I'm reading the latest edition of Lawrence Friedman's A History of American Law. It's actually a pleasure to read, which is no mean feat for that sort of book. I'm pretty sure it would also be comprehensible to non-lawyers. Friedman has an eye for the colorful quotation, such as this description of 'The Chinese', from the remarks of John F. Miller during the 1878 constitutional convention in California. See if you can tell what sort of immigration policy the new constitution favored:
[The Chinese] is a sinewy, shriveled human creature, whose muscles are as iron, whose sinews are like thongs, whose nerves are like steel wires, with a stomach case [ed. 'stomach case'!!] lined with brass; a creature who can toil sixteen hours of the twenty-four; who can live and grow fat on the refuse of any American laborer's table.
(p. 263). Actually, they sound pretty handy (unless they become, er, sentient). Where can I get one?