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The Gentle Civilizer of Nations
The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870–1960

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Part of Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures

  • Date Published: August 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521548090

$ 98.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • The first intellectual history of modern legal internationalism; combines legal analysis with historical (and sometimes biographical) description as well as political critique
    • Accepts the claim that international law is a technical aspect of 'liberal internationalism'; seeks to show just how central international law has been for liberal thinking about international politics, and what have been its weaknesses
    • Offers a sympathetic critique of liberal internationalism
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    • Winner of the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit 2002

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...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

    • Date Published: August 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521548090
    • length: 584 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 35 mm
    • weight: 0.83kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'The legal conscience of the civilized world'
    2. Sovereignty: a gift of civilization
    3. International law as philosophy: Germany 1871–1933
    4. International law as sociology: French 'solidarism' 1871-1950
    5. Lauterpacht: the Victorian tradition in international law
    6. Out of Europe: Carl Schmitt, Hans Morgenthau and the turn to 'international relations'

  • Author

    Martti Koskenniemi, University of Helsinki
    University of Helsinki.


    • Winner of the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit 2002

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