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The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law Paperback – December 26, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Criminal law is a topic which is of great interest to all citizens, not just lawyers. And Burney has done a great job providing a broad overview that is as accesible to a layman as to a practitioner of ten years. It is better, by far, than the textbook I used when I took criminal law in law school. Through a mixture of comics and text, Burney lays out a macro and micro view of criminal law.
The book is broken into 5 categories:
Introduction (What is crime? What is punishment?)
Purposes of Punishment
Within each category are chapters on specific aspects of criminal law: mens rea, necessity, solicitation, etc. As opposed to explaining what these terms mean through dry text or volumes of case law (which is how lawyers learn about them), Burney creates characters and paints vignettes that do as good a job. You're certainly not going to become a criminal defense lawyer after reading the book, but you will have a much better understanding of criminal law than 95% of the general public.
And while Burney does his best to make it entertaining (and it is), there is still a fair amount of reading to be done. Peanuts, this is not. You're going to get wall-of-text'ed from time to time, but that is to be expected with the daunting task of explaining the nuts & bolts of criminal law in comic form.
As I said earlier, the book is excellent. Highly recommended for law students, lawyers, anyone with an interest in criminal law.
I'm thinking about handing a copy out to every new client.
Standards of proof, intent, authority, and the limits of punishment are inherent to Law but are arcane to much of the population. Society and people are the worse for such ignorance. I have seen people walk into traffic in the expectation that their death by jaywalking will bring a punitive award against the bus company or motorist who couldn't stop in time. The reality is that the law stands clearly against reckless behavior and such deaths or injuries would be in vain. Their ignorance may very well kill them.
It in light (a dark one indeed) that The Illustrated Guide to Law is so welcome. It explains basic legal concepts with short stories that highlight the principles in question without the baggage of many other factors as the law schools encounter in the casebook method. This is Law for the common man and it is made all the more accessible by the humor with which cases are presented. The Illustrated Guide to Law started out as a webcomic and that shows in the artistic evolution through the book (but far less than in the online version).
As much as I love the simplicity and accessibility of the work, I can only give it 4.5 stars (rounded up because I recognize nothing is perfect).Read more ›
An easy to read, fun book that you will learn a lot from.
I found Mr. Burney's book to be a great read, cover to cover. He starts off with the building blocks of the concepts of law, crime, and punishment (actus reas, mens rea, etc.) and moves on to cover common defenses (infancy, duress, etc.) as well as the elements of certain crimes. It was very interesting to read what makes an act second-degree manslaughter and not second-degree murder and vice versa.
The illustrations are clear and helpful - though they won't be found in the Louvre anytime soon, they are excellent visual aides to the technical information Mr. Burney is trying to communicate. Not once do the illustrations or the tone of the piece seem childish or like Mr. Burney is talking down to the reader.
Frankly put, I learned a lot from the book - it helped dispel a number of (seemingly) commonly-held beliefs about the criminal justice system, most involving self-defense and other defenses. I feel like a more informed citizen having read it, though with any luck, I will not have to put my newly-gleaned knowledge to use! The last page mentions that his next project is a book on criminal justice procedures, and I look forward to reading that as well!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent overview of criminal law, the straightforward language and explanations made it easy to follow. Its only lack is a good index.Published 10 months ago by Emily M
As a federal defense investigator, this book Is one of the best tools to break down complex matters into easy, bite size pieces for a layperson to digest. Read more
I just have a layman's interest in the law, and was attracted to this mainly because years ago I had enjoyed "The Criminal Law Color Book" by F. LaGard Smith. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Arthur M. Bullock
Wouldn't want to use it as a textbook, but it's well drawn and a creative presentation of useful material.Published 17 months ago by XeDr
I ordered this book after seeing a few of the author's blog posts. This book does a good job of explaining points of criminal law for the average person. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Michael A. Robinson
This book (and the blog it originates from) are one of the greatest finds on the internet. If you have not read either I highly suggest you do! Read morePublished 21 months ago by Fresco
I got this for my little brother that is graduating high school. He likes law, comics, and video games. I couldn't think of a more perfect gift.Published 22 months ago by Polostar