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on 6 March 2011
This book is fabulous. It gives you an overview of some of the main jurisprudence subjects - positivism, utilitarianism, natural law, Locke, Hobbs, Hart, Dworkin, Finnis etc. It's really understandable - plain, ordinary language, none of that obscure, high falutin stuff you usually get - which is great, because you can really begin to appreciate how interesting the subject is. When he does use the jargon, it's followed by a clear explanation of what he means. You get a real "Ohhhhhh - now I understand" feeling. You almost feel you could hold your own with Dworkin/Raz, given the opportunity.

I thought Lloyd's introduction to jurisprudence was really good - and it is, but for a beginner struggling on their own this is actually so much better. It highlights the main issues, without you having to work them out for yourself from the chaotic mass of existing literature on this subject, invariably the chaotic mass that you have been advised to read by your lecturers. Much as I would like to read all that (because it is interesting), I suspect it's a lifetime career, and I seriously haven't got time for that now.

To give you an example, this book looks at why Dworkin is definitely not a natural lawyer, and other similar gems that typically arise in an exam paper - which is information I had not been able to glean from reading the traditional stuff. He suddenly made that question seem so crystal clear (it's a shame I didn't think of it for myself, but hey...).

My one criticism: I only wish it covered more topics and that there was a series for the LLM. There seem to be no books of this ilk written specifically for LLM students - is this a conspiracy or is it that we are supposed to be at the level where we are researching for ourselves? I don't know, but I do know that researching it for myself is lovely in theory, the reality is that I just don't have the time.

So if lack of time is your problem or lack of comprehension, or lack of any sort of coherent overview of the subject, then I think you will really love this book. He also shows you what impresses the examiners and what doesn't - now that is really useful. I'm sure if it doesn't impress at LLB level, it won't impress at LLM level.

Finally, Brooke's credentials are excellent (BCL (Oxon) and PhD from UCL), so - that concludes it for me - you can rely on what he's saying. Or, put another way, I'd rather rely on what he's saying than what I was trying to say after several months of a diet of the traditional texts.
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on 13 May 2011
This book, along with the series overall, is in my opinion not the best for exam preparation, despite that being presented as the main purpose of the book and series.
The most effective way of preparing for an LLB exam is to isolate topics and try to get to know those inside out before attempting any overview. The focus of these Q&A books are mostly an overview as they aim to respond to hypothetical exam questions.
Furthermore, the answers given are often intimidating for LLB students. Answers are always exemplary and often near 2000 words in length. This doesn't reflect the reality of exam answers, which have to be written normally within 45-60 minutes, under exam pressure, and especially with a typical law exam lasting 3 hours or more the final answer to be given out of 3 or 4 often drops significantly in quality. The series and the book creates an unrealistic impression for the anxious student. What would have been more desirable would the approach adopted by some revision guides, that is show what answers for each of the honours classes, from first down to third, would look like.
In conclusion, by all means use this book and others in the series during your course to supplement your readings and to prepare for tutorials, but don't expect to glean much from it for the final few days before an exam.
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