Books by Columbia Law School Graduates

The Book of Fate

Brad Meltzer '96 (Warner Books, 2006)

Brad Meltzer's '96 sixth novel involves a young presidential aide named Wes who, riding with the president's oldest friend in the presidential limousine, is permanently disfigured by an assassin's bullet taken in the face. The president's friend is himself killed. It is now a decade later. The hunt to figure out what happened leads Wes on a chase that takes him back to a decade-old presidential crossword puzzle, ancient Masonic symbols hidden in the street plan of Washington, D.C., and a secret code invented by Thomas Jefferson. Once again, Mr. Meltzer's thorough research into presidential lore and Washington, D.C.'s powerful system of secrecy, along with a jaunt into the glittering world of Palm Beach high society and its seedy fringes, have come together to create another page-turner. Publisher's Weekly says: "Meltzer's many fans will enjoy this substantial meal of a book."

Back to top


Da Chen '90 (Three Rivers Press, 2007)

Da Chen '90, author of the popular memoir Colors of the Mountain, published his first adult novel, Brothers (Shaye Areheart
Books, 2006). The story takes place at the height of the Chinese Communist Party’s Cultural Revolution, a massive power struggle within the party that led China to the brink of civil war. The protagonists, two brothers, were separated as infants, one raised in the highest echelons of society and the other cast off to make his own perilous journey in the Chinese countryside. Unbeknownst to them, they fall in love with the same woman. "Part Greek myth, part 1001 Arabian Nights," Benjamin Cheever, author of The Good Nanny, raves. Brothers "is intoxicating. A thrill and an [historical] education."

Back to top

Behind the Eyes

Francisco Stork '82 (Dutton Juvenile, 2006)

Francisco Stork's '82 young adult novel tells the story of 16-year-old Hector Robles, who's tried to keep a low profile while living in the projects of El Paso, Tex. His peaceful life is shattered when his brother challenges the leader of a gang and Hector is drawn into a world of violence. When a marker is placed on his life, he escapes to a school for students with troubled pasts. Ultimately, by confronting external threats and the internal pain of his memories and mistakes, Hector begins to confront manhood.

Back to top

Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur: What it Takes to Win in High-Stakes Commercial Real Estate

James Randel ’74 (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

James Randel ’74 published Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur: What it Takes to Win in High-Stakes Commercial Real Estate (McGraw-Hill, 2006), “a guide for investors who are ready to play hardball.” The author focuses on commercial deals with the highest potential yields, presenting a model for aggressively generating returns that are far higher than what is usually netted from real estate investments. The book is filled with candid real-life stories that demonstrate Mr. Randel’s
strategies in action.

Back to top

Errors and Omissions

Paul Goldstein '67 (Doubleday, 2006)

Stanford Law Professor Paul Goldstein's '67 legal thriller involves Michael Seeley, a hard-driving IP lawyer on the brink of personal and career collapse. He takes on a case involving rights to a successful film franchise called Spykiller Films and soon plunges into the tangle of politics of the blacklisting era and then into the even darker world of Nazi-occupied Poland. As pressure mounts for Seeley to confirm a film studio's ownership of Spykiller, he must face down his own demons in Munich. The book draws on Prof. Goldstein's legal scholarship for its authenticity and perhaps offers him a new career: Publishers Weekly said, "Goldstein has laid down a foundation for what could be a strong franchise."

Back to top

Howling at the Moon

Walter Yetnikoff ‘56 (Broadway Books, 2005)

During the 1970s and '80s the music business was dominated by a few major labels and artists such as Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, and James Taylor. They were all under contract to CBS Records, making it the most successful label of the era. And, as the company's president, Walter Yetnikoff ‘56 was the ruling monarch. He was also the most flamboyant, volatile and controversial personality to emerge from an industry and era defined by sex, drugs, and debauchery.

Having risen from working-class Brooklyn and the legal department of CBS, Mr. Yetnikoff had an uncanny knack for fostering talent and intimidating rivals—which was usually fueled by an explosive combination of cocaine and alcohol. In Howling at the Moon, Mr. Yetnikoff traces his journey as he climbed the corporate mountain, danced on its summit, and crashed and burned, though not before boosting sales from $485 million to more than $2 billion. The author emerges from his fall with a hunger for redemption and a new reverence for his working-class Brooklyn roots. The book is now out in paperback from Broadway Books.

