Books on Criminal Law


September 22, 2022

345. Books on criminal law

Further Reading:

Kevin Boyle Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, 2004.

Historian Kevin Boyle relates the story of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a Black man who moved into an all-white neighborhood in Detroit in 1925. When Sweet killed a white man in self-defense, he was charged with murder. The resulting court trial was fought by Clarence Darrow and the newly formed NAACP.

David R. Dow The Autobiography of an Execution, 2010.

Law professor, David R. Dow, shares his objections to the death penalty, along with stories of death row inmates. While he’s not sympathetic to the guilty inmate, he still argues that we pay a price for our complicity in these executions.

Lawrence M. Friedman Crime and Punishment in American History, 1993.

Renowned legal historian Lawrence M. Friedman covers the history of the criminal justice system in America.

Anthony Gregory The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror, 2013.

Habeas Corpus is a legal protection designed to release someone from unlawful imprisonment. But how well does it work in practice? Anthony Gregory examines the history of the writ and how, while it sometimes works, it often fails its purpose.

Michael J. Kelly Prosecuting Corporations for Genocide, 2016.

Professor Michael J. Kelly exposes how multinational corporations are mainly immune from international prosecution for their roles in genocides in the developing world. While they profit tremendously from these abhorrent crimes, Kelly argues they should be held to account, and he outlines how to do it.

Evan J. Mandery A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America, 2014.

Many Americans don’t realize that in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court nearly made capital punishment illegal in America. Evan Mandery looks at how the court decided the pivotal case Furman v. Georgia and why it reversed direction in the years following.

Sam Roberts The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case, 2001.

During the Cold War, husband and wife Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in Sing Sing prison after their conviction for stealing atomic secrets for the U.S.S.R. Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, had been a Soviet spy himself. And it was his testimony that sealed the Rosenbergs’ fate. Sam Roberts interviewed Greenglass and others to determine what happened.

Cara Robertson The Trial of Lizzie Borden, 2019.

Legal scholar Cara Robertson examined transcripts of Lizzie Borden’s murder trial, which took place after her father and stepmother had been found dead from hatchet blows in 1892. By looking at local newspaper articles, lawyer’s journals, local reports, and Lizzie’s letters, she writes the definitive version of what happened and why on that August day in Fall River, Massachusetts.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see Further Reading: Start Here.


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