“This book combines family memoirs, an account of Jewish integration in Italy and the United States, an account of successful immigration, of the formation of a famous intellectual, of a piece of history of a renowned American university, and an investigation into American legal culture… The reader can learn the extraordinary story of adapting a family to a different environment; about how “trespassing” between scientific disciplines can produce invaluable results; about how to teach, to manage a faculty and argue in court; about the importance of the mastering legal theory. All this is told with great sincerity, making frequent use of anecdotes and narration of what happens behind the scenes-all this with the depth and richness of observations of a book of philosophy and a study of sociology.” — Sabino Cassese, Justice Emeritus of the Italian Constitutional Court, Il Sole 24 Ore
A prominent figure of the American legal academy, Guido Calabresi, is known throughout the legal world simply as “Guido”. After a flight from fascism, he arrived in the United States from Italy in September, 1939. His was among a handful of Italian Jewish families who had the means to flee persecution. In his recollections, Guido expresses deep awareness of the social standing, the long Italian-Jewish heritage, the creativity, and intellectual accomplishments of the generations that preceded them. Removed from that background, he came to consider himself “ethnically Yale.” Guido soon joined the faculty at Yale Law School, and became a beloved teacher, a mentor a respected scholar and dean. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Guido since 1994 has been an outstanding judge on the United States Court of Appeals.
Norman L. Silber is a Professor at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra. He holds a J.D. from Columbia and a Ph.D. in history from Yale. His other legal histories include With All Deliberate Speed: The Life of Philip Elman (2004); A Corporate Form of Freedom: The Emergence of the Nonprofit Sector (2001); and Toward Neutral Principles in the Law: Selections from the Oral History of Herbert Wechsler (with Geoffrey Miller, 1993). At Yale he designed an oral history seminar called “The Lives of Lawyers” exploring satisfactions and discontents in careers spent lawyering (with Daniel Markovits). He is married and lives in New York.
Alessandro Cassin is Director of Publishing at Centro Primo Levi Editions.