On this new page, many of the Levin College of Law’s faculty list what they consider a good book they have recently read or are now reading. The list covers a diverse selection of topics, some in law and many in other genres, including fiction.
If you click on the faculty member’s name, you will go to the faculty member’s home page, where you can find the faculty member’s email address and can send him or her your opinion of their recommendation, plus learn more about the faculty member’s teaching and research.
Gary Mormino, Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida
Mormino’s book makes for fascinating reading for anyone who has lived in Florida a long time or who just wonders how Florida got to be the way it is. The book is packed with information on everything from the history of the citrus industry to why St. Petersburg’s city benches used to be green.
Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life
Bruce Barcott, The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
From the novel: “Everything came at too many frames per second. Everything had too many aspects. But it wasn’t disorienting. The intensity wasn’t unmanageable. It was just intense and vivid. It wasn’t like being high, but it was still very: lucid. . . . And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.”
Timothy Eagan, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The book chronicles the human cost of a failure to understand and respect nature – sod busting – accompanied by a natural disaster – long term drought. Its greater detail makes it a perfect companion for the recent Ken Burns documentary film: The Dust Bowl.
Douglas L. Wilson, Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln
Victor Rios, Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
Rios brilliantly exposes the culture of control and hypervigilance by schools, police, families, and communities that collectively treat the everyday actions of Black and Latino urban youth as acts of danger, rebellion and violence. This powerful book links the very institutions with the power to support youth to negative outcomes that serve only to subordinate.
Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
Morozov rightly, if sometimes pedantically, challenges the uncritical utopian view that the Internet changes everything for the better.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick, or The Whale
Margaret Drabble wrote that Moby-Dick was “the closest approach the United States has had to a national prose epic.” Melville’s writing is virtuosic with chapters that take forms as various as buddy comedy, sermon, eulogy, scientific treatise, art criticism, affidavit, metaphysical meditation, libretto for an operetta, soliloquy, essay on natural history, technical manual, and brooding gothic tragedy.
James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
Patricia Hill Collins, On Intellectual Activism
Robert Zemsky, Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming Higher Education
T. M. Luhrmann, Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry
Luhrmann provides a fascinating anthropological study of how young psychiatrists develop their skills and come to regard their profession and their patients. In the process, Luhrmann exposes and explores the chasm in modern psychiatry between conceptualizing mental disorder as a brain disease or the product of psychosocial factors, the resolution of which holds profound consequences for patient care.
Carlo D’Este, Patton: A Genius for War
Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs
Steven R. Weisman, The Great Tax Wars: Lincoln to Wilson – The Fierce Battles Over Money and Power that Transformed the Nation
Fred Rodell, Woe Unto You Lawyers
A masterful book that translates complex legal expression into plain, elegant readable English.
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Joshua Foer, Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Foer describes how he went from covering United States Memory Championship as a journalist to winning it as a contestant the following year. In the process, he describes classic theories and techniques of memory still used by self-described ‘mental athletes.’ One important message is that the true ‘savant,’ or memory prodigy, is rare. Most of the human capacity for memorization is a matter of knowing how and making the effort.
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
Murakami’s intricate imaginings over the course of a dozen novels (I recommend Kafka on the Shore or The Wind-up Bird Chronicle as entry points to his work) are best digested as completely original social satire, poking knowledgeable fun at humankind’s actions in a way that makes us take notice and question our wisdom. Let the stresses of your daily lives peel away as you lose yourself in the amazing mind of a master wit and storyteller.
Debra Satz, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets
Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds
Powers, a veteran of the war in Iraq, tells the story of a young soldier’s friendship with a fellow soldier during his duty in Iraq and the soldier’s difficulty adjusting to life back home in Virginia. Powers’ novel is deeply moving and has been compared to Tim O’Brien’s book about the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried.
Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity
Solomon explores how children who are “different” from their parents develop their identities.
Thomas McCraw, The Founders of Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy
McCraw discusses how the personal histories of American founders helped to shape their views on larger issues of political economy. The immigrant origin of the first generation of US financial policymakers shaped the trajectory of American fiscal policy including controlling the national debt and paying for the Louisiana Purchase.
Cross Creek Cookery, Author Majorie Kinnan Rawlings
I love reading cookbooks. This is really an historical picture of Florida and has great recipes. Louise Long (the widow of William N. Long, an alum of UF Law since passed) gave me this book and taught me how to cook many of the dishes described..
Timothy Egan, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis
Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
A look at World War I from the perspective of the moral drama of its critics, alongside its generals and heroes.
Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power
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