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Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 Mass Market Paperback – May 12, 1987

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The advent of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution in 1987 calls for a new treatment of the Philadelphia Con vention, one which is written for the general public and informed by recent scholarship. Decision in Philadelphia is just such a book. It is the best popular history of the Constitutional Conven tion available. This clear and well-writ ten volume traces the major issues in volved, dismissing sectional, economic, or class interests as domi nant factors and concentrating instead on the "deeply rooted attitudes" and "emotions" of individual members. Modern readers will find the authors' comments on the Constitution particu larly interesting, casting many of the Founding Fathers in a new light. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. Roy H. Tryon, Delaware State Archives, Dover
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

After seeing the musical 1776, I was entertainingly educated about the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. I saw much humor in our Founding Fathers' quirks, and was intrigued by their relationships to one another. I picked up DECISION IN PHILADELPHIA and was captivated once again, this time by the 55 men who came together to write the document that helped shaped our newly independent nation. The battles that were waged and the compromises that were made during the Constitutional Convention are captivatingly retold in this robust book, which also contains a complete copy of the Constitution.
--Stacey Witcraft, Advertising Manager
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; English Language edition (May 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345346521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345346520
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,530,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Collier brothers are an amazing act. Authors of the classic children's novel, "My Brother Sam is Dead," they also carry on careers individually as a history professor and writer on jazz respectively. "Decision in Philadelphia" is the story of the Constitutional Convention from start to finish. Told with novel-like drama and narrative flow, this is the first choice for any general reader who wants to know more about the issues driving our country's second national government (the first, the Articles of Confederation, had failed miserably). Very readable, and very interesting, "Decision in Philadelphia" is a book I have my own AP US History students read for its depth of knowledge and ease of reading (although I wouldn't recommend it for anybody lower than high school, unless exceptionally precocious and obsessed with history). All in all, one of the great popular histories available on any subject.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book. In it, the authors explain what happened at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Most enthusiasts of the period know about Madison and Hamilton and that the Convention was convened to write a new Constitution, but what many don't know is that there were many characters besides Madison and Hamilton that attended and held sway. And in bringing to light these other characters the book shines.

There are individual chapters on Charles Pinckney, Roger Sherman, William Paterson, Luther Martin, James Wilson, Elbridge Gerry, George Mason, and more. The chapters are written in a lively manner without getting bogged down in details. Collier and Collier give you the "flavor" and most important aspects of each of these characters. There was a lot of "juice". The reading never got dull.

There were also many issues that I was totally unaware of, such as the alliance of several southern states with the "big" states, as well as Connecticut's frequent alliance with the southern states. I was surprised that the issue of slavery, 80 years before the Civil War, played such a central role at the Convention. I enjoyed learning how each of the colonies fared during the period of the Articles of Confederation and how this affected their bargaining positions. It was fascinating to learn about the process itself, the vote counting among the representatives, and the pure politics that went on during the Convention.

All in all, the book was a very quick, informative, and entertaining read. It also fills a gap, as there is not much in the "popular" press written about the Convention. The book is appropriate for those who have already done some reading on early American history as well as those who take a passing interest.
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By A Customer on January 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book tells the story of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia which resulted in the writing of the U.S. Constitution. It starts by describing the dissatisfaction that some states had with the Articles of Confederation. Then, it goes through the issues important to the framers one at a time, describing the conflicts involved and how they were resolved.
Two issues are discussed at some length. First, the authors detail the battle over proportional representation versus equal representation for the states in the (new) Congress, which pitted the smaller states against an alliance between the biggest states and the Deep South states. Next, they discuss all the issues regarding slavery. The last several chapters of the book describe the ideas and compromises about how the government functions -- the role of the president, the method of choosing the president, the presence of a bill of rights, etc...
The book was well written and in most parts a joy to read. It left me wanting to read biographies of several of the men involved in creating the Constitution.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Last summer, before attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, I read this work to get a perspective on the city's past and present. Although I am a lawyer, I was unaware of all of the compromises and contentions that went into the forming of the US Constitution. Fortunately, the book is not written chronologically. Rather, the authors deal with their topics issue-by-issue: the separation of powers, the role of the House and the Senate, etc. This provides an even, uninterrupted flow to the narrative. It also helped in December when I reread the sections on the electoral college. Anyone interested in the framers' intent during last year's political circus should buy this book.
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By A Customer on October 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Giving great insight not only into the convention but also into the men who attended it, the Colliers provide a fascinating glimpse into one of the most important events in American history. The book is written so that any level reader would enjoy it, but at the same time gives accurate detail on the proceedings of the convention and the crucial moments at which our Constitution almost didn't come to be. By far, the best account of the Consitutional Convention I've read!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a great read for people who wish to learn about the constitutional convention and the trials that that Founders faced in creating our system of government. The book also uncovers the personality traits of many of the Founders who played significant roles at the convention and discusses the disputes that served as stumbling blocks. As a person who is facinated by the U.S. Constitution, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the early stages of learning about it. The book is very accessable and not written in a scholarly fashion which makes it very enjoyable as well as educational.
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