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lawrence m. friedman in interview Again, I can see it as a study of law and society over time. As a study of the way social conditions, economy, society, and the culture created law at various periods and how it changed and how it developed over time without payingmuch attention to doctrine. Of course doctrine is in there, but it’s a reflection of something else. The book I think neglects the Supreme Court and its decisions, and it pays virtually no attention to intellectual legal history. And that’s deliberate, because I’m not interested in intellectual legal history. And I don’t think it makes much difference. But perhaps I overdid this point. The story itself is a great narrative. The book has gone through three editions, and I have just finished the draft of the fourth edition, trying to bring it up to date and bringing in new scholarship. Now there is a tremendous literature on legal history which there wasn’t when I began.14 No one had tried to write a general history of American law. And I said to myself, ‘Why not?’ People said it can’t be done; we have fifty states and so on.We have fifty states, true, but people write books about the general history of the United States; if so, why can’t you write a history of a subsystem? I was young and foolhardy, and I just did it. Today, there’s another young generation working on this subject, which is fine. Why did I write it? It’s hard to answer that question. I got an idea, and I turned it into a book. Again, it’s a historical study. And the general idea is that what people think about compensation, about what is owed to them, and when, and why, is culturally determined. In the early nineteenth century, if something awful happens to a person, it simply happens. There is no welfare state; if you lose your job, you are just out of a job. Medicine is crude. If you get sick, you are likely to die. If you put your money in the bank, and the bank fails, you just lose 14 Lawrence M. Friedman, History of American Law(4th edn, Oxford: OUP, 2019). 15 Lawrence M. Friedman, Total Justice (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1985). 115 I think it’s a great narrative. There is another book which aroused great interest, Total Justice.15 Why did you write that book?