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.
This is my favorite Supreme Court book of several seen over the years. I have the utmost respect for the authors' careful exploration of many facets of issues of great importance. Those with pre-set knee-jerk views might be disappointed here or there, but I'll warrant they'll emerge the better for it. I found my own views challenged in the best possible ways.
Fortunately, the authors do raise arguments made by the banking establishment side of these debates, if only to give them short shrift and dismiss them. To that extent, it has enough intellectual honesty to keep me listening (along with its pretty comprehensive coverage). However, I would have preferred a more thorough exploration of opposing points of view. My perception is, this book does not hesitate at any point to tell me what I should think and conclude about these topics. I find I must filter it while listening in real time, considering and weighing the counter-arguments I know exist. Given all that, it is definitely a worthwhile expenditure of my time. It is good to see banking issues described around familiar accounting conventions such as balance sheet items.