ACS Book Club

Reading List

The ACS Book Club Reading List is here!

ACS is delighted to announce the five, outstanding books being featured on the ACS Book Club’s Summer Reading List. See below for more information about each of the books and recent ACS programs featuring some of the authors. Stay tuned for information regarding future programming!

The Quantified Worker: Law and Technology in the Modern Workplace

The information revolution has ushered in a data-driven reorganization of the workplace. In The Quantified Worker, author Ifeoma Ajunwa explores how the workforce science of today goes far beyond increasing efficiency and threatens to erase individual personhood. With exhaustive detail, she shows how different forms of worker quantification are enabled, facilitated, and driven by technological advances. Timely and eye-opening, The Quantified Worker advocates for changes in the law that will mitigate the ill effects of the modern workplace.

Poverty, By America

In Poverty, By America, Matthew Desmond shows how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Poverty, By America provides new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem and its solutions.

Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence

Break the Wheel is a riveting account of the Derek Chauvin trial, in which Attorney General Keith Ellison takes the reader down the path his prosecutors took, offering different breakthroughs and revelations for a defining, generational moment of racial reckoning and social justice understanding. The book goes spoke to spoke along the wheel of the system as Attorney General Ellison examines the roles of prosecutors, defendants, heads of police unions, judges, activists, legislators, politicians, and media figures, each in his attempt to end this chain of violence and replace it with empathy and shared insight. Watch Attorney General Ellison discuss Break the Wheel during the 2023 ACS National Convention.

American Whitelash: A Changing Nation and the Cost of Progress

American Whitelash examines the cyclical pattern of violence that has marred every moment of racial progress in this country, and whose bloodshed began anew following Obama’s 2008 election. Wesley Lowery uncovers how this vicious cycle is carrying us into ever more perilous territory, how the federal government has failed to intervene, and how we still might find a route of escape.

The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic

Since 2017, the Supreme Court has dramatically expanded its use of the behind-the-scenes “shadow docket,” regularly making decisions that affect millions of Americans without public hearings and without explanation. In his new bookThe Shadow Docket, Stephen Vladeck offers a comprehensive historical and contemporary look at how the Supreme Court uses these unsigned and unexplained orders to create substantive effects in the law, and the ways in which the current justices are abusing their power in such cases in ways that raise serious questions about the Court’s legitimacy. Listen to Stephen Vladeck discuss The Shadow Docket on a recent Broken Law episode.


ACS and the ACS Reading List seek to spotlight the impressive breadth of knowledge and experience in our network with a particular focus on lifting up voices and perspectives that have traditionally or historically been marginalized in legal and policy discussions.

The following considerations will guide the selection of books for the ACS Reading List:

  • The book was published within six months of its nomination.
  • The book provides a legal or policy perspective on an issue relevant to ACS’s work and can be either non-fiction or fiction.
  • The author is an ACS member or otherwise has strong ties to ACS. Not yet a member? Become one today!
  • The author reflects the diversity of ACS membership and the larger legal community, with particular attention paid to authors from historically marginalized communities, such as authors who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, system impacted, first generation citizen or lawyers, the economically insecure, etc.
  • The author reflects professional and experiential diversity, e.g., academics, advocates, practitioners, government service, etc.

Nominate a Book!

Nominate a book for the ACS Book Club’s quarterly reading list! The ACS Book Club is an opportunity to promote the work of ACS members. Each quarter ACS will highlight up to four new books written by members of the ACS network through promotion on our website, in our Weekly Bulletin, and on social media. If you, someone you know, or someone you admire in the ACS network has recently published a book, this is your chance to lift up that work.

  • Please provide a short, one to two sentence summary of the book.
  • Please provide a short, two to three sentence explanation of how the book’s subject relates to ACS’s work and why it should be chosen.

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