Presser's Law Professors Three Centuries of Shaping American Law

West Academic Publishing
Primary Subject
Legal History
Academic and Career Success Series
Publication Date
Hardbound - New, hardbound print book.


There is no nation in which the teachers of law play a more prominent role than in the United States. In this unique volume Stephen Presser, a law professor for four decades, explains how his colleagues have both furthered and frustrated the American ideals that ours is a government of laws not men, and that our legal system ought to promote justice for all. In a dazzling review of three centuries of teaching about American law, from Blackstone to Barack Obama, Presser shows how these extraordinary men and women shaped not only our law, but also our politics and culture.

“The natural audience for this book is academics, members of the bar and law students. For these last in particular, it may become essential reading. Law professors like putting their students through the hoops by asking them bewildering questions; Mr Presser’s book does a good job of distilling what is actually being taught. . . . America is consumed by serious legal debates about issues, what the law says, what people think the law should say—and whether that is law. This may be the book that comes closest to spelling out what is really being argued. . . .”
Read full review at The Economist, Books and Arts, February 2, 2017

“Even more improbable is how a book about three centuries of law professors could be enjoyable. Yet it is. Every rising law student in the United States should read it as a primer; experienced legal educators should consult it to refresh their memory about the history and purpose of their profession.”
Read full review at The University Bookman, Winter 2017

Law Professorsis an exceptionally fine book – written in a sprightly style, well-illustrated and containing (as befits a scholarly tome) a detailed index. Displaying an easy but encyclopedic mastery of legal history, Presser covers American law from its English common law roots to the present . . . . Throughout, Presser demonstrates impressive erudition and fair-mindedness, analyzing the evolution of American law and legal education since colonial times. . . . Presser dispenses with the jargon and pretense so typical of law review articles, explaining with elegant simplicity such concepts as natural law, common law, civil law, formalism, legal realism, “critical legal studies,” “law and economics,” originalism, and critical race theory. . . . unique, highly readable, and informative. . . ."
Read full review at Library of Law and Liberty, March 16, 2017