The Common Law

  • by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Narrated by Robert Morris
  • 12 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Phil O.

Impossible to listen to

Like the other reviewers, I found this book hard to listen to. In fact, for me, it was impossible. Not only is the recording/narration very challenging, but there are quite a few key terms used by the author in the original Latin. Unless you have an excellent ear for Latin, you will prefer the print edition, where you can see the spelling and check your Latin dictionary. I did buy the print edition, and the book is excellent. It is well worth the time and cost, if you can overcome the issues with with audio.
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- Linsey

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-16-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.