New Preservation Law Handbook Hits Shelves

preservation_law_book_cover I am excited to give a brief overview of a groundbreaking preservation law handbook (released 05 May 2014), which I confidently endorse: Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell. Written by law professors and preservation powerhouses Sara Bronin (University of Connecticut) and Ryan Rowberry (Georgia State University), this concise and comprehensive reference book is one-of-a-kind on several levels. (FULL DISCLOSURE: Professor Rowberry is a friend, mentor, and former employer, and I assisted in research for this publication.)

Nutshell Series

If you are a lawyer or a law student, then you are likely already familiar with West Academic’s Law in a Nutshell series. This vast collection covers over 130 areas of law, from topics as broad as Real Property Law and Torts Law to subjects as narrow as AIDS Law and Government Contracts Law. The publisher’s general description of the Nutshell books also holds true for Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell:

Nutshells are compact, soft-covered study guides that explain the most important issues of law, highlighting key cases and statutes. Nutshells are written by recognized experts who present the essential rules of law in a uniquely condensed format. Finely detailed and assiduously researched, the Nutshell is the perfect reference guide for a quick, simplified and thorough summation of the law.

Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell

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Professors Sara Bronin and Ryan Rowberry, authors of Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell.

While it goes without saying that Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell is the first-of-its-kind within the Nutshell series, this handbook is also the “the first-ever in-depth summary of historic preservation law within its local, state, tribal, federal, and international contexts.” It is also important to note that Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell is authored by trusted legal authorities whose explanations can be relied upon in decision-making, unlike similarly titled sources written by non-lawyers. You can find a full, detailed table of contents if you click here, and here is a list of the sixteen chapters included in this 500-page Nutshell:

      1. Introduction
      2. Designation
      3. National Historic Preservation Act
      4. National Environmental Policy Act
      5. Section 4(f)
      6. Local Regulation
      7. Police Power and Due Process
      8. Takings
      9. Religious Liberty
      10. Free Speech
      11. Archaeological Protections
      12. Native American Issues
      13. Conservation and Preservation Restrictions
      14. Tax Credits
      15. Issues in Building Rehabilitation
      16. International Preservation Law

In addition to being a comprehensive compendium, Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell is well-written and easy to read, as It is written for policymakers, planners, architects, and students—not just lawyers.

The readability of this publication is aided by its simple formatting. Most chapters begin with a high-level overview of the topic, followed by a list of clearly defined “key terms” related to the topic. The bulk of each chapter is neatly divided into headings and sub-headings that provide detailed explanations of the topic, all the while weaving in relevant statutes and illuminating case law.

Buy it Now

If you are a student or professional within the cultural heritage industry or just a curious intellectual looking to learn more about a burgeoning legal field, this is the book for you. I guarantee that you will not find as much helpful and easily digestible information packed into such relatively few pages as you will find in Historic Preservation Law in a Nutshell. You can get it now on Amazon for less than $40.


Clint Tankersley is a Georgia attorney specializing in cultural heritage law. Read my bio here.