Kirgis on ASIL’s First Century

by David Zaring

My colleague Rick Kirgis recently published a history of the American Society of International Law, from 1906-2006. It’s a very interesting institution – one that started with optimism and gaudy names on the masthead (Elihu Root was the first president, three Supreme Court justices were vice presidents, as were two former secretaries of state, and William Howard Taft, then the secretary of war), and then almost collapsed ten years later, as the United States entered World War I, and the founders of the society, committed to peace through international law, grew so dispirited that they stopped holding the annual meeting. Always academic, it grew more so in the ensuing years, and one of the many interesting things about the book is that it comes with pictures of international law luminaries that you might not be able to find anywhere else. Want to put a face to the name of Manley Hudson? Oscar Schachter? The ASIL history is the book for you.

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