Law professor Rande Kostal has been awarded a prestigious international honour for authoring a book that sheds new light on the limits of America’s ability to impose democracy on defeated countries.
Kostal’s book, Laying Down the Law: The American Legal Revolutions in Occupied Germany and Japan, has won the Reid Prize, awarded annually to the best monograph published in English in Anglo-American legal history.
“This is an outstanding achievement by a top-notch scholar,” said Law dean Erika Chamberlain. “Rande joins recent recipients from Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Harvard Universities, and we are exceptionally proud of him.”
Laying Down the Law published by Harvard University Press in 2019, draws from original archival sources to tell the story of the U.S. postwar effort to compel democratization in postwar Germany and Japan – part of a policy to remake those countries into permanently demilitarized, liberal rule-of-law nations.
“In recent years, we’ve heard a series of American politicians claim that the United States brought democracy and the rule of law to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan after the war,” said Kostal. “My book is an assessment of that claim.”
Kostal, LLB’81, earned his D.Phil. from Oxford University. He has taught legal history and torts at Western Law since 1988 and is author of two other law history books and several other published writings.