Synopses & Reviews
Litigation and Inequality explores the dynamic and intricate relationship between legal and social change through the prism of litigation tactics and out-of-court settlement practices from the 1870s to the 1950s. Developing the synthetic historical concept of a social litigation system, Purcell analyzes the role of both substansive and procedural law, as well as the impact of social and political factors in shaping the de facto processes of litigation and claims-disputing. Focusing on tort and insurance contract disputes between individuals and national corporations, he examines the changing social and economic significance of the choice between state and national courts that federal diversity jurisdiction gave litigants. Litigation and Inequality scrutinizes the increasingly sophisticated methods that parties developed to exploit their ability to choose between forums. It also traces the changing responses of the courts and legislatures to the escalation of tactical maneuvering. It locates the origins of modern litigation practice in the quarter century after 1910. Purcell points to fundamental flaws in the efficiency theory of tort law of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He identifies specific ways in which the legal system regularly subsidized corporate enterprise. He seriously qualifies and refines the progressive charge that the federal courts favored business interests. The book argues that during the period from the turn of the century to World War I - especially the critical period from 1905 to 1908 - the Supreme Court reoriented the federal judicial system and essentially created the twentieth century federal judiciary. It also challenges the idea thatdiversity jurisdiction is best understood as a device to protect nonresidents from local prejudice. It illuminates a range of related historical and legal issues, from the ostensible formalism of the late nineteenth century judicial thinking to the origins of the workmen's
"A superb and important book. It is at once readable and closely reasoned. Perhaps most importantly, it combines a meticulously told but potentially abstruse story with a methodology that allows Purcell to draw general conclusions of large scale.--American Journal of Legal History
"[An} innovative and magisterial work...Litigation and Inequality is one of the most important works of American legal history to appear in our time."--New York University Law Review
"A compelling history...."--Social Science Quarterly
"Advances a new way of thinking about a portentous era in U.S. legal history."--Michigan Law Review
"A significant contribution to literature on the controversy over the role of law in allocating economic power, reinforcing more traditional Progressive assertions of the pro-business character of US law."--Choice
We are living in the Golden Age of mathematics, with more research being done than ever before. Yet many people view mathematics as a static, completed subject. This book for general readers aims to open the door to the rapid modern growth of mathematics and its power and beauty. It surveys
many areas of current research in non-technical terms, describing what the problems are, where they come from, how they get solved, what mathematicians are like, what you can do with the answers when you get them, and how solving them or failing to solve them changes peoples' views of mathematics
and the way it is advancing. Topics include Fermat's Last Theorem, the Riemann hypothesis, the Poincare Conjecture, prime numbers, non-Euclidean geometry, infinity, the four-color problem, probability, catastrophe theory, chaos, fractals, algorithms, and undecidable propositions. A final chapter
discusses the relations between mathematics and its applications. Each topic is developed within a historical framework, and a number of recent breakthroughs are presented for the first time in layman's terms.
Through the prism of litigation practice and tactics, Purcell explores the dynamic relationship between legal and social change. He studies changing litigation patterns in suits between individuals and national corporations over tort claims for personal injuries and contract claims for insurance benefits. Purcell refines the "progressive" claim that the federal courts favored business enterprise during this time, identifying specific manners and times in which the federal courts reached decisions both in favor of and against national corporations. He also identifies 1892-1908 as a critical period in the evolution of the twentieth century federal judicial system.