The Essential Holmes: Selections from the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Jan 1, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 374 pages
2 Reviews
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., has been called the greatest jurist and legal scholar in the history of the English-speaking world. In this collection of his speeches, opinions, and letters, Richard Posner reveals the fullness of Holmes' achievements as judge, historian, philosopher, and master of English style. Thematically arranged, the volume covers a rich variety of subjects from aging and death to themes in politics, personalities, and law. Posner's substantial introduction firmly places this wealth of material in its proper biographical and historical context.

"A first-rate prose stylist, [Holmes] was perhaps the most quotable of all judges, as this ably edited volume shows."—Washington Post Book World

"Brilliantly edited, lucidly organized, and equipped with a compelling introduction by Judge Posner, [this book] is one of the finest single-volume samplers of any author's work I have seen. . . . Posner has fully captured the acrid tang of him in this masterly anthology."—Terry Teachout, National Review

"Excellent. . . . A worthwhile contribution to current American political/legal discussions."—Library Journal

"The best source for the reader who wants a first serious acquaintance with Holmes."—Thomas C. Grey, New York Review of Books

What people are saying - Write a review

The essential Holmes: selections from the letters, speeches, judicial opinions, and other writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Oliver Wendell Holmes is a major figure not only in American law but also in American letters. Edited by noted judge and legal scholar, Posner, this excellent one-volume anthology offers a mixture of ... Read full review

Review: The Essential Holmes: Selections from the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

User Review  - Damon - Goodreads

Posner is, as would be expected, a blowhard in the foreword, contradicting himself and what not. But man can Holmes write! Particularly enjoyed the chapters on aging and death--pithy and reassuring, insofar as one can be the latter on those subjects (without promising pies in the sky). Read full review


Aging and Death
Einstein Nov 24 1912 66 To Laski Dec 15 1917 67
Joie de Vivre
Culture and Personalities
The Life Struggle
The Social Struggle
July 23 1925 140 To Einstein Oct 28 1912 141 To Laski
The Common Law
Cotton Oil Co 1903 226 LeRoy Fibre Co v Chicago Milwaukee f
Gravel Co v United States 1928 290 Gompers v United States
Corrigan 1921 310 Tyson f Bro v Banton 1927 311
United States 1909 324 Silverthorne Lumber Co v United States

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1997)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) served as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court and as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nick-named the "Great Dissenter" because of his many dissenting opinions. Holmes is also the author of Kent's Commentaries on the Law (1873) and "The Path of the Law" (1897).

Bibliographic information