupposes a keen interest in history, government, politics and law. Yet it is filled with thought-provoking material and fun vignettes, suitable for a wide audience.”
Witt is the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at the Law School. Amar is the Sterling Professor of law and political science, and teaches the popular “Constitutional Law” class.