Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



No student of American legal history can overlook the significant work of J. Willard Hurst, who has been described as "the foremost historian of American law."' A prolific author, Hurst has been concerned primarily with the relationship between law and the economic system. His most recent volume, Law and Social Order in the United States, is an important contribution to the rapidly growing literature in the legal history field. Based upon the Carl L.Becker Lectures that Hurst delivered at Cornell University in 1976, the book ranges broadly over America's nineteenth- and twentieth-century legal past, with emphasis upon law and social policy. Throughout, the author is mindful of his own injunction: "Realistic legal history must be a social history, pursuing law into whatever relations it has had to the whole course of the society."