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Professor George Fletcher


Professor George Fletcher (Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 2002)

World War II and Vietnam left Americans with a bitter taste in their mouths for war. A nation’s collective memory is short, and during the 1980s a patriotic resurgence culminated in the Gulf War. Following the events of September 11, 2001 some Americans were eager to expand the war on terrorism by attacking Iraq. What are the roots of American patriotism and the nation’s attraction to war? How does the United States reconcile war with the obligations of justice?

In this book, Professor Fletcher brings needed clarity to the continuing debate about how to pursue war and justice in an age of terrorism. He seeks to explain why Americans – averse to war for so many years – now find it appealing. He finds the answer in the revival of Romanticism and a desire to identify with grand causes that place nations, rather than individuals, at the center of ideas about glory and guilt. These ideas, handed down by people such as poet Lord Byron and philosopher Johann Fichte, are far more widespread than liberal individualists recognize. The Romantic mind set, Prof. Fletcher cautions, can lead to losing oneself in a cause that ends in moral catastrophe. American Law in a Global Context: The Basics
George Fletcher and Steve Sheppard ’00 LL.M. (Oxford University Press, New York, 2004)

Whatever your background, if you seek an understanding of the legal system of the United States, this is the book for you. American Law in a Global Context is an elegant and erudite introduction to the American legal system from a global perspective. It covers the law and lawyering tools taught in the first year of law school, explaining the underlying concepts and techniques of the common law used in U.S. legal practice. The ideas central to the development and practice of American law, as well as constitutional law, contracts, property, criminal law, and courtroom procedure, are all presented in their historical and intellectual contexts, accessible to the novice but with insight that will inform the expert. Actual cases illuminate each major subject. The book, based on Prof. Fletcher’s course for international lawyers studying American law, also contrasts America’s legal system with others, especially those of continental Europe. The comparison makes the core concepts of U.S. law easily understandable to readers from other systems and offers a unique perspective on American law as part of a global network of laws. Appendices include an introduction to the common law method, instruction on how to read a case, and the interpretation of statutes.