Thursday, July 8, 2010

Federal Standards of Review, new edition, and Holmes' The Common Law

Posted by Alan Childress

Because you cannot spell blogger without either ego or bore, I use this forum to announce June publication, by LexisNexis, of the 4th edition of a book on appellate and federal review which I coauthor FSORcover1g with Martha Davis, called Federal Standards of Review.  It is in 3 volumes, for civil, criminal, and administrative appeals; previous editions were cited in some 350 cases including four Supreme Court opinions.  Justice Ginsburg once wrote me a sweet note about it (by hand!).  The new edition is expanded and thoroughly updated.  You may want to ask your law library to get one.

Today, I published to Amazon Kindle a digital ebook of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law.  It has my new Foreword and bio section of this great work from that great man.  That would seem to be no large accomplishment, other than my  trivially interesting Foreword, except that this is now the only online or ebook version of Holmes' masterpiece that actually uses Holmes' words.  All of the prior versions  -- free or paid, old version or Gutenberg's "2006 corrected" one -- are derived from ONE old scan from "Patient Zero," a book that was not held down on the copier so words from the inside margins are missing.  Thus on most right-hand pages, every eighth word disappeared.  That makes Holmes even tougher to read than normal.  Plus he apparently uses words like "docs" and "modem," being ahead of his time!  He uses "tiling" for "thing" and "ease" for "case"  and other poor scan Holmes_Coverbasic vestiges.  You would think there would have been someone to have rescanned this and proofread it before posting to Kindle or Gutenberg, or online, but no.  Plus I linked and numbered the footnotes (the others have 250 instances of footnote "1"!).  No doubt, however, their book docs one tiling that no modem version of Holmes docs--it brings the eases to life for the reacling pubic.  And you saved S bucks!

I think it is unethical Reverse Plagiarism to stick Holmes' name onto a work he did not write that way.  HE did not leave out marginal words and sound like an idiot. (BTW, as to non-idiot, he delivered this as 12 lectures in 1880, without notes.)  HE did not think a right-of-way is a "casement."  One edition pronounces him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Taft would not appreciate that.  Holmes even looks unhappy on my cover about all this.

Consider a worse example: for $30, you can buy on Amazon a paperback purportedly of the late Philip Selznick's fantastic study, TVA and the Grass Roots.  And read this, supposedly by the author, "The jocation of administrative control in the area of operations, with the Authority as a weole, in relation 10 tha fmdfl IJOVCrflffietit, taken as an example".  If you know someone at U of California Press, please ask them to fix this.  (This is not one they produced, but they have not forced it down either, despite my telling them.  Why?  Because it is out of print?)  People should not be allowed to sell books that are in effect very good passwords for your medical records.

I just noticed that the price is the same for both my announced books, except the decimal place.  For individual purchase you should stick with Holmes, at $3.99.  I priced it less than other versions that are not proofread or linked in the notes.  If you do not have the Amazon app for PC, Mac, blackberry, iPad, etc., I offer a related version at Smashwords in epub, PDF (with active footnotes, clickable), rtf, and Sony reader formats.  More on the other versions to come.  Anyone with a computer can read it, as I explain here.

UPDATE:  a thoroughly ANNOTATED and thus decoded edition of The Common Law now available on Kindle and Smashwords, and soon on Nook, Sony and Apple iTunes.  It also uses the correct words.

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