Back to top

Miss Gazillions

Dick Weber '67 (St. Martin's Minotaur, 2005).

Hot off the presses is Dick Weber's '67 Miss Gazillions, the story of Daniel Sullivan, who has just been kicked off his yacht in the Caribbean, where he's been living an indolent life for 20 years. His father has just died, and he is penniless. At the funeral, he meets Lydia Sands, his late dad's mistress, who tells him, "The coffin's all yours." Sullivan's father wanted to be buried out at sea, but must wait till Daniel can afford to ship him there. He is forced to eke out a living in snowy Park Slope, Brooklyn, working as a landlord. His father's coffin serving as a living room centerpiece.

As he schemes up ways to get back to his tropical paradise, a beautiful and mysterious young woman named Celeste in the upstairs apartment comes to Daniel for help. She was the only person who survived a horrible car accident that involved a secretary of the treasury, a former U.S. attorney general, and an infamous Colombian cocaine dealer. She's salvaged two bags from the wreck and they're filled with loot.

Daniel and Celeste embark on a whirlwind love affair. Coached by Lydia and her paramour, a defrocked Italian cardinal who's an expert in finance, they romp around Europe, dodging the law and evading mobsters. Celeste's legacy has opened up a fabulous life for them, but it could also get them killed (St. Martin's Minotaur).

Back to top

Zero Game

Brad Meltzer '96

Brad Meltzer's ‘96 latest thriller, just out in paperback from Warner Books, is the story of Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler, who are playing a game almost no one knows about - not their friends, not their coworkers, and certainly not their powerful bosses, who are some of the most influential senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill. It's a game that has everything: risk, reward, and the thrill of knowing that--just by being invited to play--you've become a true insider. But behind this game is a secret so explosive it will shake Washington to its core. And when one player turns up dead, a dedicated young staffer will find himself relying on a tough, idealistic seventeen-year-old Senate page to help keep him he plays the Zero Game to its heart-pounding end.

Back to top

Loving Soren

Caroline Coleman O'Neill ‘90 (Broadman & Holman, 2005),

Few people want to lug Soren Kierkegaard to the beach, but with Caroline Coleman O'Neill's ‘90 novel Loving Soren (Broadman & Holman, 2005), you don't have to.  Set in Copenhagen and the West Indies in the mid-nineteenth century, the novel is the true story of the Danish philosopher told from the point of view of his fiancee, Regine Olsen.  Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling and Either/Or, considered by many people of his era as impenetrable, have made him one of the most regarded philosophers of the modern era.  Yet, very little has been written about him from the viewpoint of Olsen.

Ms. O'Neill, who was exposed to the works of Kierkegaard by her father, worked at Davis Polk & Wardwell as a litigation associate until the arrival of her first child in the mid-1990s.  

"I began my [Kierkegaard] research by doing a chronology," she says, with a laugh. 
 This was followed by trips to Copenhagen and the Danish West Indies (now the U.S. Virgin Islands), where she toured period buildings and read old newspapers on microfiche so as to make the details of her book as authentic as possible.  After seven years of research and writing, which included more than a dozen rejections from publishers and a total rewrite, she secured a publisher.

Ultimately, Loving Soren is a love story about a woman trying to save a man from himself and who ends up losing her self in the process - a subject appropriate for summer days  at the beach.

Back to top

The Movie Business: The Definitive Guide to the Legal and Financial Secrets

Kelly Crabb ‘84 (Simon & Schuster, 2005)

Film producer David O Selznick once said, "Hollywood's like Egypt, full of crumbled pyramids. It'll never come back. It'll just keep on crumbling until finally the wind blows the last studio prop across the sands."

