cover of book

Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law, Second Edition
by Robert A. Kagan
Harvard University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-674-24267-8 | Paper: 978-0-674-23836-7
Library of Congress Classification KF384.K34 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 347.73


In the first edition of this groundbreaking book, Robert Kagan explained why America is much more adversarial—likely to rely on legal threats and lawsuits—than other economically advanced countries, with more prescriptive laws, more costly adjudications, and more severe penalties. This updated edition also addresses the rise of the conservative legal movement and anti-statism in the Republican party, which have put in sharp relief the virtues of adversarial legalism in its ability to empower citizens, lawyers, and judges to mount challenges to the arbitrary or unlawful exercise of government authority.

“This is a wonderful piece of work, richly detailed and beautifully written. It is the best, sanest, and most comprehensive evaluation and critique of the American way of law that I have seen. Every serious scholar concerned with justice and efficiency, and every policymaker who is serious about improving the American legal order, should read this trenchant and exciting book.”
—Lawrence Friedman, Stanford University

“A tour de force. It is an elegantly written, consistently insightful analysis and critique of the American emphasis on litigation and punitive sanctions in the policy and administrative process.”
—Charles R. Epp, Law and Society Review

Nearby on shelf for Law of the United States / Federal law. Common and collective state law. Individual states: