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This was my secret in contracts - the "cliffnotes" version of our casebook. The author of this is also the same as the author of the casebook we used in class (Contracts: Cases and Doctrine, by Randy E. Barnett). If your professor is using that casebook, get this, period. It has almost the exact same table of contents as the casebook and matches the topics, except it's 250~ pages instead of 1,250. Anytime I didn't understand a topic from the casebook, I took a look at this and I was on top of things for each class. It even mentions relevant portions of the Restatement (Second) of Contracts and the Uniform Commercial Code. It also discusses some (not all) of the important cases and summarizes them in a short paragraph or two. I built a rough class outline from this book, and then filled in details as the class went along.
I got this book to use in conjunction with Barnett's Contracts casebook. The Oxford introductions follows the same topic progression and includes information about many of the cases in Barnett's casebook. I found this useful because my professor wasn't always clear about the big picture and this book helped to prepare for the final. It is not something that you absolutely must get, though. I did also use Barbri's video with Prof. Epstein (very helpful!) and refer to some past outlines that students who used the same book created.
I would love to take a class from Professor Barnett if he teaches as clearly and concisely as he writes. I've found this book very helpful in my own research, and I've suggested it to several colleagues as a very readable primer to a complex area of law. Bravo.
After repeatedly trying and failing to find a good hornbook to supplement Barnett's contract casebook, I discovered "The Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law: Contracts." It helped me get on my professor's wavelength. This was no small feat given that I discovered the book only a month before the final and had already learned some useless information from traditional hornbooks. Thankfully, this book not only set me straight, it was a fast and enjoyable read. It prepared me well for my final exam; I got an A. Part of me credits this success to my scholarship, but a bigger part of me knows that I did well mostly because I actually grew to enjoy the subject thanks to this little book.
This is the absolute best source for a 1L contracts class. Its new and not by one of the big supplement brands, so its almost entirely unknown. Barnett helped me see the big picture in this course, understanding that the notion of Assent is at the center of the whole doctrine. Couldn't recommend it more. Good to combine with E&E, so that you get a sense of the underlying policies, but also practice some concrete issue spotting.