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Book Reviews 457

In Chapter 6 the evidence of the personal sor of Law at McGill University) have pro-
names, fathers’ names, and eponymous duced a significant introduction to the study
ancestral names is presented. For instance, of comparative law.
among the nine goldsmiths listed on the The preface succintly states that under-
charter, there are only five different epony- standing of any one system of law demands
mous ancestors, and there are two sets of an awareness of “the greater context of con-
siblings, indicating a high but not exclusive temporary systems of law” (p. 5 ) . This
association between craft and kin group. On statement, however, is overly modest be-
philological grounds several of the ancestral cause the book does more than challenge the
names were perhaps seven hundred years culture-bound student of law or political sci-
old. Therefore, it is argued that the craft- ence to glance sympathetically at foreign
associated kin groups must have great ages. legal systems. The book will prove valuable
The final chapter is a lengthy discussion of to any student concerned with comparative
all evidence for guilds in ancient Mesopota- and cross-cultural analysis of social institu-
mia, ending with the conclusion that the tions. The assertion that “the withdrawal by
craftsmen of the charters represent guilds. jurists into the exclusive study of their own
Two questions can be raised. First, only law means that they become mere techni-
one text relevant to one organization is cians” (p. 8) echoes the unbending and
available. How representative is this organi- universalistic goals heralded by the earliest
zation? Hopefully the publication of this comparativists-jurists-and ethnologists
work will motivate others to present similar alike.
evidence for other organizations. Second, is Yet despite the authors’ call for scientific
a search for “guilds” in ancient Mesopota- and worldwide study of legal phenomena,
mia rewarding? Would not the question they have bypassed every single substantive
“How were crafts organized in ancient Me- ethnological contribution to the study of
sopotamia” be more suitable? In fact, this law and the explication of the concept of
well-documented treatise contains enough culture. The omission of the perhaps more
data to allow the social scientist to answer scenic and secluded ethnographic landmarks
this question for himself. of legal anthropology is, of course, accept-
I recommend this volume to the reader able in a book which only purports to treat
with a special interest in the Middle East or the “major legal systems” of the modem
in craft organization in the early complex world. This macroscopic perspective does
societies. have its advantages, and it illustrates the
OTHER many theoretical possibilities of comparative
analysis.
Major Legal Systems in the World Today: The introduction begins with a brief dis-
A n Introduction to the Comparative Study cussion of legal typology. The authors show
of Law. RENF! DAVIDand JOHNE. C. good sense when they admit that the criteria
BRIERLEY.New York: The Free Press; for classifying different legal systems into
London: Collier-Macmillan, 1968 (publi- “families” are necessarily vague and ambig-
cation date 1969). xv + 528 pp., list of uous. They feel that common denominators
abbreviations, 2 appzndices, (bibliograph- may be found in shared legal concepts, simi-
ic information and useful information and larity of structure, and the methods (i.e.,
references), alphabetical index to subject processes) whereby social problems are en-
matters. $10.95 (cloth). [First French ed., countered and met by legal authorities. Any
Les Glands Syst2mes de droit contem- two legal systems are grouped together in
porains, by Ren6 David, 1964. First Eng- the same family if “someone educated in the
lish ed. by RenC David and John E. C. study and practice of one law will .. . be
Brierley, 1968.1 .
capable . . of handling another” (p. 12).
Reviewed by HENRYP. LUNDSCAARDEConversely, two legal systems “founded on
Harvard Law School opposed philosophical, political o r economic
Professors David (senior author and principles” and which “seek to achieve two
member of the FacultC de droit et des sci- entirely different types of society” (p. 12)
ences Cconomiques de Paris) and Brierley are not included in the same leaal family.
(translator, co-author, and Associate Profei- The application of these criteria-allows &e
458 A mrican A nthropologist [72, 19701
authors to describe and compare four This book aims at exploring factors that
“major” legal families of the modern world influence farmers’ productivity. The author,
as follows: ( 1 ) The Romano-Germanic an Indian journalist, regards this question as
a logical outgrowth of her earlier study
Family (Part I ) includes all those legal sys-
tems-e.g., Latin, Germanic, Graeco-Italian, (Nair 1961) of productivity among Indian
and Scandinavian-founded on the histori-
farmers.
cal traditions of Roman law. (2) The So- Nair collected data more in the manner
cialist Family (Part 11) traces its roots toof a good journalist than as an anthropolo-
Roman law but subordinates the traditional gist. She spent about a year in the United
Roman ideals of justice and private law to States conducting interviews with farmers and
the prevailing economic conditions of the doing library research. During this time she
also lived with “several” American farm
socialist state. There is a lesson for all in the
conclusion that “the Soviet court must not families, but she does not specify how long
be a show, it must be a school” (p. 202). she stayed or with how many families she
( 3 ) The Common Law Family (Part 111) is stayed. Later she spent three months in
best exemplified by English and American Japan interviewing Japanese farmers. Her
law traditions that emphasize adjudicative sampling of the two populations was not
procedure, the nature of evidence, and the random, although she tried to get as hetero-
geneous a cross section as possible. In
administration of justice. ( 4 ) Religious and
Traditional Legal Systems (Part 1V) includesAmerica she concentrated almost exclusively
all unrelated and independent systems of so-on White commercial farmers of northwest-
cial control that are founded less on the ern European background. The book, in
“true” precepts of law than on philosophicalshort, is not the product of a “scientific” en-
and religious principles. Muslim, Indian, deavor, nor does it purport to be so.
Chinese, Japanese, and African legal sys- The materials presented are statistics, his-
tems are indiscriminately encapsulated into torical data, and excerpts from interviews.
this residual and, in this reviewer’s opinion,
Most of the book is about the United States
totally meaningless category. and Japan, with a couple of dozen pages at
The description and analysis of the majorthe end about India. Several intriguing facts
Western legal systems found in Parts I, 11, emerge from this survey. For instance,
and I11 is concise and erudite. The anthro- many of the American farmers interviewed
pologists, who to an ever increasing degree explicitly rejected the “hard work ethic”
must come to understand the dominant legal often attributed to them, frequently adding
systems that affect the lives of his infor- that only minority group members (Black
mants, will find these synoptic outlines par-
people, Mexicans, etc.) could d o the heavy
ticularly informative and helpful. We can- manual labor some American farming re-
quires. By contrast, Japanese farmers
not, however, take the authors seriously when
they assert that “no truly customary systemsseemed willing to do not only the far harder
of laws existed . . . (in Black Africa and work their relatively labor-intensive farming
Madagascar!) . . . where in general very demands but also more work than they need-
fragmented tribal structures paralyzed any ed to, rejecting labor-saving techniques.
evolution” (p. 60) or the questionable ad- Similarly, Americans seemed more reluctant
mission that “English legal terms cannot be than Japanese to get involved with such
translated into French or some other Latin technological innovations as fertilizers or
language” (p. 282). irrigation, which would make them work
harder. Both the interviews and the statistics
The Lonely Furrow: Farming in the United show a great diversity in productivity among
States, Japan, and India. KUSUM NAIR. American farms as compared to farms in
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, Japan, where, Nair seems to feel, every
1969. xvi + 314 pp., maps, table of farmer is a good farmer.
weights and measures, notes, index. $7.95 The author has an unfortunate tendency
(cloth). to get involved in peripheral issues in order
Reviewed by ROBERTK. DENWN to tilt at windmills of “orthodoxy.” For ex-
State University of New York at Buffalo ample, she spends a good deal of space