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National Book Award Finalist: "A learned, thoughtful, witty legal history for the layman" (The New Yorker).
What do the thoughts of a ravenous tiger have to do with the evolution of America's legal system? How do the works of Jane Austen and Ludwig van Beethoven relate to corporal punishment? In The Law of the Land, Charles Rembar examines these and many other topics, illustrating the surprisingly entertaining history of US law.
Best known for his passionate efforts to protect literature, including Lady Chatterley's Lover, from censorship laws, Rembar offers an exciting look at the democratic judicial system that will appeal to lawyers and laymen alike. From the dark days of medieval England, when legal disputes were settled by duel, through recent paradigm shifts in the interpretation and application of the legal code, The Law of the Land is a compelling and informative history of the rules and regulations we so often take for granted.
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Wandering work finds deep roots of words, ideas
To a person without law-aimed curiosity, this might seem like a slow boat to a bunch of quaint "so what" things. But for many, much of law must seem that way: alien and tedious at the same time. Even I, an avowed fan of unusual words and legal curiosities, found early stretches of the book a bit odd. The opening tiger story was a start to that -- a bit labored and roundabout to make a point, I thought. But this author really knows deep sources of legally-tinged words, ideas, practices, and institutions that are very much with us, and not small in our lives. They did not spring from nowhere. The intelligence, scholarship and contemplations here are worthy of the subject, and of my time. There is the added treat of weird anecdotes to tell my business law students. But it is all a bit non-linear, just as the law it describes, which evolved along twisty paths. Features were improvised and bolted on as it went along. This book's path makes internal sense, and is not time-wasting, but is not suffering from too much editorial discipline getting there. There are many sights along each path. Luckily I am a person of considerable leisure, when the goal to be reached is soon enough shown ultimately worthwhile. It does all add up sensibly. This work has deepened and broadened my knowledge of law considerably, including those workaday things we have to wade through in modern life.
3 people found this helpful
- Veronica Lee Crittendon
The narrator is easily understandable. I use it for college. Great book. It is very much detailed.
1 person found this helpful