'Getting even, as the biblical precept implies, is the essence of justice, according to this engaging essay. It's a simple idea, but Miller … finds a world of social complexity in humanity's efforts to get the accounting right. Miller offers a discursive, erudite, idiosyncratic but illuminating reappraisal of our urge to settle scores.' Publisher's Weekly
'Miller gives the Hebrew scriptures an interesting going-over looking for examples, then ranges back to their juridical origins in the legal codes of Babylon and Sumer. He's at his most passionate on the literature of Icelandic sagas, which is one of his great academic specialties … Miller is at his best when he digresses most completely into literary and film criticism. His chapters on Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' and Clint Eastwood's 'Unforgiven' are about as good as you can get.' Los Angeles Times
'Clearly, Miller aims to provoke when he claims our ancestors had a better idea about how to repay a wrong than we do now … Though at points Miller seems earnest in his call for a return to blood-thirstier times, he also argues-quite sensibly - that the American system of criminal justice can be overly detached from the wrongs it intends to right.' Corporate Counsel
'William Ian Miller has written a marvellous book that I found absolutely riveting. Eye for an Eye succeeds brilliantly in demonstrating that the lex talionis was often meant and taken literally; that it still plays a powerful, if submerged, role in our thinking about revenge and justice today; and that, in practice, it was not nearly as brutal or unfair as other, putatively more civilized ways of dealing with the need for revenge. The book is superbly written and often hilariously funny. I loved it.' Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago
'In Eye for an Eye William Ian Miller provides a full-bodied defense of retributive justice, of just desserts, and of an explicitly arithmetic approach to right and wrong, that counts up the eyes, limbs, bodies, and lives on our various social fields of battle, and seeks to right the scales. Miller shows just how pervasive this drive to account for our rights and wrongs has been in legal history, how deeply we continue to feel it, and how limply inadequate are our modern liberal and utilitarian understandings of justice that try so aggressively to purge this elemental instinct from our law and laws. Provocative, erudite, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny - it is also, often, convincing. Where it is not, it is nevertheless successful: Miller tells his stories in such a way as to make palpable just how much we have sacrificed, as we've turned our collective backs on the age-old project of seeking the precise correction of commensurate wrongs.' Robin West, Georgetown Law Center
'… this is a superb book. The reading is easy, even entertaining, and the arguments might just change the way you think of justice, debt, payment and satisfaction. Miller resoundingly demonstrates that legal history can be exciting.' The Cambridge Law Journal
'This is a refreshing and thought-provoking book … a superb book … Miller resoundingly demonstrates that legal history can be exciting.' The Cambridge Law Journal
In its highly original way, this book offers a theory of justice. It is about getting even in a toughminded, unsentimental, but respectful way. And finds that much of what we take to be justice, honor, and respect for persons requires, at its core, measuring and measuring up.