I'm delighted to announce that the Companion to American Legal History that Sally Hadden and I have been co-editing for the last few years is now available in ebook format and will be appearing shortly in hardcopy from Blackwell-Wiley. In the tradition of the other Blackwell Companions to American History, this book surveys recent writing on American history. It's about the historiography of legal history and the idea is that readers can turn to it for a good introduction to the field and also for pointers from experts about directions for future research.
The Companion is broken down into time period essays, from the seventeenth century through the late twentieth century (by Elizabeth Dale, Sally Hadden, Ellen Pearson, Roman Hoyos, Chris Schmidt, and me); they are followed by essays on groups of people: Native Americans (Christian McMillen), African Americans in the eras of slavery and freedom (by T.J. Davis and James Campbell respectively), Women (Felice Batlan), Families (David Tanenhaus), Immigrants (Allison Brownell Tirres), and Lawyers (Mark Steiner). The next and largest section has essays on subject areas, with chapters on the economy in early America (Christine Desan) and in the late nineteenth and twentieth century (Harwell Wells), labor (Deborah Dinner), poverty (Felicia Kornbluh and Karen Tani), taxes (Robin Einhorn), administrative state (Joanna Grisinger), law and religion (Steven Green), military (Elizabeth Hillman), criminal law (Elizabeth Dale), and intellectual property (Steven Wilf). The final section is on legal thought, with chapters on law and literature (Jeannine DeLombard), early American legal thought (Steven Macias), nineteenth and early twentieth century jurisprudence (James Schmidt), critical legal studies (John Schlegel), and an imperial perspective on American legal thought (Clara Altman).
Even with something this broad there's the question of what more could have been added; I think the next edition should have separate chapters on sexuality, economics, critical race studies, and I'd like to see something on the history of the book, even. It is testimony to how far leagl history has migrated from where it was a generation ago that we don't have separate chapters on common law doctrine. I think in a new edition I'd like to have chapters on contracts, property, and torts. Or at least to think about those.
Over at legal history blog, Chris Schmidt has some fabulously generous words about the book; he also talks some about his terrific synthesis of American legal history in the twentieth century.
The publication date for the hard copy is April 15, though my hope is that it'll be rolling out of the warehouse a bit sooner than that. And, as I noted above, it's available now on kindle and in Wiley's ebook format as well. The book is priced for library sales -- it lists for around $200 (or $155 for the electronic edition); but if you order it from Wiley directly, use the code ALH13 for a 20% discount. My hope is that if this interests you you'll pass word along to your favorite librarian. In the meantime, the table of contents and the first chapter are on Wiley's website.