THE TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN LAW, 1870-1960

THE CRISIS OF LEGAL ORTHODOXY

In an important and long-awaited sequel to his classic Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860 (1977), Horwitz tells how the Progressive movement—a program for political and economic as well as legal reform—transformed American legal thought from a search for impartial norms into a discipline that acknowledged the elasticity of its own rules and that borrowed the methodologies and some of the values of the social sciences. Horwitz describes the Progressive movement (and its progeny, the Legal Realism movement of the 1920's and 1930's) as an assault on ``classical legal thought''—the view that the law constitutes an impartial body of rules administered by neutral arbiters. The author argues that centralization of the American economy—with the accompanying problems of urbanization, immigration, industrialism, and polarization of economic classes—led to a gradual reexamination of classical legal thought, particularly the bias in legal orthodoxy against redistribution of wealth. Horwitz describes how economic and, ultimately, social changes brought about by WW I put irresistible pressure on courts and legal scholars to bring jurisprudential thought into closer touch with America's rapidly changing society. But, Horwitz explains, it was the Supreme Court's controversial decision in Lochner v. New York (1905)—which invalidated a maximum-hours law for bakers on the grounds that it unconstitutionally interfered with the freedom of contract—that truly catalyzed the attacks of Progressive legal scholars on the claim that law was a politically neutral science. Through a discussion of the evolution of thought in specialized legal fields and problems, and by offering short sketches about the thought of influential figures of the period like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Legal Realists Karl Llewellyn and Jerome Frank, Horwitz demonstrates that the effect of the new thinking on American law was pervasive and lasting. Finally, he argues persuasively that the Legal Realist tradition has had an extensive effect on the development of American law in the post-WW II period. An excellent and significant reexamination of the work and impact of the Progressive and Realist legal thinkers.

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-19-507024-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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