The nightmare and the noble dream
(Oxford University Press, 2004)
'This is a stunning achievement. Nicola Lacey has thrown a wonderful light, not only on HLA Hart, the man, his life, his marriage, his war-work, his sexuality, his self-doubt, his experience of anti-Semitism; but also on the Oxford of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and by extension the circle of friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in New York, in Jerusalem, and all over the world in whose company he developed his ideas .' - Jeremy Waldron, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law and Philosophy, Columbia University.
'The fascinating biography of a complex and brilliant man. Lacey's account vividly recreates the postwar Oxford climate in philosophy and jurisprudence, and paints Hart's life inside and outside the university with sensitivity, wit, and authority.' - Simon Blackburn, Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge.
To generations of lawyers, HLA Hart is known as the 20th century's greatest legal philosopher. While his scholarship revolutionised the study of law, as a social commentator he gave intellectual impetus to the liberalising of society in the 1960s. But behind his public success, Hart struggled with demons.
His Jewish background, ambivalent sexuality, and unconventional marriage all fuelled his psychological complexity; allegations of espionage, though immediately quashed, nearly destroyed him. Nicola Lacey's biography explores the forces that shaped an extraordinary life.
Readership: scholars of legal theory, jurisprudence, philosophy, and political theory, general readers with an interest in biography, social history, and Oxford.
See A life of H. L. A. Hart on the Oxford University press website for more information.