The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law, 1870-1960

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Koskenniemi traces the emergence of a liberal sensibility relating to international matters in the late 19th century, and its subsequent decline after the Second World War. He combines legal analysis, historical and political critique and semi-biographical studies of key figures, including Hersch Lauterpacht, Carl Schmitt and Hans Morgenthau. Finally, his discussion of legal and political realism at American law schools ends in a critique of post-1960 "instrumentalism". This wide-ranging study provides a unique reflection on the future of critical international law.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a wonderful history of ideas, drawing from a wealth of sources and acquainting the reader with the views of dozens of international lawyers. Unlike many other histories of ideas, it makes enjoyable reading throughout, yet is never lost in anecdotes. At this time of uncertainty about the role, place and function of international law in the international community, it asks the right questions and indicates possible answers." German Yearbook of International Law

"...interesting and elegantly written...Koskenniemi brings an unusually sharp focus to the period of professional maturation when the European heritage in the field peaked and then started to decline." International Journal of Legal Information

"Impressive" American Journal of International Law

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521548090
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/19/2004
  • Series: Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures Series , #14
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 584
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Helsinki.

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Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 "The legal conscience of the civilized world" 11
2 Sovereignty: a gift of civilization: international lawyers and imperialism 1870-1914 98
3 International law as philosophy: Germany 1871-1933 179
4 International law as sociology: French "solidarism" 1871-1950 266
5 Lauterpacht: the Victorian tradition in international law 353
6 Out of Europe: Carl Schmitt, Hans Morgenthau, and the turn to "international relations" 413
Epilogue 510
Bibliography 518
Index 558
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