The imposing task of coordinating the diverse writings of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. into a coherent statement of legal philosophy is undertaken here. Although one of the nation's leading jurists, Holmes never paused in his long career to author a comprehensive jurisprudence -- such as Justice Cardozo attempted in his Nature of the Judicial Process. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court opinions rendered by Holmes, particularly his outstanding line of dissents, fairly crackle with the certainty of his theoretical conceptions. Additional evidence of his thinking permeates the voluminous Holmesian correspondence; especially rich in this regard is his lifelong exchange with the English legal giant, Sir Frederick Pollock. Through liberal quotation, Hurst establishes the exclusive power position which the law occupies, its necessary self-checking system of regulation, its rational character and its economic function in the community. The book is somewhat encumbered by repetitive statements of the author's convictions, but the mind framed in law will find it pro-cative, while to the layman it extends an invitation to understand our common law system.