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Law: A Very Short Introduction 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199214969
ISBN-10: 0199214964
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author


Raymond Wacks is Emeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory at the University of Hong Kong. His books include Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (OUP, 2005); and Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2006). He has appeared on BBC television, and CNN and BBC radio, and has written for publications such as The Times (London), the New Statesman, and The Spectator.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199214964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199214969
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this title for my 16-year-old granddaughter who hopes to enter studies in international law at Cambridge next year. I also bought a copy for myself. I know a bit about English common law, but had only sketchy knowledge of Civil Law -- something I needed to remedy since I live outside the United States for the most part in a country ruled by Civil Law.

Raymond Wacks does a more than admirable job in providing an overview of all known existent legal systems, even including brief excursions into various examples of tribal law. A British professor, his greatest strength resides in his mastery of the nuances of so-called star decisions in the forms of English common law that also obtain in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and other former British colonies and territories. At the writing of this book he resided and taught in Italy, the origin of the Civil Law that governs Western Europe and Latin America.

He writes with great understanding and humor (such as his British dry wit will allow), and not at all as a Cliff Notes expositor might. While he provides an overview, he goes beyond mere fact and really offers a solid treatise on the subject of Law itself. Highly recommended! I'd give it five stars, but feel stingy this morning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a gem and it deserves a wider audience. The author has accomplished something that is very rare in taking a complex subject (law) and condensing it to the essentials. A teenager could read this for a great introduction to law just as well as a lawyer could read it for a fresh and insightful perspective. Read it. You can't miss with this one.
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Format: Paperback
What is law? What makes law legitimate or something that should be obeyed? Where do laws come from? These are some of the questions that this short tome attempts to answer. For the most part, author Wacks does a good job of making the material accessible, particularly in the early chapters on natural law, legal positivism and the thought of Ronald Dworkin. However, as he gets into the later chapter, Wacks assumes too much knowledge and presents topics without sufficient explanation. For example, some of the views on law involve economic or sociological concepts. These are presented as if the reader already had basic knowledge of concepts and terms in these areas. Those who do not will get lost, as I did on some occasions. This may be the fault of the necessarily limited content in this series, but the author perhaps then should have only mentioned some of these areas rather than attempt to get into them briefly but at too high a level. I would only recommend this book for the first few chapters.
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Format: Paperback
A well done and concise primer, that attempts to answer the most fundamental tenets of the Law, by looking at structure and function of the legal system. This AVSI edition is done in a very manageable fashion that is readable without getting technical in its approach. Cram packed with a plethora of information, without going into `overload, any person new to the subject matter will not be daunted with this edition. While useful for those interested in the subject for its own sake, as well as those that maybe looking into a career in Law as a career path. This is a rather well done edition that espouses the very ethos of the `A Very Short Introduction' series.
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I like the author and enjoyed his comparisons of law, however, I had to keep a dictionary next to me when I was reading b/c there were a lot of words I didn't even know. And I consider myself to be a learned person.
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