©2004 Lawrence Friedman; (P)2004 Recorded Books
Some fascinating material on colonial law, some passionate and interesting observations on the laws regarding slavery and 19th century civil rights (or lack thereof). Starts to dull down in the 20th century material, when Friedman toes an absolutely middle of the road contemporary academic liberal point of view. Although he is attempting to remain neutral, there's not much doubt where he stands on the worth of the the New Deal, for instance, and his insistence that the fall in the crime rate in the late 20th century is "poorly understood," or even unfathomable (while having just discussed (with disapproval) the "rising prison rate"), will sound ludicrous to anyone but perhaps a contemporary academic seeking to keep his colleagues mollified and not ruffle any feathers. All in all, an excellent listen, however, and an interesting lens through which to view American history.
I'm a law professor of some three decades' experience. I only regret Professor Friedman had to fit this format and leave so much out. Reading his book "A History of American Law," one gains vastly more in detail about, for example, business law, as well as innumerable bits of American history, vividly told. This is less rigorous and works well as a starter, a sketch of broad outlines.
An overview of the development of American law which usefully puts legal history into perspective as set against social and political history. However, Professor Friedman at times lets his liberal political ideology show through, especially in the chapter on the welfare state and federal regulation. But given his long tenure in closed-minded academia, this bias is not as severe as one might anticipate.If he could have managed to be a bit more balanced in his presentation, I would probably have rated the course a 4.
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