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Pre-Law Reading

The summer months are an ideal time to indulge in material about which you are passionate or to engage with material that can widen your horizons, open your mind or allow you to muse and ponder over issues that you are exploring for the first time. 

The staff in the Law School have given their top picks of books, films, blogs and podcasts to form a diverse range of material for your perusal and it is safe to say that there really is something for everyone! Whether you are a new scholar, a returning scholar or are simply visiting our page for inspiration for a holiday read you are most welcome to relax and scroll through our recommendations. You will find material here covering issues relating to everything from class and race to gender and culture explored through various prisms including law, politics, fantasy and fiction. These recommendations are not an exhaustive list of the material that you need to up your ‘critical thinking’ game – but it is an excellent place to begin!


Some further recommendations from the School of Law

The Rape of Recy Taylor - (Trailer) This emotive documentary tells the story of the exceptionally brave Recy Taylor, a young black woman who was gang raped by six young white men on her way home to her husband and baby after attending a church service. The documentary is uncomfortable viewing at times but is an essential watch. Themes include, intersectional feminism, race, rape, culture, justice.

Danielle L. McGuire: At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. (Cover Image) This book should be read after watching the Recy Taylor documentary. It charts the treatment of black women in America and the fundamental role they played in the Black civil rights movement.

Tara Westover: Educated - is a testament to the power of education. The author tells her story of being born into a survivalist family in Idaho and her escape from her violent, anti-government father and subsequent PhD journey at Cambridge University.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude - is one of the most remarkable books in circulation. It can be a difficult book to begin but once the reader engages with the fantasy and magic of the story of the Buendias family it is the most rewarding read. Themes include civil war, imperialism, superstition, religion, culture.

Samantha King: Pink Ribbons Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy - is an illuminating read about the corporatisation of breast cancer. Trailer for the documentary based on the book here

Robert Harris: The Cicero Trilogy - is a series of three books based in Ancient Rome and told through the voice of Tiro, slave to the well-known orator and lawyer Cicero’s. Cicero lived from 106 BC – 43 BC and is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators. This trilogy is an enjoyable holiday read while also learning about the political and legal system in Ancient Rome.

How to Survive a Plague - tells the story about the reaction of society (focus on church, government, politicians and medics) to the Aids disease in American in the 1980s. The fight of the LGBT community is heart-breaking and inspiring in equal measure. Themes include, justice, equality, discrimination, right to health.

Following on from ‘How to Survive a Plague’ the fictional film Philadelphia is highly recommended. A lawyer with Aids sues his former employer and the trial uncovers themes of homophobia, victim-blaming, prejudice and justice. Link to trailer


Finally, some free long-reads to check out

Unpacking the current crises of refugees around the world. See Five Myths about the Refugee Crisis (The Guardian)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on society, culture and fame. See Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie comes to terms with global fame (The New Yorker)

The devastating story of a mother who lost her two sons when her ex-husband deliberately set the house on fire – with the children locked inside. The Appalling Cost of Domestic Abuse (BBC)

Following the #trustwomen campaign in the Republic of Ireland women in the state will have access to safe and legal abortions after the 8th amendment to Bunreacht na hÉireann was repealed. This story tells the tale of a woman who stayed in bed, on her side, for 88 days in order to try to deliver a baby who was given a 1% chance at survival. While her story is only for her to tell it is demonstrative of the strength of protection a woman has to protect a wanted pregnancy – it demonstrates that a woman is best placed to make a decision regarding her own body in a personal set of circumstances. 'Reality Shrivels. This is your life now': 88 days trapped in bed to save a baby. (The Guardian)

The story of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed by the state of Texas for the murder of his children, but did Texas execute an innocent man? Trial by Fire (The New Yorker)