'Constitutional history should, to my mind, be a history not of parties but of institutions, not of struggles but of results ...' F. W. Maitland's remarkable course of lectures provides the basic framework of English constitutional history in a brief, but original, scholarly and very readable form. His method is to take five crucial periods and to present in each a panoramic view of the processes of law and government; his attention is always fixed on the constitution as a growing fabric, as something devised and employed by live human beings. And in this work, as in all he subsequently wrote, Maitland shows a rare combination of high speculative power with exact knowledge of detail.
'So many writers can make law understandable; but there are not so many who can make it readable. Professor Maitland was a master of that art... The whole makes an invaluable introduction to the law of citizenship.' New Age 'On the general constitutional history of these periods after the first, disregarding the narrower history of the law, Maitland did not write again so fully as here. These portions of the book have, therefore, a peculiar value. They show abundantly the peculiarities of Maitland's work in his especial field: a sure discernment of the really essential, lucid statement, fresh interpretation, and stimulating views.' American Historical Review 'Maitland was a great lecturer, for he combined perfect control over his material with an enthusiasm for truth and humanity which together inspired his pupils with an undying love for the man and an inexhaustible enthusiasm for anything into which he had breathed the breath of life.' Contemporary Review