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Faculty Share Some Summer Reading Selections

Seven Rutgers School of Law–Newark faculty on what their summer reading list includes.

Diana Sclar
Associate Professor of Law and Allan Axelrod Scholar

War of the Roses
Princes in Tower

This summer I read Alison Weir’s The Wars of the Roses and The Princes in the Tower.

I wish I had read both when they were published about 30 years ago. Together they cover the period between 1377 and 1485 which involved a long-drawn-out feud for the English Crown. The books’ emphasis on personalities provided an antidote to the rather dry material I teach in Estates in Land and Future Interests.

Although development of law is important, it’s easy to forget that political upheaval and dramatic changes in society often occur on account of people rather than law.



Frederic Morrow book

Robert Holmes
Clinical Professor of Law, Deputy Director of Clinical Programs, and Director of the Community Law Clinic

I have a book waiting to be read that was recommended to me by Clem Price [Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor Clement A. Price].

The author is E. Frederic Morrow: a Hackensack native, 1948 Rutgers–Newark Law School graduate, the first African American to hold an executive position in the White House (under Dwight Eisenhower), and later the first African American vice president at Bank of America.

Among his books are Black Man in the While House and Way Up North Down South, which is the one on my current to-read list. During this heated presidential campaign, Clem Price offers the book as a glimpse at the history of New Jersey relative to race.

General conclusion of the book: New Jersey is a border state.

Frank Askin
Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic

The Litigators

I have just read (actually, listened on tape) to John Grisham’s The Litigators.

It is a book I would recommend to all law students – a terrific supplement to the Civil Procedure course. Despite a couple of procedural errors, it is a great read and provides much insight into complex litigation and the interaction between lawyers and judges.

The major error has to do with the application of Rule 11. Apparently, Grisham abandoned the practice of law prior to the 1996 Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure, which created the “safe harbor” provision and essentially de-fanged Rule 11.


Chrystin Ondersma
Assistant Professor of Law

Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Some of the books I’ve read this summer:

Milan Kundera – The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Kundera is one of those writers with the delightful and irksome characteristic of precisely capturing things you’ve vaguely felt but never managed to turn into words.

Julian Barnes – The Sense of an Ending. Who can resist a book on a theme as universally shared as the inadvertent re-writing of our youth, the gross imperfections of memory?

Nicholas Wapshott – Keynes-Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics. You get to hear Ayn Rand call Hayek an “abysmal fool,” an “ass,” and a “complete vicious bastard.”

Dave Eggers – What Is the What. He’s a magnificent storyteller, his characters endure the real-life horrors of South Sudan (horrors that are continuing in only slightly different forms today, by the way) but they are full of courage, resilience, and humor. 


Sense of an Ending

David Dante Troutt
Professor of Law and Justice John J. Francis Scholar

My favorite so far is a short gem of a novel by Julian Barnes called The Sense of an Ending

It’s a beautifully crafted recollection of how a single story in a life can reconstruct so many important interactions over time.

Not perfect, but it holds nicely and provides lots of satisfying “ah ha” moments.




George C. Thomas III
Board of Governors Professor of Law and Judge Alexander P. Waugh, Sr. Distinguished Scholar

While there are lots of books I want to read this summer, the one I'm most looking forward to reading is Stephen King’s 11-23-63.

Most of my research in the last few years draws on history, and I am fascinated by the apparent contingency of history.

I take it that the King book is about an attempt to go back in time and “undo” the Kennedy assassination. I’m not a huge Stephen King fan but I do like some of his fantasy books (The Gunslinger, for one) and a friend told me that 11-23-63 is a lively, provocative read.


Art of War

Saul Mendlovitz
Dag Hammarskjöld Professor of Peace and World Order Studies Emeritus

I’m reading The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelili and the The Art of War by Sun Tzu in preparation for teaching the Law and Humanities Seminar. Both are classics and have been selected by good Dean John Farmer and most eminent scholar George Thomas, who are my colleagues in conducting the seminar.