American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 45, Issue 3, 60-61


Copyright © 2009 American Judges Association. Used by permission.


For those individuals whose bookshelves are lined with more than the stately rows of law treatises, Law Lit: From Atticus Finch to The Practice will function as a series of delicious appetizers that leave you satisfied yet yearning for the main entree. If literature is your forte, you will indubitably add a few more books to your reading list after perusing this anthology. If literature isn’t your normal cup of tea, this anthology—brimming with iconic classics—is still immensely practical and delightful to lawyers and judges who regularly teach or speak publicly about the law and are interested in delving into the depths of what editor Thane Rosenbaum calls “the human spirit that is antiseptically left out of the legal system.”

Rosenbaum suggests in his introduction that society is both intensely drawn to and repulsed by the law and that “the artist enters [at] the intersection between longing for law and the consequences.” His anthology extrapolates upon this theme from the soaring rhetoric and righteous condemnations in Émile Zola’s J’Accuse, a famous editorial condemning the French government of anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus Affair, to the dramatic declaration that “You can’t handle the truth!” during the intense cross-examination scene in A Few Good Men. Rosenbaum has collected an outpouring of artistic creations that address the tense interplay between popular beliefs about law in its ability to transcend even the highest expectations of morality and mercy and the fetid stink of the law as a corrupt, repugnant monstrosity.