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To help you choose a gift book for a deserving lawyer or loved one this holiday season, we present this list of nine books that Legal Times reviewers found particularly noteworthy or interesting in the Year 2000. “American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace” by John C. Culver and John Hyde (W.W. Norton & Co., 608 pages, $35)

Although one of the most fascinating characters in American history, Henry A. Wallace, farmer, journalist, and statesman, is all but forgotten today. So former Sen. John C. Culver, D-Iowa, and writer John Hyde have performed a great service with this biography of the former vice president. “The Custom of the Sea” by Neil Hanson (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 336 pages, $19.95)

If you’ve been to law school, you’ve probably studied the maritime case R. v. Dudley and Stephens. In “The Custom of the Sea,” British journalist Neil Hanson revisits the case of the yacht Mignonette and recounts its sad story of shipwreck, murder, and cannibalism. “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace” by Lawrence Lessig (Basic Books, 297 pages, $30)

After examining the legal and policy issues surrounding the code of cyberspace, Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School has this warning: The Internet provides new, easy, and invisible ways to control and regulate our behavior. “Code” explores the relationship between individual, organization, and state in the information age. “From Dawn to Decadence” by Jacques Barzun (HarperCollins, 801 pages, $36)

Although author Jacques Barzun’s assessments are tarnished by relativism, his massive history of the last 500 years of Western culture is generally rewarding and, at times, enlightening. It provides a treasure of historical details, based on a lifetime of research. “Rattling the Cage” by Steven M. Wise (Perseus Books, 332 pages, $25)

Most of us wish to believe that our legal system provides for the humane treatment of animals. Not so, says animal activist Steven M. Wise, a Harvard Law School professor and president of the Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights. Wise contends that animals must obtain some basic legal rights in order to have their basic interests respected. “Rosa Parks” by Douglas Brinkley (Viking Press, 160 pages, $18.95)

Douglas Brinkley’s biography, part of the Penguin Lives series, sketches with skillful economy the travails of Rosa Parks, whose refusal to vacate her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus in 1955 set the stage not only for that city’s bus boycott but also for the ensuing nationwide civil rights struggle. “Schmidt Delivered” by Louis Begley (Alfred A. Knopf, 290 pages, $25)

Louis Begley’s most recent novel is a continuation of the tale he began in “About Schmidt.” The new book bears witness to the unlikely and surprisingly touching romance of retired white-shoe lawyer and recently widowed Albert Schmidt and the young waitress Carrie Gorchuk, not even half his age. “Shame the Devil” by George P. Pelecanos (Little, Brown and Co., 300 pages, $24.95)

Perhaps the most accomplished novelist in the D.C. area, George P. Pelecanos has again constructed a page-turning Washington thriller in which the federal city plays no part whatsoever. A craftsman who understands pacing and how to build suspense, Pelecanos has an acute ear for dialogue. “The Struggle for Constitutional Justice in Post-Communist Europe” by Herman Schwartz (University of Chicago Press, 347 pages, $47.50) American University’s Herman Schwartz examines the recent legal histories of Poland, Hungary, Russia, Bulgaria, and Slovakia. His study is lively in prose style, tightly developed in argument line, and without a dull moment.

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