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Professor Berman's book tells a story within a story. His central theme is the emergence of Western legal culture, but he places his narrative within the framework of a visionary scheme about the destiny of Western civilization. This larger story is merely adumbrated in the book and not ripe for serious critical examination. But because Berman's larger story intersects with his fully developed narrower one, the all-encompassing scheme of the larger narrative must quickly be summarized before we turn to the proper subject matter of this review - Professor Berman's interpretation of the origins of Western legal culture.

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