Thursday, April 19, 2007

Robert Bennett

Robert Bennett, Nathaniel L. Nathanson Professor of Law and the former Dean of the Northwestern University School of Law, is a scholar in the field of constitutional law and a professional arbitrator. He served as President of the American Bar Foundation and of the Chicago Council of Lawyers.

His most recent book is Taming the Electoral College.

His reply to my recent query about what he has been reading:

I saw an old friend recently who at eighty remains one of Chicago's most active and engaged citizens. He reported that he had cancelled his subscriptions to daily newspapers. He glances at them at the office on occasion and reads the New York Review of Books regularly, but has moved the focus of his daily reading to books, largely dealing with history. And that doesn't keep him from an active involvement in the life of the city, and indeed the nation. I'm sorely tempted. The New York Times takes up a good deal of my evenings, and articles and books related to work the reading time during the day. To be sure, a good deal of that gives me great pleasure, sometimes even unexpected, as in the case of the book manuscript I recently reviewed for a publisher seeking the traditional outside stamp of approval. I'm not ready to make my friend's leap yet, but part of me admires his bold move.

In any event, I find that I have to steal the time for more purely pleasurable reading. Like my old friend, that often takes the form of reading about history, particularly the American version. Lincoln holds fascination for many these days, and he certainly does for me. I recently read James Simon's Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney, and I'm now well into Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. Goodwin's book in particular is delightfully written and full of interesting stories and insights about Lincoln, to be sure, but also, to my special delight, the "rivals," about whom I knew too little.

The Page 69 Test: Taming the Electoral College.

--Marshal Zeringue