National Book Award Finalist: “A learned, thoughtful, witty legal history for the layman” (The New Yorker).
What do the thoughts of a ravenous tiger have to do with the evolution of America’s legal system? How do the works of Jane Austen and Ludwig van Beethoven relate to corporal punishment? In The Law of the Land, Charles Rembar examines these and many other topics, illustrating the surprisingly entertaining history of US law.
Best known for his passionate efforts to protect literature, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, from censorship laws, Rembar offers an exciting look at the democratic judicial system that will appeal to lawyers and laymen alike. From the dark days of medieval England, when legal disputes were settled by duel, through recent paradigm shifts in the interpretation and application of the legal code, The Law of the Land is a compelling and informative history of the rules and regulations we so often take for granted.
“A learned, thoughtful, witty legal history for the layman. The author, an American attorney, takes us back to Britain before the Norman conquests and brings us forward to the present.” —The New Yorker
“A book that should fascinate both lawyers and those who throw up their hands at them.” —The Wall Street Journal
“The origin and use of such features of our Anglo-American legal system as juries, evidence, and witnesses are studied here in their historical context. Rembar demonstrates wit and erudition as he reviews the political and social life that molded important legal matters.” —Library Journal
“The style, analysis, and commentary—quite properly—take advantage of developments in the phraseology which had not occurred at the time of the events under discussion. . . . The legal profession interested in this subject will find the work deserving attention.” —National Review
“Vintage Rembar: witty, irreverent, intelligent, anecdotal, and very readable. The asides and vignettes are marvelous.” —The New York Times
Praise for Charles Rembar
“[Charles Rembar’s] books read like an afternoon spent talking with a witty and irreverent observer of (and participant in) some of the most important legal and political controversies of our time, filled with keen insights and peppered with quirky asides.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
Charles Rembar (1915–2000) was an American lawyer. Born and raised in New Jersey, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1935 and his law degree from Columbia University in 1938. He spent several years working for New Deal agencies before serving in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. Rembar is best known as a constitutional- and First Amendment–rights lawyer. His work representing Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and John Cleland’s Fanny Hill played a major role in changing the nation’s approach to obscenity and censorship laws. His book The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer & Fanny Hill by the Lawyer Who Defended Them (1968) won the George Polk Award in journalism. Perspective (1975) is a collection of essays, and The Law of the Land: The Evolution of Our Legal System (1980) is a legal history of Western Europe and the United States.
Rembar also founded a law firm, Rembar & Curtis, which represented well known writers such as Norman Mailer, Tom Clancy, Herman Wouk, and Louise Erdrich.