Until then, there's time to make movies, and The Movie Business: The Definitive Guide to the Legal and Financial Secrets by Kelly Crabb ‘84 (Simon & Schuster, 2005), contains the information needed to understand the legal and financial challenges involved in getting a film from story to the silver screen and beyond. Drawing on more than two decades of experience as a lawyer and producer in the film business, Mr. Crabb covers nuts-and-bolts topics on intellectual property law, financial backing, overseeing the filming, and distribution.

"I felt that there was a need for an accessible guide to would-be producers — something that would be easy to read and impart the fundamentals of producing a movie. Everything that I saw seemed to be overly technical or, in some cases, flat wrong," says Mr. Crabb, who has himself been involved in a number of movie projects. Among them are Ali, The Ghost and the Darkness, Francis Ford Coppolla's Jeepers Creepers, and Dark Water, a psychological thriller starring AcademyAward winner Jennifer Connelly, due for release on July 8.

What is the biggest mistake movie investors make?

"A lack of understanding of how the business works," says Mr. Crabb. "Investors who fund production need to understand the importance of distribution. Development investors need to understand that in the United States this step has many risks. I once worked on a project where a big-name director and actor were attached, but when the screenplay was finished [by a major writer], there was no part for the attached actor. The actor dropped out. The director dropped out. The script still hasn't been made into a movie."

The Movie Business was six years in the writing, often composed on airplanes and in hotel rooms. "The law can be a jealous handmaid," says Mr. Crabb.

So, perhaps, can the film business.

Back to top

Identity Crisis

Brad Meltzer '96, illustrated by Rags Morales (DC Comics, 2004)

The best-selling author of five legal thrillers, Brad Meltzer has turned his attention from the secret-dealing of Capitol Hill staffers in The Zero Game (2004) to the secret lives of the costumed heroes who populate DC Comics.

"I've been reading comics for an long as I've been able to read.  I grew up with them, was amazed by them, and matured with them. Identity Crisis is my love letter to these heroes," the author explained in June.  The comic book is the first in a series of seven.

The miniseries begins with a mysterious murder committed among the ranks of the Justice League of America, the super hero community that includes caped principals such as Superman and Batman, as well as the less-heralded Atom (a man who shrinks) and Elongated Man. The death of a character with close ties to the super heroes shatters both their self-confidence and sense of security. In uncharted, comic book territory, Mr. Meltzer examines the ensuing emotional crises and the cost of being a hero. The series cleverly deconstructs the tradition of secret identities, and countless other decades-old with endearingly campy conventions.

Mr. Meltzer, who has a special affinity for the fictional comic book super hero Daredevil (a Columbia-trained lawyer blinded by nuclear waste as a child whose remaining senses were considerably enhanced), says he hopes to eventually bring the crime fighter's private angst to comic book pages as well.

Back to top

Saying What the Law Is

Prof. Charles Fried ‘60 (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2004)

In a few thousand words the Constitution sets up the government of the United States and proclaims the basic human and political rights of its people. From the interpretation and elaboration of those words in Supreme Court cases comes the constitutional law that structures our government and defines our individual relationship to that government.  This book fills the need for an account of that law free from legal jargon and clear enough to inform the educated layperson, yet which does not condescend or slight critical nuance.

Charles Fried, the Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard University, ushers readers up to and through such controversial recent Supreme Court decisions as the Texas sodomy case and the University of Michigan affirmative action case.  His goal is to make sense of the main topics of constitutional law: the nature of doctrine, federalism, separation of powers, freedom of expression, religion, liberty, and equality.

Prof. Fried, who counts constitutional law scholar Professor Herbert Wechsler ‘31 as his model for teaching, draws on a wealth of experience, including as a practitioner before the U.S. Supreme Court, a former associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and Solicitor General of the United States. His book firmly draws the reader into the heart of today's constitutional battles. He understands what moves today's justices  and that understanding illuminates his analyses.

