100 books like The Southern Judicial Tradition

By Timothy S. Huebner,

Here are 100 books that The Southern Judicial Tradition fans have personally recommended if you like The Southern Judicial Tradition. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to fully understand the century-long struggle after the Civil War to end legally-sanctioned discrimination against Black Americans. Prof. Klarman provides a richly detailed account of that century-long struggle, an account that describes the legal battles that took place in individual states and puts them in the context of the larger national debate. The book requires some effort on the reader's part, but the story that Klarman tells of the U.S. Supreme Court's gradual turn against segregation and its clashes with Southern state lawmakers and courts is ultimately a deeply moving one. 

By Michael J. Klarman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Jim Crow to Civil Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A monumental investigation of the Supreme Court's rulings on race, From Jim Crow To Civil Rights spells out in compelling detail the political and social context within which the Supreme Court Justices operate and the consequences of their decisions for American race relations. In a highly provocative interpretation of the decision's connection to the civil rights movement, Klarman argues that Brown was more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to racial change than for encouraging direct-action protest. Brown unquestioningly had a significant impact-it brought race issues to public attention and it mobilized supporters of the ruling. It also, however, energized…


Book cover of Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

In 1882, only a few years after it enacted a series of landmark civil rights laws, Congress passed an Exclusion Act slamming the door on Chinese immigration. Why the dramatic turnaround? A powerful anti-Chinese movement, driven by racism and fear of economic competition, had taken hold among whites in the West and had produced a wave of anti-Asian state laws. Americans east of the Rockies didn't share Western sentiments, but eventually Eastern politicians yielded in order to attract Western votes. Gyory gives us an absorbing picture of the exclusion movement, of Western anti-Chinese leaders, and of the Easterners who went along with them. His book is a stark reminder that good people's indifference can contribute to the triumph of evil.

By Andrew Gyory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Closing the Gate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred nearly all Chinese from US shores for ten years. Gyory traces the origins of the Act, contending that rather than confronting divisive problems such as class conflict, politicians sought a safe, non-ideological solution to the nation's industrial crisis.


Book cover of James Kent: A Study in Conservatism, 1763-1847

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

Although he is virtually unknown today, New York chancellor James Kent ranks as one of America's greatest state judges. Kent was an old-time Federalist, a believer in government by gentlemen. During his lifetime his views steadily lost ground to Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy, but he made a permanent imprint on American law. Among other things, he authored the first general treatise on American law and arranged for national circulation of New York judicial decisions, thus giving his state an outsize role in shaping American law, and he helped preserve the central place of federal authority and protection of private property in the law. Kent deserves a modern biography, but until one is written, readers interested in New York history and legal history will find John Horton's older 1939 biography a lively and easy-to-read book, well worth their time.

By John Theodore Horton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked James Kent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reprint of the first and only edition. Originally published: New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., [1939]. xi, 354 pp. Well-annotated, with a thorough bibliography and index.


Book cover of Jefferson's Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

Jefferson's Louisiana is an absorbing study of a clash of cultures that helped to shape America's legal empire as it moved westward. Louisiana, governed by Spain and France under civil law codes for nearly a century before it became part of the United States, was a crossroads at which English law (dominant elsewhere in the new nation) and European law collided. Prof. Dargo first describes the uneasy cultural accommodation that French and Spanish settlers made with American immigrants at the turn of the nineteenth century, an accommodation made more challenging by Aaron Burr's simultaneous efforts to foment revolution in the trans-Appalachian West. Dargo then tells the story of how American and old-settler jurists collaborated to shape a new Louisiana code amalgamating common and civil law. 

By George Dargo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jefferson's Louisiana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Purchase of all of Louisiana in 1803 brought the new American nation into contact with the French Creole population of the Lower Mississippi Basin. The Spanish called it Baja Luisiana. While the settlement in and around the city of New Orleans (the capital of the province when it was ruled by Spain) was not large, it had well established governmental and legal institutions. Which system of law would prevail in this volatile corner of the North American continent, a region that was distant and strategically vulnerable to rival European powers -- Spain, France and Great Britain - who still…


Book cover of Lawyers as Changemakers: The Global Integrative Law Movement

Kate Vitasek Author Of Contracting in the New Economy: Using Relational Contracts to Boost Trust and Collaboration in Strategic Business Relationships

From my list on developing strategic business contracts.

Who am I?

I am an international authority for my award-winning research on the Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. I began my research in 2003 by studying what makes the difference in successful strategic business deals. My day job is the lead faculty and researcher for the University of Tennessee’s Certified Deal Architect program; my passion is helping organizations and individuals learn the art, science, and practice of crafting highly collaborative win-win strategic business relationships. My work has led to seven books and three Harvard Business Review articles and I’ve shared my advice on CNN International, Bloomberg, NPR, and Fox Business News.

Kate's book list on developing strategic business contracts

Kate Vitasek Why did Kate love this book?

