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The Common Law | [Oliver Wendell Holmes]

The Common Law

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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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.

(P)1994 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

2.9 (39 )
5 star
 (3)
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Overall
3.3 (10 )
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Story
3.0 (10 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 02-08-13
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 02-08-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Maylene, AL, USA 08-23-09
    Shannon Maylene, AL, USA 08-23-09
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    "I love Oliver Wendell Holmes (condensed)"

    I should have admired Holmes' wisdom and theories from afar or at least tackled this work only in printed form. Unlike most audiobooks, I had to actually pause my housework and concentrate fully to gain the meaning from this exhaustive verbosity. While I adored the style and language of Victorian Era literature, it was just too much for such a technical subject. I really wanted to make it through, but this one defeated me after a mere 4 hours.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 11-01-07
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 11-01-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard San Jose, CA, USA 04-12-06
    Richard San Jose, CA, USA 04-12-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrible Narration"

    I was sooo disappointed by the lack of inflection in the narration. A computer voice would have been about as effective. I recommend waiting until someone else narrates.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Wolcott, VT, USA 05-08-08
    Edward Wolcott, VT, USA 05-08-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "foundation of law"

    unless one has a background in basic law Holmes expatiatied knowledge of the law does get sort of boring, but contains wealth of info.to the legal student not available in recent texts.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 08-20-14
    Michael 08-20-14

    Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heavy going"

    Now I know why lawyers get paid so much. This stuff is dry and hard to plough through. My plan is to keep listening to these law books so it might rub off on me. I understood little of this book and found my head swimming in a swamp of history and basic law terms. I will come back to this book for a second reading once I get other books under my belt. Robert Morris is a rather boring narrator but the subject matter isn't easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin&Merilee DeSpain Virginia 08-13-05
    Erin&Merilee DeSpain Virginia 08-13-05 Member Since 2001

    Family on the move.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "For Law Students ONLY"

    This book should be labeled, "Excellent Remedy for Insomnia. (Warning: Dangerous to listen to while driving. May cause drowsiness, sleepyness. Do not operate while using any machinery.)

    The book actually isn't that bad, although one must have a enduring attention span to get through the many hours of this audio book. The chapters and content of this audio book could be organized and abreviated much better to make this book more interesting.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • jeremy
    London, United Kingdom
    7/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not really an audio book"

    Though this is a classic text, its dense and ponderous style does not, in my view, translate well to audio. It requires the kind of attention best (and more quickly) catered for by reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • mrseagull
    Nottingham
    1/17/13
    Overall
    "Terms should be defined and then used."

    I was disappointed by that book. The narrator's old voice struggling pronounce Latin phrases correctly with the lack of translation gave me an impression that this book is written by somebody who knows a lot for somebody who knows equally a lot. The points he made are hidden for normal people who did not go through history, ethics, philosophy and read a huge quantities of books. The author quotes or refers to terms which without definition will make no sense to you. Imagine you go through a long trial and when court makes a judgment it is said to you in language you do not understand. What's the point listening to this complicating and long book when at the end the knowledge you get equals 30min with Wikipedia.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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