Document Type

Book Review


The Changing Structure of International Law: Unchanging Structure for Inquiry, 65 Columbia Law Review 810 (1965) (reviewing The Changing Structure of International Law by Wolfgang Friedmann)


In recent decades the demand has become increasingly insistent among scholars and others for development of a more comprehensive theory of inquiry about international law, drawing upon all relevant areas of knowledge and especially upon the social sciences. Early in his very ambitious book Professor Friedmann states that: "The changes in the dimensions of international law require a corresponding reorientation in its study; neither the international lawyer trained in the classical methods of international law and diplomacy nor the corporation, tax, or constitutional lawyer are equipped to handle this subject without cooperation with each other, and with economists and political scientists. International law is becoming a more and more complex and many-sided subject." In bringing the book to a close, he reaffirms that basic changes in the "structure of international society" make necessary a "far-reaching reorientation in the science and study of contemporary international law."

For any who are as yet unconvinced of the exigency of this demand, Professor Friedmann's able and wide-ranging survey of almost all of the more important and controversial areas of contemporary international law may serve as compelling proof. By intention and example, this book makes a conclusive case for the view that an inter-disciplinary approach and an inter-disciplinary jurisprudence offer the only effective means for delimiting and managing an area of inquiry which bristles with inter-disciplinary problems. The mere substantiation of this case, even without Professor Friedmann's excellent survey of, and penetrating comments upon, the main features of contemporary international law would make this book a significant contribution to a much neglected field and afford further evidence of the author's superior scholarship. Such evidence is, of course, superfluous for readers of the previous works of this distinguished and prolific publicist.

Date of Authorship for this Version