Qty:1
  • List Price: $39.99
  • Save: $5.98 (15%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Jurismania: The Madness o... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, water damage, and worn corners. The item may have identifying markings on it or show other signs of previous use.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Jurismania: The Madness of American Law (Studies of the German Historical Institute, London) Paperback – July 15, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0195130836 ISBN-10: 0195130839

Buy New
Price: $34.01
25 New from $10.25 29 Used from $0.01
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$34.01
$10.25 $0.01
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Frequently Bought Together

Jurismania: The Madness of American Law (Studies of the German Historical Institute, London) + Law/Society: Origins, Interactions, and Change (Sociology for a New Century Series)
Price for both: $94.23

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Studies of the German Historical Institute, London
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195130839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195130836
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." --Henry IV, Part I

Or, suggests Paul F. Campos, at the very least, let's put them out of their misery. In Jurismania, Campos does his best to demonstrate that the behavior of the legal mind, with its insistence on the "rule of law," is a "culturally sanctioned form of obsessive-compulsive behavior." In his more charitable moments, he is willing to concede that it may be suffering not from delusion, but from religious fervor. About the nicest thing he has to say about the American legal system is that it is a tremendous waste of financial resources.

The problem, as Campos sees it, is an irrational belief in the power of rationality to solve all our problems, which leads to the elevation of "social coordination and dispute processing," which is what Campos identifies as the purpose of "law," to sacrosanct procedures that are inadequate to the tasks they are being asked to perform. Nor is this state of mind limited to lawyers and legal academics; consider, suggests Campos, that many voters believe in the balanced budget amendment, "which boils down to the belief that the best way to ensure legislators pass legislation that balances the federal budget is to pass legislation requiring legislators to pass legislation that balances the federal budget." There are some situations, the author argues, for which "more law" is not the answer. Readers may find Campos's style--which references Nietzschean ethics, college football, materialist rationalism, and Ann Landers as part of the same overall argument--off-putting, but Jurismania is like a voice crying in the wilderness, describing a crisis our increasingly litigious society continues to ignore at its peril. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Don't worry, Campos is compos mentis when he claims judges and legal academics have lost their minds. A law professor, he goes one further than the anecdotal criticisms of Philip Howard (The Death of Common Sense, a 1995 best-seller) and castigates the underlying reasoning that courts cite in their decisions. To him, appellate-level reasoning is either not reasoned or insists on rationing the nonrational in a sort of obsessive-compulsive behavior. The latter occurs, in Campos' acerbic analysis, when courts enter "equilibrium zones," spheres of human experience that prove elusive to jurisprudence, such as birth and abortion, death and euthanasia, the "wall" between Church and State. But judges won't relent, inventing or refining multipronged tests to regulate such zones--behavior Campos describes as delusional. It adds up to the "juridical saturation of reality," examples of which Campos offers wry deconstructions--as of the law's reach into his local library, reflected by its detailed code of conduct for patrons. A pointed, well-argued polemic. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Paul Campos is a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado. In addition to his numerous academic publications, he is a widely published journalist, who writes a weekly column for Salon.com. His work also appears regularly in Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and in The New Republic. Campos's blog "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," where he co-blogs with five other academics, is one of the top 100 political blogs on the internet, as measured by site traffic. In August of 2011 Campos began another blog, "Inside the Law School Scam," which in the first year of its existence hosted nearly two million visits. In January of 2012 Above the Law named Campos its Lawyer of the Year.

His books include DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL (UNLESS), THE OBESITY MYTH, JURISMANIA, and AGAINST THE LAW (with Steven Smith and Pierre Schlag).

