We The People Book Club

Join Classroom Law Project for the We the People Book Club. This year’s series of books will focus on current events and Constitutional principles (and loosely relate to the Units in the WTP text). Meetings bring teachers together to network, learn, and discuss a variety of topics. Leading book club discussions are the always insightful Susie Marcus and Shelley Larkins, the winning, inquisitive, and fun attorney coach from Grant HS’s Con Team.

There is no charge to attend, however, registration is required as space is limited. Book Club meets once every-other-month at the Lucky Labrador from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dinner is provided by Classroom Law Project.

Two optional semester credits are offered through Lewis & Clark.

Alexander HamiltonUnit 1 – Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow – October 18, 2016

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades. Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America.

Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow. 2005. 832 pages.

Objective Troy Unit 2 – Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone, Scott Shane – December 6, 2016

Objective Troy tells the gripping and unsettling story of Anwar al-Awlaki, the once-celebrated American imam who called for moderation after 9/11, a man who ultimately directed his outsized talents to the mass murder of his fellow citizens. It follows Barack Obama’s campaign against the excesses of the Bush counterterrorism programs and his eventual embrace of the targeted killing of suspected militants. And it recounts how the president directed the mammoth machinery of spy agencies to hunt Awlaki down in a frantic, multi-million-dollar pursuit that would end with the death of Awlaki by a bizarre, robotic technology that is changing warfare—the drone.

Scott Shane, who has covered terrorism for The New York Times over the last decade, weaves the clash between president and terrorist into both a riveting narrative and a deeply human account of the defining conflict of our era. Illuminating and provocative, and based on years of in depth reporting, Objective Troy is a brilliant reckoning with the moral challenge of terrorism and a masterful chronicle of our times.

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone, Scott Shane, 2015, 432 pages.

Team of RivalsUnit 3 – Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin – February 7, 2017

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln’s mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation’s history. Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war. We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin, 2006, 944 pages.

ScorpionsUnit 4 – Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices, Noah Feldman – April 4, 2017

A tiny, ebullient Jew who started as America’s leading liberal and ended as its most famous judicial conservative. A Klansman who became an absolutist advocate of free speech and civil rights. A backcountry lawyer who started off trying cases about cows and went on to conduct the most important international trial ever. A self-invented, tall-tale Westerner who narrowly missed the presidency but expanded individual freedom beyond what anyone before had dreamed. Four more different men could hardly be imagined. Yet they had certain things in common. Each was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings on the edge of poverty. Each had driving ambition and a will to succeed. Each was, in his own way, a genius. They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare.

Scorpions tells the story of these four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.

Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices, Noah Feldman, 2010, 582 pages.

Unit 5 – An As Yet Undecided Documentary Movie – May 9, 2017

We will decide on a documentary that everyone will watch on their own prior to our meeting, then we will discuss.

Just-MercyUnit 6 – Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson – June 13, 2017

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson, 2015, 368 pages

Other Books Considered …


Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years that Changed American Women’s Lives at Work, Gillian Thomas, 2016, 304 pages.

Bush, Jean Edward Smith, 2016, 808 pages. Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, Gordon Wood, 2011, 800 pages.

The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin. 128 pages

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration on the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander. 2012. 336 pages.

No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin, 1995, 768 pages.

Scalia: A Court of One, Bruce Allen Murphy, 2014, 656 pages.

Supremely Partisan: How Raw Politics Tips the Scales in the United States Supreme Court, James D. Zirin, 2016, 312 pages.

The Unwinding, by George Packer. 448 pages.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson, 2011, 640 pages.

Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War that Won It, John Ferling, 2015, 432 pages.

Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy, David Daley, 2016 288 pages.