I don't understand the other reviewer's rating for this book. Even if he got the first edition by mistake rather than the 4th, it too was astonishingly good and deserved 5 stars. Frankly, this is the only comprehensive single volume history of the English common law that is fully up-to-date. Professor Baker is incredibly skilled at summarizing a complex or controversial matter in a paragraph or a page (which for students does require close reading). His writing is clear and easy to comprehend. The sourcebook that he and Professor Milsom edited is a valuable supplement to this text, but not required. Some lawyers really like Plucknett's Concise History of the Common Law, which is very good, but it's 50 years out of date.