Thursday, June 02, 2011

Last minute reprieve for Reviews in History

By me, for me, that is--Reviews in History still quite popular in general and there are no plans to discontinue it that I know of.  But I was starting to despair of finding reviews of books I was interested in enough to read, let alone blog about. There never seem to be any reviews of works of Canadian history, and rarely any legal history. I was about to cancel my email alert when I saw this one, a review by James Jaffe of Christopher Frank's Master and Servant Law: Chartists, Trade Unions, Radical Lawyers and the Magistracy in England, 1840-1865, published in 2010 by Farnham Ashgate.

Not Canadian, but concerned with 'low law' themes and institutions relevant to my work and that of many of the Canadian legal historians I admire (too many to list here, but each member of my supervisory committee--Eric Tucker, Paul Craven and Doug Hay--falls into this Venn intersection.)

The review is too long to reproduce here, but Jaffe's conclusion is of the one thumb up variety:

In conclusion, Frank offers an often useful and sometimes very valuable discussion of Roberts, his trade union litigation, and the summary jurisdiction of magistrates in master and servant case in several northern counties during the 1840s. The detailed recovery of these master and servant cases in the local press is to be much commended. However, broader questions concerning the impact of the law upon industrial relations more generally, the role of ideology, and the manifold differences in the regional and local application of the law still remain for others to answer.
When you are thinking of reading a book, that's what you need to know, I think. What isn't there is as important as what is.
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