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Library JournalThis encyclopedia has no entry for "civil liberties," but its scope defines the phrase broadly as the customary issues of speech, press, and religion, plus civil rights and criminal procedure. The coverage is clearly driven by law professors (Finkelman teaches at the Albany Law School): most articles are U.S. Supreme Court cases. Supreme Court justices are heavily represented, though inconsistently: James McReynolds and Tom Clark get articles, yet Hugo Black, William Brennan, and Harry Blackmun do not; there was room for Erwin Chemerinsky, Paul Freund, Laurence Tribe, and Yale Kamisar—all law professors—as well as feminist Andrea Dworkin, singer Anita Bryant, postmaster general Amos Kendall, and Oliver Cromwell. The articles are wildly uneven. Lyndon Johnson gets three paragraphs, which cover only his wiretapping—his civil rights efforts aren't mentioned—while Martin Luther King's entry has room for the street address where he was born. References are usually to law reviews and law school casebooks, and some don't specifically relate to the subject of the articles that cite them. Contributors often omit fundamental books, e.g, Robert Caro's life of LBJ; list questionable material, e.g., Anthony Summers's bio of J. Edgar Hoover; or cite ancient sources without proper explanation, e.g., the "grand jury" entry refers to two books, from 1777 and 1906.
—Michael O. Eshleman