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The development of the South African legal system in the early twentieth century was crucial to the establishment and maintenance of the systems which underpinned the racist state, including control of the population, the running of the economy, and the legitimization of the regime. Martin Chanock's highly illuminating and definitive perspective on that development examines all areas of the law: criminal law and criminology; the Roman-Dutch law; the State's African law; and land, labour and 'rule of law' questions. His revisionist analysis of the construction of South African legal culture illustrates the larger processes of legal colonization, while the consideration of the interaction between imported doctrine and legislative models with local contexts and approaches also provides a basis for understanding the re-fashioning of law under circumstances of post-colonialism and globalization.