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Rauch on June 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Campos is polemical, wicked, funny--all of that. But this is a smart and serious book. It does not argue that all law is madness, or that all lawyers are mad. It argues that enough is enough, and too much is too much, and America has way, way too much. America has made a fetish of legal procedure, continuing to unwind legal red tape and generate numberless rules and hurdles long past the point where procedure does or can serve any rational purpose. Campos's method is rigorous enough to deserve the attention of lawyers who would prefer to dismiss him, and his style is vigorous enough to make him a good read on the bus. Not to be missed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Paul Campos, a professor of law at the University of Colorado, offers an insider's view of the slow decay of law from a focus on justice to a focus on living up to the letter of ever more arcane law.
Campos covers a wide swath of topics, from the arbitrary nature of NCAA rules to the O.J. and Paula Jones cases to the drug war to his own town of Boulder Colorado. It is impressive that he manages to tie all of these issues together into one specific theme--that society's litigiousness is undermining both the rule of law and the equitable and, paradoxically, the efficient functioning of society.
He does not duck the tough issues; his takes on abortion, the drug war, and assisted suicide fit in with his overall theme and, while they may not please readers on either side of these controversies, he presents fresh arguments that will force open-minded readers to consider these issues in a new light.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Campos covers all these topics in a succinct 198 pages. Lesser writers would have needed 800 pages to cover all the topics that Campos covers in much less space.
Campos makes effective use of humor and cultural references (the Monty Python skit he cites--I won't spoil its use--is used brilliantly to illustrate his point).
This book is not for everyone. Certainly people who don't have an interest in the vagaries of the law would avoid a book like this.
People who have a direct stake in the arcaneness (there's the word again) of the current legal system will likely be bothered by this book, but I don't think that's a particularly bad outcome.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I got this book after reading a nasty review of it in the New York Times. The book had really upset the reviewer, and after reading it I can see why it did. It's a merciless indictment of the defenders of the legal status quo, and it's also hilarious. If you've ever thought the American legal system was crazy, this book explains why you were right.
As someone who has practiced law for more than a decade, I can't think of a better book for a lawyer, or especially someone thinking about being a lawyer, to read. If we had more law professors who thought like Campos, we wouldn't have the system that he so thoroughly devastates in this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anna J. Taylor on May 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
On the plus side, Paul Campos will make you think about the way our legal system works. On the whole I found I disagreed with many of his conclusions.

Campos illustrates many of the American legal system's flaws. However, the biting sarcasm undermines his best points, and then there are the points that seem to get twisted up and abstracted to the point of distraction.

Case in point: He opens with a lovely breakdown of a small section of the NCAA rules. The absurdities are duly noted and a discussion of the possible motives underlying the extra language. He can't spare derision from his tone as he anaylizes the results.

Later he treats us to a very cursory treatment of the War on Drugs. I thought there would be a lot of room to apply some of the ideas he was making in this specific arena, but he limits his assessment to the political declaration of the War on Drugs. Without much specifics he waves us to a couple of past historical events, and summarizes that the politicians should have been laughed off the stage. I didn't find his statements any more convincing than the political speechmaking that launched the war...so...

His legal discussions hold up better (in my eyes) than his straight philosophy sections. I read the book without being persuaded by the core of his critique. While it caused me to think, in the end I discounted most of his arguments.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
JURISMANIA seemed like a congenial book for one to read after answering the above question with, "A good start."

A lawyer himself, Campos strives to insist that American law has burgeoned to the point of being ludicrous, arational and approaching irrelevance. He makes his case with such observations as:

"... the decade-long appeal, the 100-page appellate court opinion, the 200-page law review article, the 1,000 page statute, and so on. These sorts of legal artifacts are the fruit of futile, hypertrophied exercises in forms of argument that call themselves 'reason', but that in fact must conclude with the assertion of axiomatic or circular propositions. And the excessive, jurismaniacal character of such monuments to rationalist vanity can itself be understood as the product of what is in essence a kind of obsessive-compulsive reaction to the neurotic structure of American legal thought."

And this:

"... to call something a question of constitutional law is not so much an act of formal categorization as it is a shorthand way of signaling that it involves the most intractable moral and political issues our society faces. Constitutional law is the categorical dumping ground for everything the normal political process can't digest: race and religion, sex, and death. All the things one should never bring up in polite conversation."

Probably the most useful concept I came away with was that of "equilibrium zone", i.e. that interface between two polar opposite but equally powerful moral, legal, or social forces. Because both forces must ultimately be placated, it's in this zone that promulgated laws achieve a frustrating ambiguity that renders them open to diverse interpretations and, therefore, pretty much useless.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?