Cover: Laying Down the Law: The American Legal Revolutions in Occupied Germany and Japan, from Harvard University PressCover: Laying Down the Law in HARDCOVER

Laying Down the Law

The American Legal Revolutions in Occupied Germany and Japan

Product Details


$59.00 • £51.95 • €53.95

ISBN 9780674052413

Publication Date: 10/15/2019


480 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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In 1945, Americans boldly set out to remake the legal systems of occupied Japan, where they knew nothing about Japanese law, and Germany, where they often ignored German experts. Kostal’s book is a wonderfully novel, clear, and caustic history of the successes and failures of these endeavors.—Robert W. Gordon, author of Taming the Past: Essays on Law in History and History in Law

This much-needed and compelling book examines American legal reform in occupied Germany and Japan, emphasizing the centrality of individual rights and the rule of law to American conceptualizations of democratic transformation. Kostal’s close attention to the successes, hypocrisies, and shortcomings of these American efforts offers vital insights while highlighting the intellectual, institutional, and moral limits of American visions of postwar democratization.—Jennifer M. Miller, author of Cold War Democracy

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