In this brilliant and immensely readable book, Lawrence M. Friedman tells the whole fascinating story of American law from its beginnings in the colonies to the present day. By showing how close the life of the law is to the economic and political life of the country, he makes a complex subject understandable and engrossing. A History of American Law presents the achievements and failures of the American legal system in the context of America's commercial and working world, family practices, and attitudes toward property, government, crime, and justice. Now completely revised and updated, this groundbreaking work incorporates new material regarding slavery, criminal justice, and twentieth-century law. For laymen and students alike, this remains the only comprehensive authoritative history of American law.