Taken in tandem with Lawyers as Peacemakers, Wright’s books chart a much-needed approach to legal’s involvement in contracting. She advocates for Integrative Law, which puts lawyers at the table with the other negotiators as a contract is developed. This is important because often lawyers come late to the party or with contractual guardrails and Ts and Cs that should have been addressed at the start of (and during) the negotiation. When lawyers are not integrated as changemakers to support the business, you will likely find yourself in a series of back and forth red-line hell that causes frustration and deteriorates trust with your business partner. I challenge you to take Wright’s sage advice to rethink how lawyers can be changemakers. 

By J. Kim Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lawyers as Changemakers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Integrative lawyers are the harbingers of a new cultural consciousness and are leaders in social evolution. Integrative Law isn't just an approach to legal procedures. It has to do with a fundamental shift in world view, an expansion of what we think is possible. Integrative Lawyers explore and draw upon many disciplines and wisdom traditions, such as philosophy, science, psychology, and spirituality. They bring this consciousness into the law and are partners with colleagues in other disciplines. Yeah, it's that kind of book.


Book cover of Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law

Elie Honig Author Of Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away with It

From my list on making the law come to life.

Who am I?

My father was a lawyer, so people sometimes assume that I wanted to follow in his footsteps. In fact, it was the opposite; I saw how hard he worked and how much of a grind the job could be. What really sparked my interest was the great books and movies about the legal profession. Eventually, I was lucky enough to spend fourteen years as a prosecutor, and let me tell you: the job is even better than you’d see on the page or on the screen. I loved the work while I had the job, and now I love telling stories. I hope you’ll be as entertained and inspired as I was by these books.

Elie's book list on making the law come to life

Elie Honig Why did Elie love this book?

Preet was my boss at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and is now a close friend.

He’s a gifted storyteller – you’ll hear about prosecutions of everybody from Wall Street titans to a cannibal cop – and he offers a fascinating and intellectually accessible examination of the vital and unique role played by the prosecutor in our democracy.

By Preet Bharara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Doing Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller

'Simply, utterly brilliant. Bursting with humility and humanity' The Secret Barrister

'An elegant, philosophical and, at times, moving memoir of what it is like to serve as America's most high-profile legal official' Financial Times

Multi-million-dollar fraud. Terrorism. Mafia criminality. Russian espionage.

As United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara prosecuted some of the most high-profile cases in America. In Doing Justice he takes us inside America's criminal justice system to deliver a powerful meditation on justice - what it is, who dispenses it, how it works - and what the…


Book cover of Honor Killing: Race, Rape, and Clarence Darrow's Spectacular Last Case

Eric Redman Author Of Bones Of Hilo

From my list on under-appreciated about Hawai'i.

Who am I?

In the early 1980s, I fell in love with the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, its people – including my wife’s Native Hawaiian relatives – and its history. My wife and I owned a home on the South Kohala Coast of the Big Island for twenty years, where I assembled a library of Hawaiian history and began reading all things Hawaiian, including detective fiction. Every year, Hawaiʻi inspires so many books, fiction and non-fiction, well-publicized or obscure, that it’s fun to mention some that Hawaiʻi lovers and residents may have missed.  

Eric's book list on under-appreciated about Hawai'i

Eric Redman Why did Eric love this book?

In 1931, Thalia Massie, the bored wife of a naval officer stationed in Honolulu, accused six nonwhite islanders of gang rape.

The trial loosed a storm of racist hatred and sexual hysteria nationwide (Hearst papers, I’m looking at you). But the evidence was scant – for one thing, she almost certainly had not been raped – and the trial ended in a hung jury.

Outraged that she hadn’t been believed, Thalia’s husband, mother, and friends then kidnapped and murdered one of the Native Hawaiian defendants as an “honor killing.” Caught in the act, the Massies got Clarence Darrow to defend them. 

He lost at trial but, scandalously, the all-white killers were released within hours. During the two years these events played out, racial divisions in Hawaiʻi became re-aligned – the concept of “locals” was born, embracing all nonwhite ethnic groups for the first time, and all in opposition to haoles…

By David E. Stannard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Honor Killing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1931, Thalia Massie, the bored, aristocratic wife of a young naval officer stationed in Honolulu, accused six nonwhite islanders of gang rape. The ensuing trial let loose a storm of racial and sexual hysteria, but the case against the suspects was scant and the trial ended in a hung jury. Outraged, Thalia’s socialite mother arranged the kidnapping and murder of one of the suspects. In the spectacularly publicized trial that followed, Clarence Darrow came to Hawai’i to defend Thalia’s mother, a sorry epitaph to a noble career.

