A provocative exploration of justice in our time through fresh readings of Shakespeare's greatest playsCelebrated legal scholar Kenji Yoshino's first book, Covering, was acclaimed from the New York Times Book Review to O, The Oprah Magazine to the American Lawyer for its elegant prose, its good humor, and its brilliant insights into civil rights and discrimination law. Now, in A Thousand Times More Fair, Yoshino turns his attention to the broad question of what makes a fair and just society, and he delves deep into a surprising source to answer it: Shakespeare's greatest plays.An enormously creative and provocative book, A Thousand Times More Fair addresses fundamental questions we ask about our world today: Why is the rule of law better than revenge? How much mercy should we show a wrongdoer? What does it mean to prove guilt or innocence? As Yoshino argues, a searching examination of Shakespeare's plays and the many advocates, judges, criminals, and vigilantes who populate them can elucidate some of the most troubling issues in contemporary life.With
Yoshino, a constitutional law professor at NYU, looks at the concepts of justice in Shakespeare's major plays as they relate to the role of law in modern society and to particular events in today's world. Perhaps for the shock value alone, he begins with the horrifically violent Titus Andronicus, a play driven by an ever-widening circle of revenge. After contemplating the meaning of revenge, Yoshino surprises, as he often does, by arguing that America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are wars of revenge. As another example, he mines Measure for Measure for thoughts on the qualifications judges need and applies those ideas to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, which were a debate on "a timeless conflict between alternate visions of judging." Yoshino uses Hamlet to examine the danger of ideas unlimited by pragmatism; Lear to explore the limitations of law; The Tempest for self-restraint in governance-all to frame his views of fundamental questions of jurisprudence. It is a happy marriage between two enduring intellectual endeavors: understanding Shakespeare and understanding our explicit and implicit notions of justice. Readers will find Yoshino provocative, often controversial, and Shakespeare, as always, entertaining. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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March 31, 2011
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