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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2009

Extract

Progress in International Law, edited by Russ Miller and Rebecca Bratspies, is one of the most notable compiled volumes in the field of general international law for 2008. It merits the reader's attention for several reasons. First, it deals with a central mantra of internationalism, namely the Kantian idea that international law can be a catalyst for social progress on a global level. While progress is regularly used in international law writings as a slogan to accentuate diverse claims of renewalism, it is a notion that has received as such little attention in scholarship. In this sense, the book at hand responds to an important gap in the literature. Second, the editors have clearly devoted a lot of attention in the planning and production of the book to ensuring that the essays are meaningfully juxtaposed, complementary, and in dialogue with one another. Although this is an essential quality for any compiled volume, it is easier said than done, and this book has done reasonably well. The final product boasts some forty contributors and more than 900 pages of text, packed together in an attractive (but steeply priced) hardback edition by Martinus Nijhoff (Brill). Third, the book aspires to ‘survey the state of the contemporary legal order’ (p. 11). This is a broad and unusually ambitious scholarly project aimed at ‘cataloguing this generation's tangled international legal order’ and hoping ‘to map the current tendencies, theories, doctrine, and trends’ (p. 11). This last promise alone would have been sufficient to trigger anyone's interest in the book at the beginning of (what is perceived to be) a new era of internationalism.

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REVIEW ESSAY
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law 2009

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References

1 M. O. Hudson, Progress in International Organization (1932).

2 H. White, ‘Narrativity in the Representation of Reality’, in White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (1987), 1, at 16.

3 Ibid., at 24–5.

4 Examples of Kennedy's early works are ‘Spring Break’, (1985) 63 Texas Law Review 1377; International Legal Structures (1987); ‘A New Stream of International Legal Scholarship’, (1988) 7 Wisconsin International Law Journal 1.

5 See M. Koskenniemi, From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument (1989), ranked among the most influential international law books of the twentieth century.

6 M. Berman, All that Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (1982).

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