Lucidly written, carefully structured and developed, Restoring the Lost Constitution is far more systematic and comprehensive than Barnett's below lecture. Indeed, the book is a gem, as is The Structure of Liberty by the same author.
Anyone seriously interested in liberty ought to read both books which are perfectly accessible to the layman.
I have always felt like someone looking in from the outside when it comes to issues concerning the American constitution - there is so much talk assuming profound an full knowledge of constitutional matters, when in fact there is rather little comprehension of that type in the debates around you.
Thanks to Barnett, I do feel I am beginning to know what is being talked about, and what I am talking about.
Perusal of the two books gives one a sense of just how incredibly naive, unrealistic and incompetent much libertarian reasoning is, especially as espoused in the anarcho-capitalist corner. Despite their confident tone and their clear and convincing messages, the tomes leave me with a heightened awareness of the formidable, fallible and unfinishable task that all down-to-earth endeavours at liberty add up to.
Emotionally, reading the two books has had me swaying between euphoria and sadness. The classical liberal conception of law is such a well thought out and wise system - acquainting oneself with it more intimately is quite simply an euphoriant experience. However, its wisdom is ignored, misunderstood, and mostly pushed aside by a multitudinous rush of shortsightedness, superficiality and politically incited greed and ruthlessness.
Two things are sure, I think: we will never get as close to the sensible ideal as is desirable, while it will always be a worthy enterprise to defend and get closer to the classical liberal conception of justice and the rule of law.
Both books are warmly recommended as useful companions to future legislators of the mettle we need.
Being packed with difficult concepts and legal stories, Barnett's lecture might actually leave you with a false impression of the book, which is perfectly organised, with every term carefully explained, and each thesis most transparently presented.