Back to top

Law and Ethics in Global Business

Prof. Brian L. Nelson ‘81 (Bridge Publishing, West Lafayette, Ind., 2003)

This book details effective principles and techniques useful for integrating law and ethics into global businesses.  Corporations conducting business globally (or seeking to do so) are invariably subject to legal and ethical principles, including competition law, agency law, and the ethical standards of the communities in which they function. An understanding of these principles is as indispensable as that of the business laws or international treaty obligations which may serve one or more countries. Written from the perspective of a corporate leader, Law and Ethics in Global Business provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and ethical  practices which facilitate and govern global business.  It offers insight into integrating those practices into business decisions and corporate structure.  Heedful of a rapidly changing global business climate, the insight and analysis offered in Law and Ethics are intended to survive the inevitable modifications in specific, applicable laws and community norms.

Back to top

With All Deliberate Speed: The Life of Philip Elman

Norman Silber ’86, ed. (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2004)

From a modest childhood in Paterson, N.J., Philip Elman rose to become clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter and then to the U.S. Solicitor General’s office, where he had an exceptional vantage point on one of the most momentous cases in U.S. legal history: Brown v. Board of Education. In this oral history memoir of Mr. Elman’s life, Hofstra Law School Professor Norman Silber reveals the maneuvering that led to the court’s overturning the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Working behind the scenes, Mr. Elman, a Justice Department attorney, came up with the concept of gradual integration – which worked its way into the final decision as the famous phrase “with all deliberate speed.” Though the phrase angered those pressing for immediate desegregation, Mr. Elman claims that it unified a divided Supreme Court, thus enabling them to stand together against the evil of segregation.

The book recounts Mr. Elman’s entire career in government service, including his experience as an FTC commissioner and his role in helping found the modern consumer protection movement.
Back to top

Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century

Alexander Sanger ’74 (PublicAffairs, New York, 2004)

Thirty years after Roe v. Wade, the argument between pro-choice and pro-life supporters has reached a stalemate. Pro-choice arguments haven’t persuaded a comfortable majority that legal abortion is vital, nor have they addressed moral qualms. Younger people are increasingly less supportive of reproductive rights. Since 1996, state legislatures have enacted nearly 300 pieces of anti-choice legislation.

International Planned Parenthood Council Chair Alexander Sanger asks pro-choicers an important question: How many more pieces of pro-life legislation will it take to get the pro-choice movement to rethink its approach to the issue? In Beyond Choice, Mr. Sanger explores the history of the reproductive rights movement to discover how it got stuck in its thinking, and then provides a new argument for the rightness of its cause. He explores why couples should be able to have children, or not, when they choose; and why, in an era of new reproductive technologies, completely unfettered choice is not morally defensible. Mr. Sanger, the grandson of Margaret Sanger, served as the president of Planned Parenthood of New York City and its international arm, the Margaret Sanger Center International, from 1991-2000. He is currently a goodwill ambassador for the UN Population Fund.
Back to top

Washington: Portrait of a City

Steve Gottlieb ’72 (Taylor Publishing, Lanham, Md., 2004)

After practicing as a Washington, D.C. attorney for 10 years, Steve Gottlieb turned his lifelong hobby of photography into a second career. A professional photographer, he has traveled throughout America to record images that have appeared in his previous books, Abandoned America and American Icon. The latter, a visual celebration of the nation’s most widely recognized symbols, was praised by Library Journal as teeming with photos that were “stunningly beautiful.” In his latest book, Washington: Portrait of a City, Mr. Gottlieb turns his eye on the nation’s capital and portrays it in all seasons and at various times of day. The book boldly covers the city’s sculpture and memorials, parks, transportation systems, and citizens both at work and play. His affection for the city is evident. He writes in the preface, “I have photographed nearly every major city from coast to coast, but none has come close to inspiring me like Washington.”
Back to top

The 2% Solution:

Fixing America’s Problems
In Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love

Matthew L. Miller ’86 (Public Affairs, New York, 2003)

Suppose that for just two cents on the national dollar America could be a country where everyone had health insurance, full-time workers earned a living wage, and poor children had great teachers in fixed-up schools. And suppose that after this was accomplished, government would be smaller than it was when Ronald Reagan was president. While two cents on the dollar doesn’t sound like a lot of money, it comes to more than $200 billion a year of America’s GDP. In this book, Matthew Miller, a syndicated columnist and host of the radio program “Left, Right & Center,” challenges the country (and those who would lead it) to change the way we think about our public responsibilities before the baby boomers’ retirement siphons all the money out of the system. The 2% Solution is a call to arms that Republicans and Democrats cannot afford to ignore.
Back to top

