May 2006 Vol. 104 No. 6 THE REVIEW

Lacey: A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream

A.W. Brian Simpson

Herbert Hart Elucidated

A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream. By Nicola Lacey. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 2004. Pp. xxii, 422. $35.

There are a number of good biographies of judges, but very few of individual legal academics; indeed, so far as American legal academics are concerned, the only one of note that comes to mind is William Twining’s life of Karl Llewellyn. Llewellyn was, of course, a major figure in the evolution of American law, and his unusual life was a further advantage for his biographer. In this biography, Nicola Lacey has taken as her subject an English academic who also had an unusual career, one whose contribution was principally not to the evolution of the English legal system but to legal philosophy. To write such a person’s life requires, because of the very abstract questions involved, special qualities of understanding and exposition. Lacey has these qualities, and this is a fine piece of work and a good read.

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