Latest release from George Mason University Press: The Trials of Rasmea Odeh

The George Mason University Press has published The Trials of Rasmea Odeh: How a Palestinian Guerilla Gained and Lost U.S. Citizenship by Steven Lubet, which has been described as a gripping, accessible, and engaging narrative, invaluable for discussion of the issues of citizenship, statehood, and the limits of legality.

About the book: On February 21, 1969, a bomb exploded in the largest supermarket in Jerusalem. The blast killed two and injured many more, triggering an intense search for the terrorists behind the plot. Israeli security forces quickly apprehended, tortured, tried and eventually convicted twenty-one year-old Palestinian Rasmea Odeh for murder. Twenty-five years later, however, found Odeh not serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison, but starting a new life in the United States, first in Detroit and later in Chicago, eventually becoming a naturalized citizen and working as a community organizer. Her arrest by US federal authorities in 2013 on charges of unlawful procurement of citizenship and subsequent trial ignited defenders and detractors, even as the facts of the case, the previous conviction and those of Odeh’s life were obscured or ignored.

Based on extensive research, The Trials of Rasmea Odeh: How a Palestinian Guerilla Gained and Lost U.S. Citizenship separates fact from fiction as it follows the remarkable twists of this story, even—or especially—where those facts subvert one political narrative or another. The result is that rare book that is both an extraordinary achievement of scholarly research and a gripping, accessible and engaging narrative, making it an invaluable resource for discussion of the issues of citizenship, statehood and the limits of legality it engages.

About the author: Steven Lubet is the Williams Memorial Professor at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law where he directed the Bartlit Center on Trial Advocacy from 1988-2021. He is the author of numerous books on trial advocacy and the legal profession, with a specialization in the history of American political trials. His scholarly articles have been published in top legal journals, and his popular essays have appeared in national newspapers, as well as outlets such as Slate, Salon, Politico, and The Daily Beast. His commentaries have been heard on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”

What an exemplary gem of scholarship! Combining thorough inquiry with critical empathy, Lubet has written a superb classic that young scholars whatever their field will benefit from reading. The Trials of Rasmea Odeh is truly one of the most impressive books I’ve ever read!

-David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

Professor Lubet takes no shortcuts with this book, unflinchingly examining the record of Odeh’s life … Professor Lubet is able to explain the underlying law and legal strategy in a way that is clear and comprehensible without losing any technical nuance. He brings the courtroom alive to the reader, showing how both political and legal strategies influenced how the case was litigated. [It] is beautifully written and will be of interest to a wide audience.

-Cassandra Burke Robertson, John Deaver Drinko-Baker Hostetler Professor of Law and Director, Center for Professional Ethics, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

In The Trials of Rasmea Odeh, Professor Lubet weaves together an intricate historical and legal account of Middle Eastern conflict and U.S. denaturalization. Rasmea Odeh’s story, told with nuance and in crisp jargon-free prose, grips the reader every bit as much as a fictional thriller would. Professor Lubet leaves us with a highly informative and fascinating book of great value to scholars and nonspecialists alike.”

-Irina Manta, Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

About the George Mason University Press: The George Mason University Press supports the academic mission of George Mason University by publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly works of distinction, written by authors from a wide range of intellectual perspectives, for a diverse, worldwide readership. Learn more and view our current catalog here.

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