The Rise and Fall of Classical Legal Thought. Duncan Kennedy. Beard, 2006. Pp vii, 273.
The “most widely circulated and cited unpublished manuscript in twentieth-century American legal scholarship” since Henry M. Hart, Jr. and Albert M. Sacks’s legal process materials has at long last been formally published.The original manuscript is here accompanied by a lengthy and disarming preface entitled “Thirty Years Later,” which provides interesting insights into Duncan Kennedy’s early intellectual influences and scholarly ambitions, and situates the project in the legal literature and academic politics of the 1970s. In the preface Kennedy explains that the manuscript was “the first draft of the first half of a book about the history of American legal thought from the early nineteenth century to World War II” (p vii). The second half of the intended project, which was to be about the “fall” of Classical legal thought, he abandoned in 1979. What is published here as The Rise and Fall of Classical Legal Thought is in fact almost exclusively about its “rise.”