The Understanding Series titles are treatises on a specific area of law. They provide an in-depth discussion of the area of law and could be called paperback hornbooks. This book deals exclusively with substantive criminal law, with primary attention given to the elements of individual criminal responsibility. It is authoritative, current, highly readable, and widely used at law schools throughout the nation. Coverage focuses on the basic elements of, and defenses to, specific crimes, such as homicide, rape, and theft, as well as group criminality and inchoate liability. The common law is emphasized, with extensive comparisons to the Model Penal Code and thoughtful examination of the underpinnings of the utilitarian philosophies of substantive criminal law. The text encourages students to consider the approach these philosophies would take to a particular matter under discussion, thus providing an excellent learning tool for gaining a firm understanding of how our criminal justice system works.