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New Releases by Professors Amar and Witt Named to Best Books of 2012 Lists

Lincoln’s Code by Professor John Fabian Witt ’99 and America’s Unwritten Constitution by Professor Akhil Reed Amar ’84 have been named notable books of 2012 by two top newspapers.

The New York Times has chosen Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History as one of its “100 Notable Books of 2012.” The 100 books – 50 fiction & poetry and 50 nonfiction – were selected by editors of The New York Times Book Review. The list appears in the Times’ Dec. 2 Sunday Book Review section under the heading, “Holiday Gift Guide 2012.”

Released by Free Press on Sept. 4 of this year, Lincoln’s Code tells the hidden story of the laws of war in the first century of the United States – and of the extraordinary code that emerged from it to change the course of world history. It was described by Times reviewer Gary Bass as “Magnificent . . . Lincoln’s Code is both a celebratory chronicle of American lawmaking and a gruesome record of American wartime cruelty…”

“No nation in the history of the world has made the law governing the conduct of armies in war more central to its founding self-image than the United States,” writes Witt, who is the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Read more about Lincoln’s Code here.

Read the Times’ review here.

Professor Amar’s book, America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By, has made the Washington Post’s “Best of 2012: 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction” list.

Described by the Post as “a masterful, readable book that constitutes one of the best, most creative treatments of the U.S. Constitution in decades,” America’s Unwritten Constitution guides readers through the landmark cases, implicit principles, common practices, and more that make up our unwritten Constitution, showing how the written and unwritten Constitutions fit together to form a single system. 

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. America’s Unwritten Constitution, published by Basic Books on Sept. 11, 2012, is a sequel to his award-winning book, America’s Constitution: A Biography.

Read more about America’s Unwritten Constitution here.

Read the Washington Post review here.