Foreword: Books Have the Power to Shape Public Policy

Barbara McQuade*

In our digital information age, news and ideas come at us constantly and from every direction—newspapers, cable television, podcasts, online media, and more. It can be difficult to keep up with the fleeting and ephem- eral news of the day.

Books, on the other hand, provide a source of enduring ideas. Books contain the researched hypotheses, the well-developed theories, and the fully formed arguments that outlast the news and analysis of the moment, pre- served for the ages on the written page, to be discussed, admired, criticized, or supplanted by generations to come.

And books about the law, like the ones reviewed in these pages, can spark ideas that lead lawyers and policymakers to consider new issues and think in new ways. Legal books are not merely academic musings, but vehi- cles of thought that can lead decisionmakers to develop programs and pri- orities that can shape public policy.

When I served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan during the Obama Administration, books frequently influenced the work of federal law enforcement, the Department of Justice, and its ninety-four U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country. I would hear about these books at conferences or in conversations with others in law enforcement, and the books became must-reads. Some books were more scholarly than others, but they each had great influence on decisionmakers.

*Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School, and former United States Attorney, Eastern District of Michigan (2010–2017).

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