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Presidents’ Month—A Library Special Collection

Nixon
The Complete Record of Richard M. Nixon Impeachment Proceedings

The San Francisco Law Library has a timely, extraordinary 23-volume set of United States Congressional hearing transcripts, witness testimony, documents, and evidence regarding the Watergate break-in, the Nixon impeachment investigation and proceedings, and related activities from January 1971 through October 1973. The set begins with A Resolution Authorizing and Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to Investigate Whether Sufficient Grounds Exist for the House of Representatives to Exercise its Constitutional Power to Impeach Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, pursuant to House Resolution 803 of the 93rd Congress. Subsequent Statement of Information volumes include witness testimony and documents regarding Events Prior to the Watergate Break-in; White House Surveillance and Campaign Activities; Presidential Statements on the Watergate Break-in and Its Investigation; Transcripts of Eight Recorded Presidential Conversations; Witness Testimony; and the Final Report of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to the Committee United States Senate, pursuant to 1973 Senate Resolution 60 of the 93rd Congress. The set contains a volume of selected historical impeachment materials including debates on presidential impeachment from 1787, President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment proceedings and other perspectives on impeachment. (The Law Library’s collection also contains a book about the Johnson impeachment.)

These amazing chronicles enable one to re-live the nation’s three-year state of political paralysis through the avalanche of motions, briefs, subpoenas, and other legal instruments that came to define the Nixon presidency, and offers Library patrons the opportunity to consider what may lay ahead regarding current political developments. The set is on reserve and may be viewed in the Library on request.

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February Book of the Month: Becoming

BecomingBecoming
By Michelle Obama
Reviewed by Ruth Geos, Reference Librarian

Even if you don’t remember the fist-bump, begin with the beginning of Becoming and you will hear the vivid voice of a first-class storyteller with a full tale to tell. She is not just the former First Lady here but a narrator with a fascinating perspective of time and place. Michelle LaVaughn Obama describes growing up in a loving family in the South Side of Chicago, with her own evolution from a feisty little girl always ready for the next challenge, to Princeton and then to Harvard Law School, and — skipping ahead, as we already know — eventually to the White House, with her own initiatives and advocacy as First Lady over the two terms of the Obama administration. The Preface is an exceptional essay in itself, with an articulate grace and the kind of direct honesty that every good story needs, and history demands:

…until recently, I was the First Lady of the United States of America—a job that’s not officially a job, but that nonetheless has given me a platform like nothing I could have imagined. It challenged me and humbled me, lifted me up and shrank me down, sometimes all at once. I’m just beginning to process what took place these last years — from the moment in 2006 when my husband first started talking about running for president to the cold morning this winter when I climbed into a limo with Melania Trump, accompanying her to her husband’s inauguration. It’s been quite a ride…

It’s an intriguing story, starting with Becoming Me (the other sections are Becoming Us, and Becoming More) — a personal recounting of growing up in a largely African-American community, beginning to understand her own close family dynamics and community, and seeing how the history of deep discrimination had thwarted dreams and desires in her family and across the South Side. The story she weaves is anything but didactic, but a clear tracing of the cumulative impact of discrimination, such as how one grandfather’s dreams to be an electrician and to get a good union job were blocked, and others in her family circle limited to work in which there was no way to rise and push ahead.

Of course, before the White House lawn becomes a model garden, there are miles to go — piano recitals, marriage and children, campaigns, and many high-level professional positions. Ultimately, Becoming is a narrative of one woman’s intelligence, frustrations, humor, style, and perspicacity, with an inborn jolt of courage and personal daring, across history and her own personal way. Not the least, it also offers a fresh reminder of eight years of a White House not that long ago—and an altogether fascinating read. As Mrs. Obama says: “Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”


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February Book Drive

Book Drive

Each month we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the month of February. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

Both February books have been donated! Thank you for your support!

CA Animal Laws HandbookCalifornia Animal Laws Handbook, 2019
Published by State Humane Association of California

The Art of Fact InvestigationThe Art of Fact Investigation: Creative Thinking in the Age of Information Overload
Written by Philip Segal
ISBN: 978-0-99690-791-0

To donate these or other books, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791.  We appreciate your contribution!