It is one of the most sensational criminal cases…


Book cover of How They Murdered Princess Diana: The Shocking Truth

Jeannette Hensby Author Of The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

From my list on true murder junkies.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by true murder cases ever since I started reading about them when I was sixteen years old. They draw on all your senses and emotions: your curiosity about the psychology behind the killer’s actions and your horror and sympathy for the victims, their families, and the families of the killers because they suffer too. As a writer I am particularly drawn to apparent miscarriages of justice and I think there must be a secret detective hidden deep in my soul because I love to delve and investigate these. I wrote my first book after retiring from my long career in Social Services and Mental Health Services. 

Jeannette's book list on true murder junkies

Jeannette Hensby Why did Jeannette love this book?

If you were an adult in August 1997 you will almost certainly remember exactly what you were doing when you first heard the news about the death of Princess Diana. I was in bed. My husband arrived home from his night shift at about 6 a.m., and climbing into bed he said “There’s been a terrible accident. Princess Diana is dead.” “Oh don’t be ridiculous.” I said, “She can’t be.” He switched on the television and we saw the first floral tribute being laid at the gates of Kensington Palace. It was true; the People’s Princess had been killed in a road accident in Paris by a drunk driver while being chased by the paparazzi. “Not so,” says the author. “She was murdered by the State.” Chilling!

By John Morgan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How They Murdered Princess Diana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This explosive book blows the lid on one of the most shocking crimes of our modern era. But it does more than that. How They Murdered Princess Diana is the most complete evidence-based account of the assassination of Princess Diana yet written. It delivers on providing answers to many of the key questions surrounding the 1997 Paris crash that took the lives of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed – Who did it? Why was Diana assassinated? How was it carried out? It also exposes the massive inter-governmental cover-up that has taken place throughout the 17 years since the deaths.…


Book cover of Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed

Mark Bartholomew Author Of Adcreep: The Case Against Modern Marketing

From my list on advertising and technology.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by advertising—its creativity, its persuasive force, its sometimes relentless nature. I’m a law professor and I’ve written numerous articles on the relationship between law, technology, and advertising. A lot of what I’m interested in is psychology. Only by understanding the capabilities of audiences for advertising can judges and legislatures determine what legal limits need to be placed on advertisers.   

Mark's book list on advertising and technology

Mark Bartholomew Why did Mark love this book?

This book offers a blueprint for how to resist the intrusions of modern marketing. Cole, legal director of the ACLU and a former law professor, examines the successes of three modern movements for constitutional change. He adroitly traces the strategic choices made on the road to marriage equality, human rights in the war on terror, and a more capacious vision of the right to bear arms. Though dissimilar in their particular goals, these three social movements succeeded in producing sweeping changes in the law. Cole’s careful account is not only fascinating in its own right, but offers lessons for those who want to push back against the current landscape of ubiquitous advertising and commercial surveillance. 

By David Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Engines of Liberty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Donald Trump's policies, from his travel ban to his approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, have prompted an immediate response from concerned liberals. Yet what effect can protest truly have in the face of the awesome power of the executive branch? Do everyday citizens have a role in safeguarding our Constitution? Or must we rely on the federal courts, and the Supreme Court above all, to protect our dearly held rights?

In Engines of Liberty, the esteemed legal scholar David Cole argues that we all have a part to play in the grand civic dramas of our era. Examining the…


Book cover of Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country

Robin Kirk Author Of Righting Wrongs: 20 Human Rights Heroes Around the World

From my list on women human rights visionaries.

Who am I?

I’ve been a rights advocate since I was a middle schooler planning how to help save the whales. In college, I volunteered in anti-apartheid campaigns, then became a journalist covering the rise of the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru. I wanted my research and words to make change. I spent 12 years covering Peru and Colombia for Human Rights Watch. Now, I try to inspire other young people to learn about and advocate for human rights as a professor and the co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. I also write fiction for kids that explores human rights themes and just completed The Bond Trilogy, an epic fantasy.

Robin's book list on women human rights visionaries

Robin Kirk Why did Robin love this book?

In 2003, Ebadi was the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her pioneering advocacy for human rights, including in her native Iran. I love her voice in this memoir: perceptive, funny, and very serious when it comes to making the case that human rights can flourish within Islam. You can feel both her passion and her bravery against the crushing authoritarianism that continues to strangle this vibrant country and culture. She also makes the case that the women of Iran will be the ones who finally prevail in the struggle for human rights. 

By Shirin Ebadi, Azadeh Moaveni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Iran Awakening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this remarkable book, Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer and activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, tells her extraordinary life story.

Dr Ebadi is a tireless voice for reform in her native Iran, where she argues for a new interpretation of Sharia law in harmony with vital human rights such as democracy, equality before the law, religious freedom and freedom of speech. She is known for defending dissident figures, and for the establishment of a number of non-profit grassroots organisations dedicated to human rights. In 2003 she became the first Muslim woman, and the first Iranian, to be awarded…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in judges, the South, and African Americans?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about judges, the South, and African Americans.

Judges Explore 19 books about judges
The South Explore 173 books about the South
African Americans Explore 711 books about African Americans