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Publisher's Summary

This is one of the true classics in world legal literature. Written by a master of law and language, it is a primary source book for anyone interested either in legal theory or political science. For the layman, it serves to clarify the very essence of the common law, the cornerstone of our present legal system.
©1994 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"A landmark in intellectual history." (Mark DeWolfe Howe)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Philo on 02-08-13

For law geeks; not a light read

Here, the well-known jurist took a patient walk through the long development of many concepts in law, often starting in ancient times. As I teach law, I like to pick out anecdotes (for example, the image of an ancient bankrupt debtor having his body physically partitioned and the parts handed out to creditors -- not a world where one would casually buy a cappucino on the credit card). Ideas are traced from ancient forebears in the mists of pagan northern Europe and so on -- from vengeance, and seizure of many offending things (such as a tree that had fallen on a person, to the cutting off of lots of body parts), to the substitution of money damages, and other relatively kinder, gentler legal solutions of Holmes' day (here, the later 1800s). This book does for me what I like history to do: to provide a baseline to compare to things in my world today.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Shannon on 08-23-09

I love Oliver Wendell Holmes (condensed)

I should have admired Holmes' wisdom and theories from afar or at least tackled this work only in printed form. Unlike most audiobooks, I had to actually pause my housework and concentrate fully to gain the meaning from this exhaustive verbosity. While I adored the style and language of Victorian Era literature, it was just too much for such a technical subject. I really wanted to make it through, but this one defeated me after a mere 4 hours.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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2 out of 5 stars
By jeremy on 07-07-13

Not really an audio book

Though this is a classic text, its dense and ponderous style does not, in my view, translate well to audio. It requires the kind of attention best (and more quickly) catered for by reading.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By mrseagull on 01-17-13

Terms should be defined and then used.

I was disappointed by that book. The narrator's old voice struggling pronounce Latin phrases correctly with the lack of translation gave me an impression that this book is written by somebody who knows a lot for somebody who knows equally a lot. The points he made are hidden for normal people who did not go through history, ethics, philosophy and read a huge quantities of books. The author quotes or refers to terms which without definition will make no sense to you. Imagine you go through a long trial and when court makes a judgment it is said to you in language you do not understand. What's the point listening to this complicating and long book when at the end the knowledge you get equals 30min with Wikipedia.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Harry Desi on 02-07-18

Great.

More like this please, for example, on Equity. Audible.com is doing a great job in providing legal education to the public. Thanks audible.com!

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