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The Fourth Amendment: Origins and Original Meaning 602 - 1791 Hardcover – January 5, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195367195 ISBN-10: 0195367197

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195367197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195367195
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.2 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,964,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"William J. Cuddihy's history of the Fourth Amendment is to search and seizure what the Iliad is to Greek literature."
-- Anders Walker, St. Louis University
Law and History Review


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William Cuddihy is an independent scholar living in California.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey W. Purcell on August 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Cuddihy's The Fourth Amendment: Origins and Original Meaning 602 - 1791 is by consensus the best book ever written on the history of the Fourth Amendment.

There is nothing even in the same ballpark.

As a former student of the superb Revolutionary War historian Gordon Wood, I stand by the statements of Michael Solove in the preface:

"The Fourth Amendment Origins and Original Meaning, 602--1791 is magisterial. It reminds me of the esteemed historian Gordon Wood's work in its ambition, erudition, and scope. This book is an essential resource for anybody interested in legal and constitutional history, criminal procedure, and the original intent behind the Fourth Amendment." Preface at xiv.

As one who is writing a biography of James Otis and the 1761 writs of assistance, I find Mr. Cuddihy's work invaluable both in its meticulous attention to detail and to scope of primary sources reviewed. Mr. Cuddihy's analysis is almost always outstanding.

A book review compares Cuddihy to Homer:

"William J. Cuddihy's history of the Fourth Amendment is to search and seizure what the Iliad is to Greek literature. Epic in scope, Cuddihy's work traces debates over the Searching of houses, persons, and effects from 602 to 1791, showing how governmental searches evolved in the English and American contexts and how such searches engendered intense political responses." Reviewed by Anders Walker Law and History Review, Volume 28, Issue 03, August 2010, pp 859-860.

Well Cuddihy is not Homer but perhaps he is at the level of National Book Award winner Gordon Wood.

I, Jeffrey Purcell, am an attorney and writer of legal history who has spent the last thirteen years doing research for my in-progress biography of James Otis.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lex Talionis on March 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As noted in attorney Mark J. Reichel's comment to Jeffrey W. Purcell's review, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor does indeed characterize this work as "the most exhaustive analysis of the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment ever undertaken." I disagree, however, with Mr. Reichel's comment that William J. Cuddihy is an "amazing American legal scholar." Rather, he is an amazing legal historian who has created this work by poring over original documents of the era (e.g., pamphlets, correspondence, flyers, etc) to ascertain the original intent of the Fourth Amendment.

This book is the dissertation that Prof Cuddihy submitted to the faculty of the Claremont Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirements for his Doctor of Philosophy degree. The original dissertation can be purchased for a fraction of the price at [...]. Here, you are paying nearly $100 extra for nothing more than binding and commercial printing. Happy reading.
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