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No Duty to Retreat takes as its starting-point the increased popularity in American society of the old English common-law concept that a person under physical attack has the right to stand his ground, defend himself, and even kill his assailant in self-defence in certain circumstances. This doctrine came to public awareness recently when Berhard Goetz took the law into his own hands when assaulted by four youths in a New York City subway train. There is a chapter on the American as gunfighter, another on a famous vigilante case in California in the 1870s, when farmers retaliated against the Southern Pacific Railroad trying to move them off their lands , and a long chapter discussing 'crime, law, and society in America since 1930', in which Brown shows that the crime surge since the 1950s has occurred with the emergence of the Post-Industrial Society, which has left many people alienated and looking for quick solutions.