Extensively backgrounded in events and figures of the period, this biography of Thomas Erskine, English advocate, Lord Chancellor for 14 years, is a monumental piece of research and interpretation. It is primarily professional rather than human interest material, for the emphasis is on Erskine's importance in English law, his expert work on libel and treason trials, his championship of the causes he defended. Appearing for Thomas Paine and The Rights of Man, he forfeited a point in his career. His successes in the great treason trials during the French Revolution defined the laws and safeguarded private citizens. He was a forerunner in insanity cases, and his last appearance during the scandal of Queen Caroline's trial proved his ability to handle all delicate aspects of the law. There is some bias as to the permanent importance of Erskine's career, and the detailed scrutiny of all the events of his time is almost overwhelming, but there should be an appreciative legal audience for this.