04 September 2019

BOOK: Peter Charles HOFFER, Litigation Nation: A Cultural History of Lawsuits in America (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). ISBN 978-1-5381-1657-9, $35.00

Rowman & Littlefield has published a new book on the history of litigation in the US.


Americans have long been identified as a people of law and lawyers with an addiction to lawsuits. In Litigation Nation, Peter Charles Hoffer, one of America’s most preeminent legal historians, charts the history of civil litigation from the seventeenth century to the present, using key cases pursued by ordinary people to illustrate how the civil courts have been a battlefront to contest the boundaries of permissible personal conduct in times of social and political change. Using representative case studies from each period—from defamation suits in seventeenth-century America to recent civil rights and gender discrimination lawsuits, Hoffer’s concise and accessible history shows how litigation reflects the lives and values of ordinary Americans. 


Peter Charles Hoffer is Distinguished Research Professor of History at the University of Georgia and coeditor of the prizewinning series Landmark Law Cases and American Society. His nearly dozen books include The Supreme Court: An Essential HistoryThe Historians' Paradox: The Study of History in Our TimeBrave New World: A History of Early AmericaSeven Fires: The Urban Infernos That Reshaped AmericaThe Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal HistoryRoe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History, and The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr.

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