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Once when I was reading a Soviet commentary on criminal procedure, a friend noticed the cyrillic title and asked whether the Russian book was fiction or nonfiction. My initial tendency was to give the straight response, "Nonfiction, of course," but then I thought about what I was reading and began to laugh. Now if someone asked me whether Jules Coleman's Risks and Wrongs was fiction or nonfiction, I would want to give the straight reply. Thinking about the book, however, I hesitate. And I do not laugh.

It is becoming more and more difficult these days to distinguish fiction from nonfiction in legal studies. Some recent books are deliberately cast as fiction, others as tales told in the first person, impressionistic reflections beyond hope of validation. Still others strive to describe a fictional world of perfect market competition and zero transaction costs. These stories about farmers and ranchers in a state of perfect competition are thought, however, not be to be fiction, but a new way of thinking rationally about the law.


Law | Legal Writing and Research


Risks and Wrongs by Jules Coleman, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. xvii, 508, $59.95.