Professional Responsibility

Professor W. Bradley Wendel ’98 LL.M. (Aspen Publishers, New York, 2004)

Written for students, this book offers a balanced approach to the complex issues surrounding professional responsibility. It acknowledges the complicated interplay between the Model Rules and other law, while explaining the law clearly. The book is structured around concepts, with the rules and the generally applicable law introduced as needed, and it tackles difficult issues head-on, such as conflicts of interest, client fraud problems, and the intersection between confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege. Professional Responsibility, which includes charts, Venn diagrams, and other visual aids, draws examples from actual cases so they are representative of the problems students can expect to encounter in practice.
Back to top

A Message from Garcia: Yes, You Can Succeed

Charles P. Garcia ’94 (John Wiley & Sons, Indianapolis, 2003)

Mr. Garcia is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, a highly decorated military officer, and a former White House fellow. In 1997, he founded the Sterling Financial Group of Companies with three people. It has grown to more than 60 offices in seven countries. He has worked in government and, during the war in Iraq, he was Telemundo TV’s behind-the-desk military analyst. Drawing on his colorful past through humorous anecdotes about success, hope, business, and leadership, Mr. Garcia explains how to achieve goals by using 14 principles known as “success beliefs,” and implementing four simple “success strategies” to move toward those goals.
Back to top

The Sibling Thing:

How I Went from Prince to Pest in Four Short Years
Saul Turteltaub ’57 (Tallfellow Press, Los Angeles, 2003)

This book is a sequel to Mr. Turteltaub’s earlier memoir, The Grandfather Thing (Tallfellow, 2001), in which he wrote about the first year of his grandson, Max, along with Max’s “own” comments and observations. The Sibling Thing was inspired by the birth of Max’s brother, Ross, whose existence generates sibling rivalry and many funny tales. This book is authored by Max, “as told to his grandfather.” Before his grandchildren arrived, Mr. Turteltaub spent his days as a writer and producer on popular TV programs, including “The Carol Burnett Show,” “That Girl,” and “The Cosby Show.” The reader gets the idea that he is as challenged by being a grandfather as he was as a TV legend, though he is having a lot more fun. His advice to grandfathers: “Don’t be ashamed that you are less mechanical than your daughter or daughter-in-law. She will quickly learn by instruction and experience how to assemble and disassemble the high chair, car seat, and stroller. Stay out of it. Don’t volunteer to do it. You will get mad, look silly, and might end up in an emergency room.”
Back to top

Saints, Sinners and Scalawags: A Lifetime of Stories

Thibault de Saint Phalle ’41 (Hobblebush Books, Brookline, N.H., 2003)

To read Mr. De Saint Phalle's book is to take a fascinating tour of a good part of the 20th century. The author has worn many hats during his lifetime: military officer, international lawyer, corporate executive, and activist. He worked his way through law school as a tutor to the Sulzberger family, publishers of the New York Times; served as an OSS officer behind enemy lines in China; was a director of the Import-Export Bank under the Carter administration; and became a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Throughout his life, he has met and mingled with the world’s movers and shakers and was even in Russia – teaching Russian businessmen about Western business practices – during the failed takeover by Communists in 1995. At the book’s end, one gets the idea that the author, at 86, is not done living yet.
Back to top

IENS Independent Index to the Restaurants of Amsterdam

(IENS Independent Index bv, Amsterdam, 2004)

Traveling to Holland anytime soon? You might want to order a copy of this restaurant guide to Amsterdam and its environs, published by Simone Brummelhuis ’90 LL.M. What makes the guide unique is that the reviews are garnered from surveys of restaurant goers themselves. Want to know where to go for quiet conversation? A child friendly menu? The best sandwiches? This witty guide provides an honest look at the restaurants and all their variables, including food, price, decor, and service. In the last category, one reviewer comments, “As long as the boss’ kids stay home, staff are ‘professional and adequate.’”

Ms. Brummelhuis’ company has also published guides to other Dutch cities.
Back to top