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The Complete Idiot's Guide to the U.S. Constitution (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – October 2, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592576273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592576272
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tim Harper is an attorney and professor of journalism at the School of Journalism, Columbia University. His work as appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including Atlantic Monthly, Forbes, Time, Glamour, Seventeen, New York Times, Newsday, Financial Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Denver Post, and Dallas Morning News. He is the author of over a dozen books and anthologies.

Customer Reviews

Good resource for a "dummy" like me.
grace olson
Every American should read and understand the US constitution.
Rp of NC
This is a very well-written, clear and concise book.
MTKatz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By David T. Adams on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The U.S. Constitution is an amazing document, one that every American should be familiar with, not only because it defines the structure and function of our government and our civil liberties and personal rights, but because it affects us directly and indirectly on an almost daily basis. Anyone reading or watching the news lately can't miss discussions dealing with habeas corpus (Article 1), warantless wiretaps (4th amendment), Presidential signing statements (Article 2), etc.
There have been numerous books written about the Constitution. What I've found, however, is that they tend to fall into 2 extremes: they either are basic introductions, not going much beyond the document itself (e.g., The US Constitution for Everyone); or, they are massive tomes that go into so much detail that the reader can be overwhelmed (e.g., The Heritage Guide to the Constitution).

Either of these is fine, if they suit your need, but with The Complete Idiot's Guide to the U.S. Constitution, Tim Harper has struck a perfect middle ground. He has written a "plain English" discussion of the Constitution that explains the document very well, clarifying the sometimes archaic language, and tracking how its interpretation has evolved through the decades via court rulings and congressional laws. He gives a brief history leading to the clause or amendment when appropriate that adds a richer understanding. He includes the pivotal cases relating to the various amendments without going overboard and bogging down in too many details. And although very thorough, his style of writing is relaxed and informal, so you won't feel like you're studying a textbook.

If you've always wanted to learn about the Constitution, go with this book and you can't go wrong
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By MTKatz on February 16, 2010
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This is a very well-written, clear and concise book. I love the way the author enlightens the readers about the different concepts presented in the books. Examples of court cases are very informative, they made me understand the constitution better. I purchased this book in preparation for a test and well, I aced it! Kudos to Timothy Harper :)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William Groves on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
A nice primer on many Constitutional law issues. However, there s a glaring error in quoting the Fifth Amendment at the beginning of Chapter 7. Harper mistakenly omits the Self-incrimination Clause. Even when later explaining the Constitutional underpinnings of the right against self-incrimination, he connects it to the Due Process clause but fails to quote or mention the express right of a person not to "be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". This is an unfortunate mistake in an otherwise helpful book.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Phlyfisher on September 16, 2009
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This is a great textbook for those looking for a basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Some people might have qualms about picking up an "idiot's guide" to any subject, but I think this book was truly well done. I prefer it much more than some of the textbooks I had for my college U.S. Government class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By book lover on August 7, 2012
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This is an excellent book for people who know nothing about the Constitution and those who know quite a bit, but would like to know more and not have to wade through a lot of legalize to get to the "nut" of the matter. It makes even a novice realize the time and intelligence and care that went into the creation of our country's greatest document. My father used to tell me, "If you don't understand your rights, you cannot defend yourself against fools and criminals." The Constitution contains your rights as a citizen of the United States of America, and hopefully the reading of this book will make you realize how lucky you are to be a part of this great country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Manuel on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased the kindle edition to help me prepare for the U.S. Constitution test needed to enter California's teacher credentialing programs. I'm not too far into it yet, but so far it's been very easy to read, informative, and impartial. The book has quotes from historical people, and vocabulary terms, peppered periodically throughout its pages, and it seems very well organized.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jfield1 on June 22, 2013
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Just what I was looking for, a concise fact guide to the Constitution. I don't need the fluff or books that are paid for by word count. Just give me the basic but complete information and I feel I have gotten my money's worth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donna on February 12, 2014
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In preparing for a 3 hour class, I wanted a quick refresher. Initially I downloaded the Dummies book and found it was politically slanted. This book was just what I had in mind. A reminder of the historical events and their order with some interesting side notes.
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to the U.S. Constitution (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback))
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