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2 books to commemorate 800 years of the Magna Carta

Posted Apr 1, 2014 1:00 AM CDT
By James Podgers

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The legal legacy of the Magna Carta is the subject of two books being produced to help mark the 800th anniversary of the charter's signing.

Both books are expected to be published in time for the 2014 ABA Annual Meeting in Boston, where the association will officially launch its Magna Carta commemoration. Those activities will culminate in June 2015, when special ceremonies are held at the ABA's monument in the meadow at Runnymede, England, where King John signed the charter in the presence of English barons in 1215. The ABA also will sponsor four days of events addressing the Magna Carta's history and impact, especially in common-law countries.

One publication will be a coffee-table book that tells the story of the Magna Carta through illustrations and essays written by legal experts from the United Kingdom and the United States. The general editor is Nicholas Vincent, a professor of medieval history at the University of East Anglia. Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015 is being produced by Third Millennium Publishing in London.

The standard edition will be available early next year for $75. However, a special ABA limited edition may be ordered in advance or purchased at the annual meeting for $55. The ABA edition will include a foreword by Stephen N. Zack, a past president who chairs the ABA's Magna Carta 2015 Committee, and an introduction by William C. Hubbard, who will be ABA president during the Magna Carta anniversary year. All ABA members who order the book by April 30 will have their names included in a list of sponsors in the back of the edition.

The second book, being produced by the ABA Section of International Law in conjunction with ABA Publishing, takes a strong scholarly approach in analyzing how the Magna Carta was transformed from "a failed document" in its early years into "an icon of the law." Among the topics addressed in Magna Carta and the Rule of Law will be its impact on sovereignty and international law, religious freedom and the U.S. Supreme Court, says Daniel B. Magraw Jr., an editor of the book and a professorial lecturer at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. The book is scheduled for publication in August, and it will be available for purchase at the annual meeting. The book will cost $59.95 for ABA members and $55.95 for International Law Section members.

Click here to order the ABA limited-edition Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: "2 Books to Commemorate 800 Years of the Magna Carta."

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