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Abstract

Mark Kelman, A Guide to Critical Legal Studies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. Pp. ix, 360. $14.95.

As an act of simple justice to Professor Mark Kelman and his A Guide to Critical Legal Studies, I must begin with a caveat. Every author has the right to expect a reviewer to criticize the book he has written, not the one he might have written. I have tried to meet that obligation but probably failed. Accordingly, Professor Kelman has a right to get sore. Still, the Critical Legal Studies movement entails a good deal more than quarrels over strictly legal questions, however discretely important. It proudly proclaims itself the cutting-edge of a new radical politics and a new social theory. He who would guide us through CLS but obscures that larger program is asking for trouble.

Guide consists of nine chapters that might have been grouped in three parts. As a bonus, Kelman offers fifty-eight pages of annotated notes that provide an invaluable bibliography of CLS writings. The first three chapters discuss rules and standards, the subjectivity of value, and intentionality and determinism. Together, they constitute a synthesis of CLS's familiar, controversial, slashing attacks on the premises and practices of the legal system. The synthesis contains some fresh contributions by Kelman, but its primary value lies in its systematic recapitulation of the arguments the Critics have been scattering throughout a variety of law journals.

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