Briefly noted: the season's highlights from scholarly publishers; How Courts Govern America, by Richard Neely. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 233 pp. $15.

Primarily for readers seriously concerned with the American court system, this book presents an articulate judge's explanation of the powerful role courts play in defining and refining life in 20th-century America. The author's conclusions provide much food for thought as well as sobering information about how democracy actually works. But the book is marred by persistent cynicism toward other arms of government and exaggeration-for-effect.

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