Book Review: Odds and Ends

A lot of books go across my desk.  Here are a few that I spent a little more time with.

The Little Book of Cowboy Law by Cecil Kuhne
(KF1730 .K84 2012)

Even if you have never worn a pair of spurs, the sight of a lone cowboy galloping across the ragged range at sunset, dust flying in his wake, is an extremely evocative one.  Cowboy culture developed during the United States’ westward expansion as a unique and old-fashioned blend of individualism, personal integrity, and strong work ethic.  And even in this modern-day world of pickup trucks equipped with cell phones, GPS, and satellite radio, the traditions and mores remain largely intact.

But even with the freedom and relative lawlessness we associate with them, the cowboy–like the rest of society–was never far from the courthouse, and the book you have before you contains some fascinating legal disputes that have made their way to the bench.  Because of the diversity and complexity of this litigation, these cases have been divided into five parts:

1. The Cowboy Trade
2. Rodeo World
3. Matters of Tort
4. Criminal Concerns
5. Intellectual Property

This collection is a captivating look at the subset of American jurisprudence that illustrates the unique character of cowboy culture.  It also confirms the old Wild West adage that there are really only two kinds of people in the world–those who are cowboys, and those who want to be cowboys.  Check this book out from the law library or purchase a copy for yourself from the American Bar Association web store.

Serial Murderers and Their Victims by Eric W Hickey
(HV6529 .H53 2013)

This book provides an in-depth, scholarly, and broad-based examination of serial murderers and their victims.  Featuring coverage supported by extensive data and research, the book profiles some of the most prominent murderers of our time, addressing the highest-profile serial killer type–the sexual predator–as well as a wide variety of other types (male, female, team, healthcare, and serial killers from outside the U.S.).  Author Eric Hickey examines the lives of over 400 serial murderers, analyzing the cultural, historical, and religious factors that influence our myths and stereotypes of these individuals.  He describes the biological, psychological, and sociological reasons for serial murder and discusses profiling and other law enforcement issues related to the apprehension and disposition of serial killers.  A copy is available to check out from the law library or buy the book from either Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Legal Decisions That Shaped Modern Baseball by Patrick K. Thornton
(KF3989.A52 T46 2012)

This work takes a look at the cases that have had a significant influence on the game of baseball, such as Flood v. Kuhn and Garvey v. MLB, which either made it to the U.S. Supreme Court or brought up major legal issues in baseball.  Also included are cases that explore legal issues in baseball but are not as well known and cases that appear in most sports law books.  For each case, the historical and legal significance of the decision is discussed.  Check out the law library copy or purchase a copy for yourself from McFarland Publishers or get the Kindle version from Amazon.

The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives by Shankar Vedatim
(BF315 .V399 2010)

The hidden brain is the voice in our ear when we make the most important decisions in our lives—but we’re never aware of it.  The hidden brain decides whom we fall in love with and whom we hate.  It tells us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant, to hire the thin woman but pay her less than the man doing the same job.  It can direct us to safety when disaster strikes and move us to extraordinary acts of altruism.  But it can also be manipulated to turn an ordinary person into a suicide terrorist or a group of bystanders into a mob.

In a series of compulsively readable narratives, Shankar Vedantam journeys through the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to uncover the darkest corner of our minds and its decisive impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society.  Filled with fascinating characters, dramatic storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is an engrossing exploration of the secrets our brains keep from us—and how they are revealed.  We’d be happy to check out a copy to you at the law library or you can buy your own copy from either Barnes and Noble or Amazon.


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