Forty odd years ago, the student editors of the Michigan Law Review had a problem: they had too few editors on staff, they were having "trouble getting first-rate articles," and they worried that the Michigan Law Review lacked any particular distinguishing feature to help it stand out from all the other "perfectly respectable law review[s]" in a crowded field. (1) Their solution was to launch a book review issue, a stand-alone issue of the Michigan Law Review devoted solely to in-depth, long-form review essays about recently published books that illuminate the history, theory, and practice of the law. In their preface to that very first book review issue, in the spring of 1979, the editors promised "to print annually an entire issue which reviews books of which lawyers and legal scholars should be aware." (2) Ever since, the Michigan Law Review's Annual Survey of Books Related to the Law has endeavored to bring together incisive reviewers and important books to explore and argue about the life of the law. We are thrilled to bring you this year's issue.

The Annual Survey is dedicated to the idea that books and book reviews matter. In his introductory essay for the inaugural issue in 1979, Professor David Cavers lamented that book reviews in law journals had become an endangered species, "dwindling away," and he expressed hope that publishing more book reviews would foster a more robust marketplace of ideas. (3) He also expected that book reviews would make for a livelier, more entertaining reading experience than the typical academic fare: in contrast to the increasingly lengthy and "ponderous" articles published in law journals, it's the book reviews, he suggested, that can be taken "home for an evening's reading." (4) The student editors in 1979 likewise wrote that they were trying to remedy the problem that "law reviews have generally ignored books," but they also confessed that they launched the book review issue "for the fun of it," because it let them "browse[] dissolutely through the New York Review of Books and the Book Review section of the Sunday Times" to find likely texts. (5) We certainly enjoyed choosing the books and the book reviewers for this year's issue, and we hope the essays we've chosen spark the kind of intellectual engagement that Professor Cavers described. We hope you have fun reading them, too.

The aim of the Annual Survey is just that: to provide a snapshot of the current moment in law and legal thought. It's a...

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